No resulta irónico que el pensamiento positivo, con su optimismo a prueba de bombas, esté detrás de la crisis económica de 2008. El enorme estallido de la burbuja inmobiliaria en Estados Unidos era una conclusión inevitable, pero nadie se atrevió a hablar de ello porque “no a uno le gusta el aguafiestas “.
En este artículo comentaremos algunas de las consecuencias de este pensamiento, basado en un mensaje aparentemente alentador e inocuo: que nada ni nadie puede impedirte ser feliz, saludable y exitoso, porque tu salud, felicidad y éxito dependen solo de ti. ; solo tienes que pensar en positivo. Sin embargo, detrás de este “empoderamiento” del individuo a veces se esconde un subtexto perverso: si no estás sano, si no eres feliz y si no tienes éxito, es porque no te estás esforzando lo suficiente, porque realmente no quieres eso, porque eres negativo y, por tanto, una persona tóxica para aquellos que quieren ser felices, sanos y exitosos.
El origen del pensamiento positivo
Las raíces del pensamiento positivo tienen que encontrarse en los Estados Unidos, en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX, como reacción a la opresión psicológica de las doctrinas calvinistas, que predicaban que no hay nada que los seres humanos puedan hacer para evitar. condenación eterna: Dios ya ha elegido a los pocos que serán salvos, y todos los demás seguramente irán al infierno; nadie puede saber si es uno de los elegidos o no, a menos que se vuelva muy rico; una
persona económicamente próspera está, sin duda, marcada para la salvación.
In the face of such tragic determinism, a new thought is born that gives human beings, and especially their minds, the power to choose their own destiny, heal themselves, achieve success and make money. Positive thinking will take various ideas from mesmerism, Hindu doctrines, spiritualism, Buddhism, sympathetic magic… and will comprise a tailor-made doctrine in which the power of the human mind is equated with that of God and gives the human being the power to achieve everything he desires, mainly health, success and wealth, just by focusing his thoughts on it.
At the end of the 20th century, the American Psychological Association began to promote studies on the “science of happiness” through what is known today as Positive Psychology, which gave a strong “scientific” backing to the belief that emotion and positive thinking are responsible for well-being and health, instead of assimilating this well-being to people’s capacity to be satisfied with their lives. This is how the idea that positive thinking, often translated as optimism, is the key to happiness and, therefore, to success, health and prosperity, took hold.
However, the vast majority of these studies have been harshly criticized as biased in the selection of focus groups, as well as for establishing relationships without sufficient evidence. For example: in general, it has been proven that people with better social and family support and economic stability, as well as an active social life and some physical exercise, visit the doctor less often, a fact that cannot in any case be confused with the fact that they do not get sick.
Likewise, although it has been demonstrated that stress weakens the immune system, there is no proof to date that optimism strengthens it or that the immune system fights cancer, except those caused by viruses. In fact, immunosuppressed people are no more prone to cancer than non immunosuppressed people and, so far, no one has cured cancer by boosting the immune system.
The conclusions to date are that there are no absolutely verified conclusions from the studies on the so-called “science of happiness”, nor against it, there are only many open fronts involving a large number of factors that are still being revealed and tested. It is also important to note that science can only evaluate objectively measurable elements, and happiness is not one of them. Apart from the fact that there is little consensus on what happiness is or is not. Thus, one of the issues raised by positive psychology is that happiness cannot be defined, because it is a totally subjective assessment, and the parameters used to measure it are equally subjective and personal. This statement is based on several studies that reveal the proportion of factors that really influence happiness, with 50% being genetic, 10% due to circumstances and, finally, 40% a consequence of the person’s thoughts and actions.
The problem of positive thinking
Is it negative to think positively? Having an optimistic attitude can certainly make us feel better or hopeful in difficult situations in our lives, but blind and dogmatic optimism is a barrier to facing adversity and finding solutions. These are some of the problems that can result from adopting an extreme and dogmatic form of positive thinking.
Interpretation of the Law of attraction
It is based on the belief that the universe is made up of vibrations, and these vibrations are attracted to similar vibrations. That is, positive vibrations attract positive vibrations and negative vibrations attract negative vibrations. This idea contains apparent points of contact with some of the well-known laws of the Kybalion, but it involves several perversions in its approach, since it presupposes that the positive is always good and must always be achieved, and the negative is
always bad and must always be avoided. In this world there is no room for bad (unpleasant, difficult, adverse…) experiences, just as there is no circumstance that cannot be modified at convenience by thought, including circumstances outside the person himself. The latter, at least in some works elaborated by authors of positive psychology, is modified by the idea that, in the determination of happiness, only 40% depends on our thoughts and actions.
