The Dark Side of Positive Thinking

Coming from a Jungian training background, myself  (plus lots of James Hillman !) I have never bought into the soulless positive New Age psychologies that so many people rely on for their daily fix of Happy Happy.

This article is a great read and echoes some of my own thoughts and misapprehensions about the Positive Thinking brigade and the empty promises it relies on.

Click here to read Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided Explores the Dark Side of Positive Thinking | Religion & Theology | ReligionDispatches
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There is also a similar excellent article I like that debunks the smiley face, written in The New York Magazine by Jennifer Senior.

Interestingly, this one was written in 2006 and has a dig at the happiness-studies boom and Martin Seligman, author of the best seller Authentic happiness .

It has a great piece from Adam Phillips a British psychoanalyst, author and philosopher; "Happiness is fine as a side effect. It's something you may or may not acquire, but I think it's a cruel demand. It may even be a covert form of sadism. Everyone feels themselves prone to feelings and desires and thoughts that disturb them. And we're being persuaded that by acts of choice, we can dispense with these thoughts. It's a version of fundamentalism.

Unlike Seligman, Phillips declares happiness as the most conformist of moral aims. For me , he continues, there is a simple test. Read a really good book on positive psychology and read a great European novel. And the difference is evident in one thing - the complexity and subtlety of the moral and emotional life of the characters in the European novel are incomparable.

Read a positive psychology book and what would a happy person look like ? He'd look like a Moonie. He'd be empty of idiosyncrasy and the difficult passions.

Then this concluding line from Phillips really is a cracker ...... especially if you  consider that the original article was written long before any of the current global financial crisis.... he says " It seems to me that if you were to take a rather stringent line here, then anyone who could maintain a state of happiness, given the state of the world, is living in a delusion."

Click here to read Jennifer Senior's article.

Images above taken from New York Magazine article 

 So it's OK to be feeling like Christ in the wilderness...sometimes


and even cats like this one occasionally

 And to finish this little diatribe : remember this one ??

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