Grinning to Death
Posted by spritzophrenia on October 21, 2010
“Think and grow rich”. “If you can dream it, you can achieve it”. “Your thoughts create your reality.” Sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve seen “The Secret”. I was interested to hear Barbara Ehrenreich had published a book on the negative side of positive thinking but didn’t realise it started with her experience of breast cancer. Here’s an excerpt from Smile or Die.
I wanted to link to a friend’s blog reviewing Ehrenreich’s book, but can’t find the article. Message me if it’s you, huh? [Edit: Found it! Linked in the comments]
I did find this perceptive review by Eliza, a Lupus sufferer. A short sample:
Constantly lectured about how I should learn to see my chronic pain and fatigue as “positive developments” that “teach me to be more loving of humanity,” I call bullshit. And I was thrilled when I learned that Barbara Ehrenreich had written a new book on the subject.
On the whole, I would say that this is a highly flawed book that is nevertheless worth reading. …
She effectively draws on her scientific background to expose the pseudo-scientific claims (usually drawn from quantum physics and psychology) that are often quoted in order to add a scientific veneer to what is primarily an ideological movement.
This article notes
While Ehrenreich seems to harbor no ill will toward Christianity, some of her harshest critique is directed at positive thinking’s inroads into American churches. She indicts the usual suspects—Joel Osteen, Robert H. Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale—but she also includes much of the megachurch movement. Like other critics, the author believes the pressures of church growth have caused many pastors to adopt principles from the world of business and commerce at the expense of Christian distinctiveness.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in christian meetings with razamatazz and hyped-up motivational speakers, thank g0d. I don’t like the way positive thinking has crept into spiritualities that have emphasised humility and even poverty in the past. Somehow it just seems fake to me.
How does this stuff make you feel? What place do you think positive thinking should have in our lives?
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