– On optimism and resilience
Adopting optimism as the only way of understanding and relating to the world is a problem, since it detaches individuals from their own and the surrounding reality, prevents them from learning from their experiences, whether good or bad, and castrates them from “settle” with what they have and to look for ways to take advantage of what is within their reach at that moment or, in other words, zero tolerance for failure. Happiness (well-being) becomes an obligation. Recently, the concept of resilience, The concept initially refers to the ability of materials to return to their original state once the disturbance to which they have been subjected, such as a spring, has ceased. widely used by positive psychology and associated with optimism, has become fashionable in companies, as well as the idea that it is always possible to increase the feeling of happiness and make it last. In an article on resilience by journalist Diane Coutur. In recent times, studies on why companies fail or succeed, such as those published by Jim Collins (Falling Companies: The Five Phases of Corporate Decline) or Daniel Coyle (The Culture Code), … Continue reading published by Harvard Business Review, three fundamental characteristics of truly resilient people are extracted from numerous interviews with people who have survived really tough experiences: the ability to face reality, the ability to find meaning in the difficulties experienced and the ability to make the most of what is available. Thus, resilience is not a
product of optimism, but of knowing reality and facing it with sense and creativity. Interestingly, this resulting strength (rather than optimism) is what these people identify with a satisfying and meaningful life.
The follower of positive thinking necessarily develops an unhealthy pride of self-sufficiencyA recent article published por Investigación y Ciencia (magazine) self-esteem puts limits on empathy, written by Christiane Gelitz, discusses how little people who hold themselves in high esteem … Continue reading. He needs nothing from anyone, because his thinking alone is enough to get him what he wants. Moreover, the same “positive” belief that the poor are poor because they want to be, because they prefer to let themselves be dragged down by negativity, as well as the “complainers” of the various social problems, establishes a cruel and perverse discriminatory frontier. Positive thinking is, in addition, tremendously insistent in the permanent demand for improvement, to go further, but always focused on personal achievement, even at the expense of others, since others are also responsible for their own success. Recently, 17-year-old soccer player Jeremy Wisten committed suicide after learning that his club, Manchester City, would no longer be counting on him. As some media pointed out when dealing with … Continue reading. That is why followers of positive thinking who achieve success end up becoming objects of worship both for others and for themselves, as has happened with former President Trump, who has made himself a product to be followed by his voters are no longer Republicans, but Trumpists. On this, Positive Psychology qualifies these postulates quite a bit, incorporating the development of interpersonal skills and social responsibility as important elements of personal well-being, as well as the dedication of time to family and friends, the feeling of comfort in expressing gratitude to others, and the willingness to help whoever may need it, among other things.
Positive thinking offloads all responsibility for achievements or failures on each person, and external circumstances are hardly considered obstacles in the face of a well-trained positive mind. This guilt is especially evident and painful in diseases such as cancer, where a whole art of victim blaming has been made. As an example, here is a quote from psychiatrist Jimmie Holland of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, quoted by Barbara Ehrenreich: “About ten years ago I began to see clearly that society was throwing another unfair and unwelcome burden on patients, a burden that seemed to come from popular beliefs about the mind-body connection. Patients would start coming to me with stories about well-meaning friends who had told them, “I’ve read everything that’s been written about this, and if you have cancer it’s because you must have wanted it.” And it was even more shocking that some would tell you, “I know I have to be positive at all times, and that it’s the only way to deal with cancer… but it’s so hard for me…. I know that if I get sad or scared or upset, I’m making the tumor grow faster and shortening my life.”” So when the person sees their cancer spreading, or when they get fired from their job, or if their partner leaves them, they have only themselves to blame. Also in this aspect, Positive Psychology has introduced a change of view on guilt, pointing it out as one of the possible motives that could drive us to want to do something better: “I will continue to put this activity into practice because I would feel ashamed, guilty or worried if I did not do it; I will strive to do it.”
