November 5, 2009

On Positive Thinking

Finally! Somebody has articulated the implications of The Secret and similar "positive thinking" philosophies.

Barbara Ehrenreich: How positive thinking wrecked the economy.

It's empowering to believe in one's self and one's Higher Power, but some have turned positive thinking into a simplistic dogma that has all the down sides of a cult, one that has broad appeal in our self-serving culture.

It's not new, either. I first heard this about thirty years ago in the form of the "prosperity gospel." Back then, the catch phrase was "name it, claim it." In other words, if you are a true believer, all you have to do is name what you want and then claim it as yours. It's such a simple solution to all the world's problems. We like simple solutions, especially ones that absolve us of any responsibility for our fellow human beings.

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