November 25, 2009

A cosmic ATM?

The last few days have been devoted, among other things, to giving a shout out to Barbara Ehrenreich's newest book, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.

While there's clearly nothing wrong with happiness, being cheerful and having a sense of one's ability to improve things, some versions of this kind of thinking view the universe or God as a kind of cosmic ATM or good fairy, one which has nothing more important to do than to grant the wisher a Hummer, MacMansion, or some other object of conspicuous consumption.

Further, this kind of thinking has permeated a corporate culture in which CEOs are viewed as charismatic visionaries who never allow themselves the luxury of a negative thought. In that climate, anyone a couple of years back, for example, who might have suggested that sub-prime mortgage securities might not be the ideal road to prosperity might well have been dismissed or discharged as a negative person.

Even worse is the kind of magical thinking which views the universe as a projection of one's own mental attitude. In that view, people who are wealthy and powerful are getting what they deserve. Those who are dying of poverty, drowned in a tsunami, languishing without health insurance, or are blown up as collateral damage in warfare are presumably only getting back from the universe the kind of energy they sent out.

I'll pass on that one.

On the other hand, one doesn't need delusional thinking to be grateful for the good things in life. So on that note, happy Thanksgiving!

NO LINKS TODAY. El Cabrero is on a long road trip so no links today other than this earlier post from one of Goat Rope Farm's talking animals, Self Help Guru Rooster.

If anything bad happens between the time this post is written and when it's posted, please accept my condolences.


1 comment:

The Rambling Taoist said...

Me thinks each life is about good and bad, high and low. It touches everyone and pretending that this isn't so is dangerous!