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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I'm a pessimist, but I'll pass on learned optimism. Most of my dour moods come from political and climate news, not from my personal life.

I respect your take on this, Ruth. Here's how Nietzsche weighed in:

“In this sense the Dionysian man resembles Hamlet: both have once looked truly into the essence of things, they have gained knowledge, and nausea inhibits action; for their action could not change anything in the eternal nature of things; they feel it to be ridiculous or humiliating that they should be asked to set right a world that is out of joint. Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion: that is the doctrine of Hamlet, not that cheap wisdom of Jack the Dreamer who reflects too much and, as it were, from an excess of possibilities does not get around to action. Not reflection, no--true knowledge, an insight into the horrible truth, outweighs any motive for action, both in Hamlet and in the Dionysian man.

Oh Boy, Bertold, you opened an interesting idea. 

In Greek mythology, "Apollo and Dionysus are both sons of Zeus. Apollo is the god of rational thinking and order, appealing to prudence and purity. On the other hand, Dionysus is the god of the irrationality and chaos, appealing to emotions and instincts.

Ruth, the personal Ruth, represents the "rational thinking and order, calling to prudence and purity."

Ruth, reacting to the chaos of politics, religion, and power, provides evidence and reason for her stand, as Apollo would do.

The chaos of politics, religion, and power, represents "the confusion of modern life, everything seems mixed up and contradictory, illogical and incoherent."  The disorder is the current version of the Dionysian.

We face the modern equivalent of Apollo and Dionysus, order and chaos. I exist in a teeter toter world that feels very familiar to me. 

Deciding to end my marriage I thought as an Apollonian, and I felt as a Dionysian.  

When I worked to complete my master's thesis, I was thinking as an Apollonian and felt like a Dionysian. (The fact is, my argument passed my committee, and I earned my master's degree.) 

When I struggled to earn my doctoral degree, I functioned as an Apollonian and felt overwhelmed as a Dionysian. (The fact is, my dissertation did not gain approval from my committee who were Catholic priests because "my research was biased. My dissertation was 'A Splendid Heresy'").

Faced with the realities of the tRump crowd, I realize there is a struggle ahead, and as long as I am alive, I will take whatever action I can to get those mean spirited, selfish, short sighted men and women out of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government. 

Thank you again, Ruth, for helping to maintain a steady eye on what is happening that I do not think is ethical and moral and keep focused on a preferred future. I could not be as active as I am without your wisdom!

My preferred future is one of living and dying in a country that guarantees the rights of every person, and each has access to opportunity.  

Ruth, I don't know what I would do without you! You bravely pour through all the details of politics and climate change and willingly share your information so that we can more intelligently respond to our Congress people. 

I don't experience you as a pessimist, I feel you as a realist. Let's get the facts about what is happening, make some decisions about what actions we can take to meet those challenges, and you respond to others' victories. 

We can't bury our heads in the sand and make believe everything is all right. We can't pretend we can do nothing; there are lots of things we can do, and you do them better than anyone I know.

Speaking from personal experience, I know people can change their state of mind to become more positive. Like any important change, it takes recognition that there is a problem, a willingness to work on the problem, and a desire to keep improving. The ability to accept constructive,, thoughtful advice helps too.

Changing one's state of mind also requires realistic alternative futures.

"Options, without awareness, yield one no freedom."

~ Ed Lindaman, author of Thinking in the Future Tense.

"And awareness, without options, is painful."

Amen to that.

I wonder... Many theist seem to be very positive thinkers... "If I just believe God will take of things for me" perhaps self delusion is much more of a factor there. All the positive thinking I could muster eventually could not get past the reality that there was no God no matter how positive I wished to think. As a result of taking responsibility for my own actions and fate I do see things in a much more positive way. I can have a positive effect on my surroundings without any interference from a god punishing me at his whim!

"If I just believe God will take care of things for me" is a dependent statement. Have you ever had an illness and ask for god help? Did it come? Have you ever been indebted and not able to meet your commitment, did you ask god to rescue you? Did god help? Have you watched a loved one dying and you ask to save the person, did a spirit help? Have you ever, for any reason requested help from god,  christ,  the holy spirit and had it help? Oh yes! god can say "yes, no, maybe, not now, not ever" and we buy into that scam!

There is a particular element of self-respect and pride to overcome a challenge, knowing there was no rescue coming around the corner, and no aid suddenly appearing from nowhere. That is what being grown up is all about. A challenge arises, you think of what you can do to solve the problem or conflict, and you do it.

The Native Americans had it right, they sent their young out on a challenge and when the youth completed the task, they felt grown up. We have no such test for our young people.

"... and we buy into that scam!

Joan, did you buy into that scam?

Who are the "we" who buy unto it?

Ok, I'm grumpy tonight.




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