On false spiritualism
The goal is not to know God or to provide answers to inner human needs, but to have God come into your personal service, like a genie of the lamp, ready to grant all your wishes to those who repeat to exhaustion the mantras of positive thinking or, as Ehrenreich calls it, “self-serving theology” preached by prosperity evangelists. To be better is not to be a more moral person, and rarely is the ethical issue going to be addressed in these sermons, except to link the good positive Christian with the one who demonstrates the most faith in the power of his or her thinking. To be better is to be more successful, it is to make more money, get promoted at work, get the partner you want, win the lawsuits, get a table at the trendy restaurant, etc. The achievement of well-being is the proof of a person’s spirituality. The law of attraction allows man to reach in life the divine omnipotence and to dispense with a submissive and fearful cult to enthrone himself as a deity.
Through self-help books and their lists of rules to follow in order to obtain success easily, a form of magical thinking is glimpsed, in the sense of linking a certain fact to an effect without there being a true cause-effect relationship between them, as happens with superstitions or even OCD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Positive” people, in order to keep their mind focused on the positive and get what they want, must concentrate and permanently observe their verbalizations and emotions to reprogram them through phrases, visualizations and repetitions that quickly remove any negative emotion, even if that means moving away and away from people who manifest non-positive emotions.
This reprogramming is also a strong impediment to the development of a self-awareness that is resistant to the onslaughts of life. Positive psychology, on the other hand, although it also includes activities and “exercises for happiness”, avoids giving a robotic and obsessive vision of self-surveillance, and converts these activities into a more relaxed and healthy form of personal observation, since it includes reflection over self-conviction Through self-help books and their lists of rules to follow in order to obtain success easily, a form
of magical thinking is glimpsed, in the sense of linking a certain fact to an effect without there being a true cause-effect relationship between them, as happens with superstitions or even OCD1 . Positive” people, in order to keep their mind focused on the positive and get what they want, must concentrate and permanently observe their verbalizations and emotions to reprogram them through phrases, visualizations and repetitions that quickly remove any negative emotion, even if that means moving away and away from people who manifest non positive emotions. This reprogramming is also a strong impediment to the development of a selfawareness that is resistant to the onslaughts of life. Positive psychology, on the other hand,
although it also includes activities and “exercises for happiness”, avoids giving a robotic and obsessive vision of selfsurveillance, and converts these activities into a more relaxed and healthy form of personal observation, since it includes reflection overself-conviction.
The expansion of positive thinking has contributed to the development and entrenchment of a series of ideas, of innocent and vitalist appearance, which has deeply penetrated millions of people. From its triggering origin in a religious crisis, it was easily introduced through corporate environments to the world of finance, and from there permeated all layers of society with aspirational messages of empowerment, wealth and health. The idea of positive thinking is pervasive in media and popular messages, and is even more powerful in times of severe economic crisis, such as those experienced in 2008 and at the present time as a result of covid-19. It is important to differentiate positive thinking from positive psychology because, although the latter was born under the protection of the former, there are certainly many professionals who seek in this discipline scientific elements that help people to have a better relationship with themselves and their environment, with an approach more focused on building present and future well-being than on digging up the traumas of the past.
The ideas spread by positive thinking force society to adopt a conformist and tolerant attitude towards the frequent abuses of economic powers, because of the desire to be part of it. With the apparent power of obtaining what is desired just by thinking about it and its confusion with a mystical power, the follower of positive thinking becomes dangerously detached from his empty reality and chooses to follow the advice of self-help gurus as the only and impotent act of changing the world in which he lives. At the same time it leads him to a selfish attitude that focuses on personal achievement and distances himself from the development of human values such as generosity, solidarity, respect and responsibility, so far removed from our socio-politics.
Es necesario discernir este optimismo malsano en busca de una felicidad indefinible, como única meta de la vida sin saber cuál es, desde una verdadera actitud de desarrollo humano que, al menos, puede conducir a la alegría interior, incluso si la cuenta bancaria. está en números rojos.
|↑1||The concept initially refers to the ability of materials to return to their original state once the disturbance to which they have been subjected, such as a spring, has ceased|
|↑2||In recent times, studies on why companies fail or succeed, such as those published by Jim Collins (Falling Companies: The Five Phases of Corporate Decline) or Daniel Coyle (The Culture Code), coincide in everything with what Diane Coutur has said in this article.|
|↑3||A recent article published por Investigación y Ciencia (magazine) self-esteem puts limits on empathy, written by Christiane Gelitz, discusses how little people who hold themselves in high esteem empathize with others|
|↑4||Recently, 17-year-old soccer player Jeremy Wisten committed suicide after learning that his club, Manchester City, would no longer be counting on him. As some media pointed out when dealing with the|
news, the insistence on self-demanding success and being continually better makes people unprepared to
take on any failure