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.)

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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.

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