“Positive Attitude” Bullshit: On the dangers of “radical self-love”

Excellent blog post. I’ve been struggling myself around where do I fit, where do I belong and are most needed.
Those who know me, including all the people I work with, know superficial and unrealistic stuff is not my thing: I tell them the truth, and sometimes they are surprised to hear it, but generally thankful: the job market is saturated, the promises of the government don’t pass a reality check, employers are taking advantage by cutting benefits, going to contract job or even suggesting immigrants and youth to volunteer to gain experience when they could perfectly pay a salary; a 9.0 or higher earthquake in BC (such as the one that comes roughly every 300 years and is expected any day now) is probably not survivable for most of us: if the earthquake doesn’t kill us, the tsunami will. No amount of skills or preparation will save us. No amount of skills or Permaculture will save us and most species from extinction if the feedback loops of climate change, soil and water pollution and biodiversity loss kick beyond their points of no return…
I have to confess that I bought the “change your inner attitude” and it has some benefits: focusing only and always on the negative usually disempowers people because it makes them feel as victims without necessarily encouraging them to change the system.
The “system”, let’s face it, is extremely difficult to change. Depending on the length and range of despair and challenges a person or group faces, engaging in changing the system is not an easy option for those who already have to face discrimination and the overwhelming everyday challenge of bringing food and keeping shelter for themselves. I doubt Syrians would be able to change the “system” on their own without first loosing many lives, something most are understandable not willing to risk.
But this post says it too well: the emphasis in positive thinking and the individual, the “inner state” alienates those who are already marginalized and makes those good people who may be able to help inaccessible, selfish and detached from reality…
Don’t get me wrong: I have experienced the “power” of changing some individual patterns of thought, and I believe there is enough evidence to show that leading a healthy life, with enough contact with nature, a healthy diet, rest and exercise make people feel better about themselves and the world…but those are nice things accessible to only a few.
As experienced permaculturists Rosemany Morrow says in this video, we have to erode capitalism, we have to think and work on the edges and not take Permaculture as an elitist practice to show off how much leaves or compost we have accumulated or create a hugelkulture that nobody needs.
Cheap positive thinking will not do any good and will keep people trapped in a dysfunctional system until the system eats all of us…

Posse.

There is an endless supply of people who are ready and willing to inform us about what we are doing wrong, and how we can alter our behaviour so we can get ahead and inject magic and happiness into our lives. Between modern day guru Gala Darling who believes “positive thoughts generate positive realities,” and you can “manifest” your own destiny, to capitalist public thinkers such as Oprah Winfrey telling us positive thinking can help us obtain “the sweet life,” it is easy to get misled into a muddle of mistruths.

A recent blog by Gala is entitled “Happiness is simple: why too many choices make us miserable and 5 ways to improve your life!” Yeah? Nah. Too many choices are not the issue for a huge majority of the political underclass; a lack of choice is exactly the problem. Whether it be lack of choice when it…

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