Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Downside of Being Up

We see the legacy of its long history in the trend of magical thinking. Ask for it, believe in it, receive it - the mantra for getting what you want.

And woe betide you if you fail to follow its sunny side up paradigm. Then you can be hit with a double whammy - problems because you weren't positive and guilt on top of that.

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, the Downside of Being Up.

Well, we're striking into the core of one of the foundational pillars of the American way of life today. We're weaned on positive thinking from the time we're in our mothers' wombs. We're praised and coddled and told we can do anything. We're reminded to use smiles as umbrellas and exhorted to make lemonade with the lemons life deals us.

Positive thinking, or the importance of it anyway, comes as natural to us as breathing. And it's a tricky thing, because it seems so right. But it can lead us to something so wrong.

Positive thinking is based on the premise that human beings have wonderfully good intentions, and for those occasional hiccups that occur during our gilded steps along the yellow brick road leading to happy ever after, we just need to re-frame our thinking and we'll be back up on our feet and heading in the right direction again faster than you can say "think and grow rich."

But there's a dark cloud moving over the sunny side of the street. Americans, for all their training and encouragement to think positively, are not very happy people. A recent analysis of over 100 happiness surveys worldwide found Americans mired in 23rd place among developed nations. The Happy Planet Index puts the U.S. in 150th place worldwide. Americans are #1 in anti-depressants, they have more kids on Prozac and Ridalin than anyone in the world and pessimism about economic recovery is high, too.

What's going on? Well, we can turn to the study of psychology for some clues. According to the leading-edge research emerging from Norberto Keppe's International Society of Analytical Trilogy in São Paulo, Brazil, the basic premise that we're well intentioned and good hearted people who occasionally screw up is being challenged. Exhausive clinical research and practical testing have shown a darker underbelly to the human psyche. And that is that we are much more pathological than that. We actually have many more desires against our development and happiness than we have believed or perceived, and positive thinking only serves to slip a thin veneer over this deeper trouble, and so only covers for a little while. Like painting over a water mark in the ceiling, the leak behind continues unaffected, causing more damage than if we'd gone to the problem in the first place.

So it is with our psyches. And real understanding of this is well documented in Norberto Keppe's vast body of work. Our Trilogy portal offers a door into all of this if you're interested in exploring more. And I would highly recommend that.

And all of Keppe's extraordinary work will be laid out from March 12 - 15, 2010 at our World Forum on psycho-socio-pathology, along with some planetary solutions, and I encourage you to get on my mailing list for updates on that.

Today, professional broadcaster, Susan Berkley, joins me for what is not our first kick at the positive thinking can, but I feel it's very important to tackle this again.

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, The Downside of Being Up.

Click here to listen to this episode.


tgj said...

I tried all the mantra's, visualization and positive thinking. Which is all good from an introspective perspective I suppose. However, that kind of thinking is, once again, thinking that something outside yourself, or magical as you've said, will take care of your problems. Instead of looking inward and taking full responsibility for your life (problems, talents, etc.) and your experiences. It's really amazing actually, that once you do own your feelings etc., you become empowered and the rest is well ... up to you! Another great podcast with 2 of my favorite people! thanks tgj

Richard Lloyd Jones said...

Yes TGJ. The real answers do seem to come from inside. Keppe's work talks a lot about the universals ... about how universal knowledge is already inside us. Our problem, then, seems to be not that we don't have the knowledge yet, but that we reject the knowledge we have.

That's provocative.

Thanks for your comments.