Saturday, April 2, 2011

Is positive thinking a fairy tale load of malarkey?


This is in response to a letter written in to me by Yvette38 on the Blackout Bulletin Boards (http://blackout.com/blackout/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi)

Positive Thinking
“The technique of positive thinking is not a technique that transforms you. It is simply repressing the negative aspects of your personality. It is a method of choice. It cannot help awareness; it goes against awareness.
Awareness is always choiceless.
Positive thinking simply means forcing the negative into the unconscious and conditioning the conscious mind with positive thoughts. But the trouble is that the unconscious is far more powerful, nine times more powerful, than the conscious mind. So once a thing becomes unconscious, it becomes nine times more powerful than it was before. It may not show in the old fashion, but it will find new ways of expression.
So positive thinking is a very poor method, without any deep understanding, and it goes on giving you wrong ideas about yourself. 
Positive thinking came out of Christian Science. It talks now more philosophically, but the base remains the same — that if you think negatively, that is going to happen to you; if you think positively, that is going to happen to you. And in America that kind of literature is widely read. Nowhere else in the world has positive thinking made any impact — because it is childish.
“Think and grow rich” — everybody knows this is simply foolish. And it is harmful, and dangerous too.
The negative ideas of your mind have to be released, not repressed by positive ideas. You have to create a consciousness which is neither positive nor negative. That will be the pure consciousness.
In that pure consciousness you will live the most natural and blissful life.
If you repress some negative idea because it is hurting you…. For example: if you are angry, and you repress it and try to make an effort to change the energy into something positive — to feel loving towards the person you were feeling angry with, to feel compassionate — you know you are deceiving yourself.
Deep down it is still anger; it is just that you are whitewashing it. On the surface you may smile, but your smile will be limited only to your lips. It will be an exercise of the lips; it won’t be connected with you, with your heart, with your being. Between your smile and your heart, you yourself have put a great block — the negative feeling that you have repressed.
And it is not one feeling; in life you have thousands of negative feelings. You don’t like a person, you don’t like many things; you don’t like yourself, you don’t like the situation you are in. All this garbage goes on collecting in the unconscious, and on the surface a hypocrite is born, who says, “I love everybody, love is the key to blissfulness.” But you don’t see any bliss in that person’s life. He is holding the whole of hell within himself.
He can deceive others, and if he goes on deceiving long enough, he can deceive himself too. But it won’t be a change. It is simply wasting life — which is immensely valuable because you cannot get it back.
Positive thinking is simply the philosophy of hypocrisy — to give it the right name. When you are feeling like crying, it teaches you to sing. You can manage if you try, but those repressed tears will come out at some point, in some situation. There is a limitation to repression. And the song that you were singing was absolutely meaningless; you were not feeling it, it was not born out of your heart.
It was just because the philosophy says to always choose the positive.
I am absolutely against positive thinking. You will be surprised that if you don’t choose, if you remain in a choiceless awareness, your life will start expressing something which is beyond both positive and negative, which is higher than both.”
— Osho
This was posted by someone I follow
This challenges some things I believe, so I naturally have questions. 
If someone confronts you and is very angry and you feel threatened and anger arises within you because of the fear but you recognize your feelings and you do not like feeling this way, why would you not choose to be positive(react in a way that feels better to you)
If everyone goes around "not pretending" or showing their true feelings would our world not be very tense and violent? Someone at some point has to choose positivity or it might escalate into something neither wanted. You also said something about shifting your focus, how is this not the same as choosing a positive outlook versus a negative one.
Do I need to start talking like this when I am confronted?:
Anger has arisen in me, but I do not put the blame on you... however, I choose not to react with anger because I don't like the way it makes me feel (and because if I let it consume me I may kill you) therefore even though I know my being feels anger I chose not to react with anger.
If I want to choose to be positive...I should not have to explain myself or feel like I am being a hypocrite because I KNOW EXACTLY WHY I AM CHOOSING
POSITIVITY.....(so i don't resort to murder) - Yvette38
My Response:

Dear Yvette38,


This sounds very out of the Buddhist camp of thinking. While criticizing positive thinking as weak and repressive, it basically emphases positive thinking at the same time by saying awareness is best, but then it throws you a loop by saying awareness is always choiceless.

I find that to be a bunch of crap, because it took me quite a bit of focused effort and CHOICE to become aware. An aware person does not react, but makes the CHOICE to be ok in any situation to the best of his / her ability. This is a CHOICE. If awareness were not a choice, then all of the people who are running around like chickens with their heads cut off would not being doing so, and all the killing would not be going on, and all the religions against each other and various hate groups and armies and war would not be here...ect....ect....ad infinitum.

People fall into these states for one of two reasons, either by a choice to polarize negatively for power - meaning thinking one's own being is a SEPARATE entity from all other beings and thinking that, taking it further in thinking that by gathering power / money / resources / gold / barby dolls / women / tanks / land / diamonds / slaves / fill in the blank here of whatever - said person or said entity will have domination and dominion over the OTHER entities that it perceives to be LOWER than itself.

I am not one of the believers in the "life is suffering" Buddhist camp. I also don't buy into this Osho stuff. Osho CHOSE to focus and become aware and write what he did, that was a constructive, positive, aware choice, it was not choiceless. The writing contradicts itself.

