An Introduction to the (Supposedly) Good Life

  • Oksana Yakushko


Many Western societies have equated happiness and goodness while vilifying other human emotional states. These efforts are shown to promote particular social, cultural, religious, and political views. This chapter introduces the notion of scientific Pollyannaism as an ideological strategy, enforced through scientific rationales and empirical methods, which works to promote happiness as both a mark of human superiority over other groups as well as a tool of social control over these groups. Moreover, the refusal to account for social context, especially social oppression and violence, distinguishes scientific Pollyannaism from other efforts to empirically define human emotional life. The original story of orphaned Pollyanna (Porter in Pollyanna. Colonial Press, Boston, MA, 1913) is introduced as a framework for understanding the function of Pollyannaist “glad games” used by scientists and popularized as scientific to the public.


Scientific Pollyannaism Enforced happiness Social oppression Denial of social context Scientism Orphaned children 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oksana Yakushko
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical PsychologyPacifica Graduate InstituteCarpinteriaUSA

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