Having lately written much about exterior and interior conditions conducive to genuine freedom and well-being, i am once again intrigued by classic Chinese wisdom shown in more than two millennia old characters. The modern translation of freedom is 自由, a term which has been introduced to the Chinese language from Western humanistic philosophy, which quite on the contrary to Chinese tradition focuses on the self to understand and define the world. A heart being shut away in 郁闷 reveals a different perspective; it indicates that somebody is isolated from her environment including fellow human beings and thus being depressed.
Modern psychology and medicine has meanwhile shown that healthy social relationships are the single most decisive factor to well-being. Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger e.g. explains that the 75 year long study on adult development at Harvard University confirmed that genuine relationships are all that matters for a happy and fulfilling live. It thus seems as if the traditional Chinese thinking of how to look at well-being and social interaction has something important to teach to Western societies sufering from excessive individualism.