Monday, November 16, 2009

THE DELUSION REGARDING “POSITIVE THOUGHTS INSTEAD OF NEGATIVE THOUGHTS,” Part Nine

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F.: The discussion has pointed to the link between egotism / self-absorption and what is taken to be “positive” by a persona that believes its desires have been fulfilled. Is there, in fact, anything more arrogant than for one to believe that he/she can say unequivocally what is “good” and what is "bad"?

Can any such dualistic conclusion be drawn without a selfish motive being at the core? Such would have to be the case since there is no statement at all that would be universally agreed upon as being “positive.” Consider:

FROM A SITE VISITOR: There are some things that everybody on the planet thinks positive, like the wish for “Peace on Earth” for example.

First, all misery and suffering is based in fear and / or desire (or “wishes”). You are invited to stop wishing. Secondly, a desire for “peace on earth” is not something that everybody on earth would call “positive.” There are those who would argue that “there are things that are worth fighting for”;

there are warrior cultures (study Aryan history) and see that some entire cultures have a propensity for the fight but certainly not for the peace; and look to Personality Type Eight’s who—when stressed or arrogant—seemingly relish conflict in their struggle for control and power.

After taking mahasamadhi, the body of the one called Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was cremated, as is to happen with this body, but some believe burial is the only positive way to dispose of a lifeless body. Who is to say which is “positive” and which is “negative”? Only those identified with personality and driven by a persona’s selfish agenda.

Some believe, “Surely charity is always positive,” but others would suggest it is not positive at all when it fosters dependence. Again, you are trying to fit “square pegs of relative concepts” into “absolute round holes,” and that cannot be done.

All dualistic labels are centered in egocentric perspectives. Again, though, the point that “positive thought-seeking” is a futile exercise is not a call to plunge into negative thinking. As noted yesterday, author Barbara Ehrenreich says that it is instead “an urgent call for a new commitment to realism.”

In her newest book entitled Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, Barbara Ehrenreich makes clear that

“The alternative to positive thinking is not despair” but is “reality.” She shows the “negative” impact of the “only-positive-thoughts-accepted-here” mentality and shows the associations between positive thinking and the role that positive-corporate-think played in bringing about an event that impacted the entire planet (relatively speaking), namely, the mortgage crisis that was hatched out of U.S. positivism.

She discusses the relative predicaments generated by the loss of healthy realism as corporate captains of the mortgage industry tolerated only optimistic talk and positive predictions while ignoring—and even firing—the whistleblowers and others who warned of the impending financial doom.

[For the regular visitors to the site, you might recall that after a multi-hour prayer service for rain by south Texas farmers, “floyd” mentioned over lunch to those petitioners that the weather report said that a stationary front was covering the entire state and was likely to extend the drought for weeks, if not months, which is exactly what transpired. Yet “floyd’s negative thoughts” were said to have undone any possible benefit from the positive prayers of an entire congregation, and one Lutheran in the group charged later that my "lack of faith was further evidence that I was 'a new age agent of Satan'.” To those lost in the dream of “positives-only,” facts and truth are anathema. Such is the insanity that can prevail throughout an entire culture when the duality-based belief that “we have to stay positive” blocks persons from being in touch with reality.]

And to reinforce the earlier point linking “positive thinking” and selfishness, note that it was the egotistic greediness of the “captains of industry” that drove their “only-positive-thinking-is-acceptable” mentality.

Ehrenreich provides an alternate view to what some call the “cotton candy approach used in such motivational books as The Secret” as well as to the “prosperity gospel” offered in mega-churches and in 19th-century New Thought and in 20th-century New Ageism and in Norman Vincent Peale’s linkage of “power” and “positive thinking.”

As mentioned, it was her bout with breast cancer that subjected her to a frenzy of persons who were robotically and sleepwalkingly promoting positive thinking, including everyone from friends and family to scientists and gurus.

While sharing how she was ceaselessly scolded by doctors and fellow cancer patients and survivors for her feelings, she also notes that most persons in her culture believe that the “right” way to overcome unemployment, the financial struggles of one’s business, abject poverty, relationship problems, and even obesity is to develop a “positive mindset.”

That, she notes, is what has produced a $10-billion-a-year self-improvement industry that promotes (dualistic) positive psychology but that produces no long-term changes. The author concludes by suggesting that the bungled invasion of Iraq and the planet’s current economic mess is, in part, a result of an entire society's proclivity for self-delusion via its acceptance of positivism only.

Rather Advaitin, yes?

When you add to that the fact that nations adopt primary personalities the same way that individuals do, then you can understand how it is that entire nations such as Germany, Britain, and the U.S. can behave as Personality Type Three’s and then try to place a positive “spin” on everything they do.

The result, relatively speaking, is a blockage that prevents Type Threes—and Type Three nations—from ever seeing mistakes, from ever admitting they made mistakes, and from being able to avoid making those same mistakes in the future.

It can be seen again, therefore, why Maharaj and other sages have historically called for an abandonment of all dualistic beliefs and of all assumed personality, whether the call is to one taking himself / herself to be an individual person or to nations as a whole.

The tendency to transform everything into a “positive” or to tolerate only that which any given individual believes to be “positive” will guarantee that one will be trapped in duality and, therefore, in the misery of false beliefs and bogus ideas and phony concepts. Please enter the silence of contemplation. (To be continued Saturday)

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