A new book entitled The Happiness Fantasy by Carl Cederström, a business professor at Stockholm University, traces our current conception of happiness to its roots in modern psychiatry and the so-called Beat generation of the ‘50s and ‘60s. He argues that the values of the countercultural movement — liberation, freedom, and authenticity — were co-opted by corporations and advertisers, who used them to perpetuate a culture of consumption and production. And that hyper-individualistic culture actually makes us much less happy than we could be.
This has long been an apt criticism of the Human Potential Movement. But I would add it was not the intent of its founders who were interested in social reform.