Being aware is a choice. To be constructive and choose positive joy experiences and things in your life is not to repress negative things. You don't need to repress anything.  All the negative things show you what you don't want and help you refine what your prefer so in fact there is no positive and negative, only awareness and PREFERENCE of experience.

Let me give an example of the difference:

4 people in a room, an optimist, a pessimist, Osho, and me - Blackout an aware by choice dude with a cool hat.

An electrical socket bugs out and starts a fire as I am trying to make some tasty nooks and crannies for my other three guests. The wall starts to slowly burn.

The overly depressed pessimist's reaction:

"There's a fire!!! Oh my god!! A FIREEEE!!! Fuck me!!!! Fuck life!!!!! yesterday a flood.. and now a fire.... I might as well just burn since we're all gonna burn in hell on this shit animal dog eat dog planet anyway!  It just figures there would be a fucking fire today! We're ruined!  and I really wanted that toast......fuck me, fuck you, fuck it all!"

He will probably put the fire out if he stops bitching and panicking long enough to do it, but then he will call all his friends and talk about how his life sucks and he has more proof that it sucks because his house caught on fire.  He will do this for the next several days, weeks, months, maybe even years... or maybe he panics so much and bitches so much that he just dies in a blaze of realistic negativity. Being burned alive does in fact suck.

An absolutely ridiculous positive optimist mind over matter person who lacks any realism or practical skills can act the complete opposite way yet still end up with the same results. While a fire is obviously burning in their reality they can say to themselves: 


"There's no fire.. fire is evil and destructive and burns things and I refuse to acknowledge fire in my quantum universe.. no I am perfectly fine I will imagine the wall fire free....I will IMAGINE water being poured on it"

That idiot will of course burn in a terrible fire as well.

Osho, if he follows his own stupid philosophy will say some useless drivel such as this:

"I have no choice but to be aware of the universe in which I have no choice, only awareness, ahhh... what is this horrible burning sensation I feel? Yes... yes.. this must be fire... I am on fire. I could make a positive choice and put it out but that would be repressing the fires being and I will not do such a thi..."

He would of course keep talking but his charred jaw just fell from his burnt skullface. Dumb ass. See what your 'choiceless awareness' got you? It got you a burnt skullface.

Then, we come to me. While the other three idiots burn or complain or repress and deny, I will very simply and calmly grab some water and put the fire out as fast as possible, and then simply move on to making some more tasty toast in a better wall socket.

DONE. Negative situation not repressed - just an aware conscious choice to choose the best possible outcome for me and OTHER selves around me made.

Really... some people take this awareness conflict stage to such retardedness.

Don't repress shit. If something negative happens, simply  and calmly deal with it and choose what you now like and prefer and move on with your knew knowledge gained from dealing with the situation. The universe is a feedback loop of consciousness, you are both creator and created, you can both drive and be passive - but your awareness of that is a focused effort.

- Blackout

Keeper of the Burnt Nook & Crannie that is Slightly Soggy

4 comments:

  1. The ONLY thing that is NOT a choice is death. EVERYTHING else is a choice. You might say that over 90% of our thoughts and actions are involuntary, like laughing and breathing. Yes, but we can commit suicide and end that too. Most of us choose not to. OSHO is completely wrong on the choice piece.

    As for the positive thinking piece, he is semi-correct for the wrong reasons. Positive thinking is not good if you FORCE it. Correct. But realistic positive thinking is just understanding what you have control over (very little other than yourself) and how events truly affect you over time (rarely long-term devastating). This can make you angry or happy; both can give you focus and therefore increased control and power. Lack of control and power makes you helpless and depressed - this is the worst!

    Forced positive thinking just for positive thinking sake will make you depressed, because you will eventually realize that you are forcing it. And when you do, you will feel like a double loser because you'll think, "Why can't I be positive like I'm supposed to be? John Doe has it worse and he's positive. Man, I really am terrible!" Self destructive behavior will ensue. The proof of this is shown in MANY studies of addiction and terminally ill patients.

    So, please throw OSHO's hippie crap in the trash and try to get a grasp on reality. Understand that you ALWAYS have choices (except death), and that trying to find a positive, just because you think you are supposed to will destroy you in the long run.

    Get happy or get angry; accept what you can control and control it. That will give you power and the best chance at happiness.

    And, I'd rather be with Blackout during a fire. I get to sit back and watch him put out a fire, and then I get fed. Good deal!

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  2. Nice comment, and I make a damn good english muffin! Thanks Neo Sage!

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  3. ReplicantdetectiveApril 6, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    What you have written is inspiring Blackout! I myself worry alot and there is a lot of active, focused and positive choices I have missed because I have been worrying. What active choices can passive people make? From my perspective they may be aware but might not act due to lack of positive entities around them.

    Cheers Mate.

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  4. Replicant - even being passive is a CHOICE... some people are better at initiating things or leading, and some are better at responding and supporting - neither is better or more important. What is important is actively guiding yourself and making CHOICES based on your internal preferences and not group think and propaganda thorn on you from others. Most plain old regular 'anxiety' stems from not being your true authentic self and having a creepy awareness of it - that you are living a life FED to you by others ideas of what your life should be, not your own. When YOU guide your life, when YOU captain your ship, maybe some days the seas will be calm and sunny and maybe some days they will be rough, but you will have a definite direction and you will feel great when you pilot your own ship. Stay the course, and the destination will always be reached

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