I was looking again at a NYTimes article about turning negative thinkers into positive ones.  I liked that the article not only described the benefits of positive emotions, and the hazards of negative emotions, but then discussed strategies to foster positive thinking.

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Daniel, a negative thinker can become a positive thinker, but it's a BELIEF I have about myself, and only about myself.

I chuckled as I wrote the above because I had been an agnostic for twelve years when the change happened. The fuzzy-minded thinking I was doing enabled me to describe the change as a near-religious experience.

Forty more years passed before I started a transition to atheism and had to do some more exacting thinking.

Now, for that BELIEF to qualify as KNOWLEDGE I would, for starters, need:
1) criteria to reliably distinguish negative thinkers from positive thinkers,
2) information about the behaviors of people before and after the change, and
3) processes that would enable others to reach similar conclusions.

I will undertake the research in a future life. :-))

>Now, for that BELIEF to qualify as KNOWLEDGE I would, for starters, need:

Tom, you're an idolator worshipping the golden calf of knowledge. If you think knowledge is something belief should aspire to, instead of wasting your time in physics you should have studied marketing. Give me a break. Belief runs the world. Knowledge ain't shit. It's belief that shapes individual lives and it's belief that shapes local and national life. And that's fucking scary. Have I mentioned lately how fucked we are?

At the same time, I really like Daniel's message that at any given moment, a positive response is probably the best choice. Every point noted in the post can be an effective step toward becoming a better and happier person. For some reason inexplicable to me, that doesn't seem to be what some people want. As the plaintive cry goes, Why can't we all just get along?

It seems to me that Ingersoll had a very deep wisdom.

Aw-ww, Bert. You believe you are fucked; I know you are fucked.

You're right; knowledge ain't shit. An hour ago I saw a reprint of Einstein's 1939 letter to FDR. He believed fission would release energy. Others turned his belief to knowledge and, killing 140,000 more Japanese, ended a war.

For some reason inexplicable to me, ....

What's inexplicable to you is that negative folk see nothing positive in Daniel's message.

Daniel, if someone is always negative, you can with much confidence bet:

1) they grew up in an abusive or violent home, and

2) they never experienced a happy home.

I was born into an occasionally violent home, to parents who themselves had been born into such homes and would have been happier without children.

I was a very negative teen and resolved to have no children. I married a woman who for her own reasons wanted no children. After we parted (on good terms), I had the great good fortune to experience a happy home. It changed my life.

BTW, IMO Ingersoll should have quit with “Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here."

It's most unkind to burden anyone with the responsibility to make others happy.

Well, you can be unhappy all you want. I was born into a violent home, too.So, big deal. You can duplicate that all you want. Who benefits? Who pays? 

You are a grown up now and you have the right and responsibility to be happy, mad, sad, afraid, sad, ashamed. Whatever you want to be, you can create it. 

Joan, private messaging is available but your anger denied you that option.

The body has a multi-stage immune defense system to protect it from infection. It is NOT a disorder.

The mind has a multi-stage post-traumatic stress system to protect it from harm. It is NOT a disorder.

A Dictionary of Psychology describes the stages. Briefly, they are:

Stage 1 is a heightened alertness to possible trauma.

Stage 2 requires an emotional distancing from trauma.

Stage 3 requires a physical distancing from trauma.

Stage 4 requires action of some kind, perhaps a sudden awakening from a nightmare.

I had PTS before I went to war 65 years ago. I learned of it 20 years ago and I'm in recovery from it.

I've written a response to this several times and somehow it never got published, Probably because I try to write too many things at a time and accidentally erase it before I send it. I've changed my ways of trying to multitask. 

Of course, a person can change from negative thinking to positive thinking because both are learned behaviors! Often, how one thinks is an imitation of some family member; sometimes it is because of bad situations. Bad things happen and one chooses how to respond. 

Read the important research, Seligman's Learned Helplessnes, and Learned Optimism

"Of course, a person can change from negative thinking to positive thinking because both are learned behaviors!"

"Bad things happen and one chooses how to respond."

Joan, was it as easy for you as those two lines say? It was not that easy for me.

Oh my goodness, NO! it was not easy! Who said life would be easy? Being born is a mighty big job and the accomplishment. Learning to read and write wasn't easy and neither was geometry and trigonometry but they all can be mastered by most people. Finding the right partner for creating a family is not easy and many others and I made bad choices. Having children is hard and raising them to responsible adulthood isn't easy. 

NO! the test is not whether a task is hard or not, it is whether one takes on the challenges of life, how one makes decisions, what one does to solve problems and resolve conflicts.

For example, I was faced with a serious problem in my marriage. I had choices. 

1. I could have stayed. 

2. I could have charged him with crimes (that no one took seriously because husbands have dominion over wives and children). 

3. I could have run away (which everyone says "You can't run away from your problems."

4. I could become a drunk or a drug addict.  

5. I could have cried, whined, pleaded, begged, bargained, wailed, whimpered, implored, and appealed.

6. I could load my car with pillows and blankets for everyone, made boxes for my two mother cats and their litters, packed food for a 2,000-mile drive, filled my car with gas, packed the kids clothes and mine, and run as fast as I could to get out of that prison. 

Can you think of any other option that would be easier, Tom? 

If not, which one would you have picked?

Was your option easy to do? 

My option was tough, damned tough. 

I had a vision of creating a home where problems were discussed and debated and resolved so each was involved in the decisions. I wanted a home where conflict did not involve violence, each one had a voice, and where ALL the old rules were abolished and new ones created with which we could agree. 

Joan said: My option was tough, damned tough.

The calm of your words about it place it in an emotionally distant past.

Tom, that challenge was in the past. There were other problems along the way, and I followed the same procedure in all events. Weigh my options, pick one and work it. If it succeeds, then I move on with life. If Option A fails, I try Option B. 

My current challenge is I should sell my house that I bought as a condemned building and restored it to better than its former grandeur and created a garden that was so stunning, total strangers asked if they could see it. The house and garden have fallen into disrepair and I don't have the energy to bring it back to life. Especially since Cary died. In fact, I can't live there because of some of the physical barriers. For one, the doors in the house are not wide enough for my wheelchair, and I cannot get out of the house while in it. I would have to be carried out. 

I am living with my daughter and her husband and they treat me very well. I could not ask for a nicer place. They even had the greenhouse built for me. I haven't been in it since June 27 and don't know if I will get out of my wheelchair. 

Laura and Larry laugh a lot, they find joy in all that they do. Yesterday and today, they hired a dump truck to haul away all the slash from their forest that they did not bury or burn last spring. The slash was taken to a recycling center where they turn it into compost. It was a festive occasion, their children and grandchildren pitched in and they made it fun for everyone. Even the little ones got to participate. 

As my ability to function declines, we find ways to celebrate. The first time I was able to go from my bedroom to my bathroom by myself in my wheelchair created a time for celebration. I am trying to learn to wear a boot that takes the pressure off my foot and ankle. I walk like a monster. All I need is a scar across my face. 

We have fun!

Daniel, I celebrate you every day! You persist to keep your sites positive and offer ideas to make that happen. I love your photos and they cheer me up whenever they appear. 

I feel with you as you experience Charlie's elder years knowing that is part of life. You are a faithful and caring friend to all of us. If we need information, you help us find it. You enjoy the victories in people's lives. 

Your humor is a bit subtle and I like it. Sometimes I have to think about it. 




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