If you look at photos through the decades, you will notice one dramatic change (aside from the quality). This is that of facial expression. For some reason, our facial expressions have been turning U shaped at an alarming rate. Hell, for all we know, soon we will all look like Cher.
Why then is it that we appear to becoming more “happy” in photos, when we have alarming depression and suicide rates. I am not sure of the answer to this, however, I do know that our conventional appearance is not reflecting the bigger picture.
A lot of the population that resides in first world countries are on prescribed anti-depressant medication. I will however refrain from going into my views on anti-depressant medication. Perhaps, as suggested by many scholars (a simple google search will be a sufficient reference) that most of the people on this prescribed form medication need not be on it at all… perhaps we are all simply feeling normal human emotions that have become pathologised.
Back to the smiles. I can see an undeniable pressure to be happy, its everywhere, we have been marketed happiness in every corner of every street. From the milkman to zanax, happiness is all around us. The only thing is, its a face, an act, a point of selling. To make it even more dramatic, this everywhere that we are now seeing is not restricted to the external world, but it exists in the world of social media, we are literally being imprinted with ideals of happiness every minute of every day.
Think about something simple, what we see, is what is considered normal. A simple analogy would be homosexuality, over the decades it is becoming “normalised” as such, purely because we are exposed to it more frequently, the human population feels less discomfort upon witnessing it.
Equation time: Object x Exposure = Increased normality.
Now relate this to the situation at hand,
The object is happiness, with increased exposure, leading to extreme normality. The opposite of normality, is abnormality and discomfort. Perhaps we are literally making simple human-wired feelings of melancholy become abnormal, perhaps we are completely pathologising intrinsic feelings.