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Psychiatrist Dirk De Wachter on what makes us tick

Often, the question is asked: what is the goal of your life? Just as often, the answer is something along the lines of: to be happy.

According to Belgian psychiatrist Dirk De Wachter, there’s something problematic about both the question and the answer.

“Enjoyment in itself is an empty pursuit”, he states in a feature on, which has been condensed from a podcast interview.

“It seems like a mistake, to take the search for happiness and pleasure as the goal of life”, De Wachter says. “The goal of life should be: How can I be meaningful?”

Photography by Jimmy Kets

Photography by Jimmy Kets

When it comes to egocentric, individualistic pursuits, De Wachter is clear. He warns against it, positing that “solely enjoying one’s existence leads to a great emptiness, and even to psychiatric pathologies such as depression”.

So, how do we do this thing – to be meaningful? According to De Wachter, we must ask ourselves a few questions. How can I live a good life? How can I improve the happiness of others around me?

Human beings are pack animals: we live in communities where we depend on one another. In our contemporary capitalist Western society, the bonds between us have sometimes faded, become invisible. But we still live in an ecosystem where we need each other’s presence and help.

The beauty in doing so, De Wachter tells, “is that this is exactly what makes us happy and gives us a feeling of contentment much more fulfilling than the egocentric pursuit of individual happiness.”

One of Fosbury & Sons’ missions is this query: how do we live together? We wholeheartedly agree with De Wachter’s principles of ‘community, connection and care’. In that natural way in which life can be made better for our fellow man and woman, the staff at Fosbury is ready to help you in ways big and small, greets you with a sincere smile. Those things are what can lead our society to a turning point where the true meaning of live appears.