Those who fail to exhibit positive attitudes, no matter the external reality, are seen as maladjusted and in need of assistance. Their attitudes need correction. Once we adopt an upbeat vision of reality, positive things will happen. This belief encourages us to flee from reality when reality does not elicit positive feelings. These specialists in “happiness” have formulated something they call the “Law of Attraction.” It argues that we attract those things in life, whether it is money, relationships or employment, which we focus on. Suddenly, abused and battered wives or children, the unemployed, the depressed and mentally ill, the illiterate, the lonely, those grieving for lost loved ones, those crushed by poverty, the terminally ill, those fighting with addictions, those suffering from trauma, those trapped in menial and poorly paid jobs, those whose homes are in foreclosure or who are filing for bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills, are to blame for their negativity. The ideology justifies the cruelty of unfettered capitalism, shifting the blame from the power elite to those they oppress. And many of us have internalized this pernicious message, which in times of difficulty leads to personal despair, passivity and disillusionment.
– Chris Hedges
I disagree the causal nature of the personal despair being from the Law of Attraction – isn’t that personal despair potentially caused by a lack of personal responsibility in some cases?? The instant gratification of a capitalist environment definitely feeds the poor choice to begin with- but without the Law of Attraction, it becomes nearly impossible to break the personal despair. Many people have to first believe that they CAN do better before they WILL.
The Law of Attraction didn’t make someone miss their mortgage payment. But responsibility can help someone become a planner in saving up enough to cover a mortgage payment in emergencies before they buy the house. If they get grumpy because they failed to plan for an emergency does that give them leave to shut down all practical function? They’ll never GET that new job if they show up to the interview crying. For lack of a better term, “game face” applies and emotions literally HAVE to get checked at the door. Sure they can go home sulky afterwards – and hopefully they have a family who accepts and loves them despite the depression – but the only way to move on is to let go. Seeking renewal whether via the Law of Attraction or via faith – one must accept the mistake, (maybe cry a little ) but eventually deny the despair access to control lest their life become eternally shrouded by the failure. Great opportunity is born of adversity -as they say- or as my mom put it: Time to put on your big-girl panties.
Actually, MS, I think I agree with you as does the author of the quote. Re-reading the quote, it is a little unclear, but it is facetious. The claim that believing that all is happy and good no matter the environment and conditions thereof is nonsense. Positive thinking is New Age nonsense, that disallows us from seeing our responsibilities, moral right and wrong, and so on. Is that what you mean?
Yes and no- while it may be nonsense to think that an abused spouse or child must put on a happy face lest they be deemed “maladjusted” is wrong, but to call it pernicious to give a child faith that God has better things around the corner – telling that child to put on a happy face and try to live for the moment – understanding that they are indeed, responsible for making the best of their life and their own happiness from that point on… I just don’t agree that it is pernicious. There isn’t a single ounce of fault to be placed with a child who is abused, but the Law of Attraction MUST apply to such a case – because without their accepting responsibility to rise above their circumstance and make the best of the shit sandwich they were served – they are doomed to be a crippled victim the rest of their life. The Law of Attraction is what AIDES them in molding that situation and fueling a growth into something better and good. Sink or swim. Swimming is not pernicious- sinking is.
Well that settles that…