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COLORS 83 – Happiness: a survival guide

COLORS 83: HappinessWith this issue, the “magazine about the rest of the world” goes even more global: in addition to the regular four bilingual editions (English + Italian, French, Spanish and Korean) there is now a Chinese edition thanks to an agreement with the Hong Kong publisher Systems Design.

Treviso, March 2012. What does make you happy? From Aristotle to the Dalai Lama, from Epicurus to joggers in the park – we all spend most of our lives trying to find happiness. With its 83rd edition, COLORS offers a survival guide to happiness worldwide, investigating approaches to joy from neuroscience to plastic surgery, Prozac and positive psychology. A handbook on how to activate dopamine and serotonin, the chemicals in your brain which are, scientifically speaking, the only things you really enjoy.

“Happiness is a place” exclaims the new slogan of the Bhutan tourist board, the little kingdom perched in the Himalayas between India and China. In 1972, the then 17-year-old fourth Dragon King declared that “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Income”. From that moment on, the government decided to work for a policy of national happiness, to improve the well-being of the population, by defining its objectives according to a series of spiritual, social, cultural, environmental and economic indicators. However after years of enquiries, questionnaires, interviews and surveys about happiness, Bhutan still stands in 133rd place out of 177 countries in the UN index of development on living conditions, despite being the economy with the second fastest growth rate in the world.

41-year-old Ryuchi Ichinokawa from Chiba in Japan rents surrogate friends to people who feel lonely. With his agency “I want to cheer you up”, he employs about 50 people. His clients include girls whose boyfriends are too busy, so they rent an actor to go to the tailor and try on their tuxedo; children who rent parents to take part in the marathons organised by their school, or men whose wives discover that they had been unfaithful, so they present them a rented lover taken especially for the occasion.

In South Korea, a “Living Funeral” is a therapy in which patients attend their own funeral in order to reconnect with the will to live. Participants dress in a shroud, write their wills, and then spend several minutes closed inside a coffin. The practice helps prevent suicides (South Korea has one of the highest suicide rate in the world) and some of Korea’s biggest firms are fans, including Samsung and Hyundai Motor Company, which has made experiencing your own funeral mandatory for many employees, partly to prevent suicides among their staff, partly to motivate them to lead a more gratifying life.

Marisco and N.H. Flight of the Eagle work at the Bellingham health and rehabilitation centre in Washington, USA. They are both licensed psychotherapists and they are greeted enthusiastically when they stop at patients’ bedsides for a hug and kiss. But they are not human therapists, they are actually two extremely hairy fifty-kilo llamas. Nonetheless they get great results in rehabilitating patients at the centre, many of whom unfortunately only ever get to enjoy cuddles and strokes with these cute animals.

Rarajipari is the traditional “ball race” of the Tarahumara, indigenous Mexican people with a superhuman capacity for running. All along the Barranca del Cobre, Tarahumara will run after a small wooden ball for dozens of hours, day or night. When they catch up with it, they immediately throw it again and give chase. The races take a severe physical toll. So why do them? Research suggests the Tarahumara do not run solely for the pleasure of keeping fit: they may in fact be physically addicted to the act of running and the chemical compounds, such as dopamine, running delivers to their brains. Which is why scuffling after a ball in the dark can sometimes make sense.

COLORS 83 – Happiness

Due out in March 2012.
In addition to the four bilingual editions (English + Italian, French, Spanish and Korean) starting with issue n° 83 Happiness: a Survival Guide, there is also a Chinese edition following an agreement with the Hong Kong publisher Systems Design Limited, who will distribute the magazine in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Systems Design Limited is the publisher of IdN Magazine (International designers’ Network), a design and creativity magazine launched in Hong Kong in 1992 which is also an amplified global network in which the international creative community exchanges ideas, experiences and inspirations.

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