From JonathanH, one of Tim Blair's commenters.
My son just broke up with his girlfriend because she and her friends like to pass the time on weekends by taking ecstacy or powdering up Ritolin and snorting it. Good kids, from nice families, with no fucking idea what they are doing. They’re seeding their own little cancer of misery deep into their bones and will quite possibly spend the next twenty years or possibly their whole lives in thrall to it, no doubt believing it’s somebody else’s fault. Weak, weak, weak.
Back in my younger days as an insufferable arts prick I used to tour with an Aboriginal comedian who was one of the happiest, most well-adjusted blokes I’ve met, despite seeing his father and most of his uncles commit suicide or rot away in prison. He used to get all sorts of racist abuse at times, and he never let it bother him. I asked him once how he stopped himself from getting angry. He just smiled and said: ‘I grew up in a dark room, and I got out of it and into the sunshine. I ain’t never going back into that dark room. Not for nothin’ or nobody.’
That’s what I call strength. Mastery of the self is the first essential step on the road to happiness. Yet we live in an age when the authentic self is not even held to exist anymore. So unhappiness abounds.