Positive Thinking: Real Thing or Pseudo Religion?

Now associated with such books as The Secret, the positive thinking movement has been around for at least the last one-and-a-half centuries. And its early pioneers drew from traditional religious thought, including Christianity and Buddhism. They believed that the thoughts we think influence our reality and, ultimately, shape our destiny.

We can, of course, understand that by believing that we will succeed in life, and acting in accordance with that belief, is likely to make us more successful than if we believe we are doomed to failure and act as such. Yet, the positive thinking movement also claims that our thoughts will literally change the world outside of us. (It should be acknowledged, of course, some advocates of positive thinking, such as Neville Goddard, believed that everything around us is, in a sense, merely our own consciousness with no autonomous life of its own.)

Continue reading “Positive Thinking: Real Thing or Pseudo Religion?”

Must We Question Everything?

One of the most revealing traits about the modern West is that it fetishizes states of consciousness that come at the beginning and at the end of learning and mastering an art: (1) questioning everything and (2) breaking the rules, especially to express our authentic self (or, we might even say, daemon or “genius”).

It is surely no coincidence that this is occurring at a time in which creativity is in decline in the USA. For, notably, these two states of consciousness have been co-opted into the realm of politics, from the realm of art. Art is creative, chaotic, and rule-breaking by nature but, true to politics, expressions of these states have been standardized, especially in regards to what we must say or believe.

Continue reading “Must We Question Everything?”

The Alchemist-Hero: Forging Destiny From ‘Bad Luck’

In the Conan The Barbarian movie, the young Conan sees his parents killed and tribe destroyed. Then he is taken into slavery. Likewise, in ancient European mythology, Volund the Smith is captured by a greedy king, lamed, and set to work in the forge. He, like Conan, rises up to get his revenge. Again, in the Icelandic Poetic Edda, we hear of the hero Sigmund, whose father is killed before his birth, and — after his mother remarries — is sent as a foster to the treacherous and greedy Regin. This is not an auspicious beginning.

None of us hope that things will go wrong. We see those born into privilege — being handed chances at lucrative careers that are denied to others, marrying the beautiful and the equally wealthy — and we want to be lucky too.

But, from the perspective of self-actualization, for most people, good luck and bad luck are the same. They are carried along by circumstance, one individual into riches, another into the gutter. But neither really questions who he really is or what he is capable of, good or bad.

Continue reading “The Alchemist-Hero: Forging Destiny From ‘Bad Luck’”