Thursday, January 01, 2004

"Follow your dreams and the money will follow" "Think positive!" The problem with cute aphorisms is that they don't have to work. There's no reality test. Noone goes and studies people who follow their dreams versus people with an actual career path and sees who is the more successful. All people have are anecdotes, which can be mediated by twenty thousand different things- is your mom successful because she thought positive or because her dad owned half the town?

So people can just keep on believing, and that keeps things in place. If everything can be conquered with a little hard work and a positive attitude, why try to change things? Anyone who isn't super happy and successful is obviously there because they are bad people. So the people on top stay on top, and the rest of us stay miserable. It's pretty twisted, this simplistic view of the world. On the outside, it seems really pleasant and sweet- we can change everything with just our minds alone- we have all power. But somehow, it gets twisted- it becomes just a blame machine to beat yourself and others with.

If I think I have all power, how can I forgive myself for ever failing? For example, I am horrid at math. I work really hard at it, I get tutoring, but still I can't get anything above a C. So with that method of thinking, I'd be left with just cognitive dissonance- on one hand, I tried with all I had, on the other, I must not really be trying, because to try is to succeed, right? So I'd just get twisted up in my mind.

I know that most people who subscribe to this kind of thing don't think, but for anyone who even thinks on a casual basis, you'd end up tied up in knots. I can't even imagine what the more logic minded think. I mean people who actually use logic, not those who just use the trappings of it to sound cool, though.

I think I am so bothered by this because I am so optimistic. Sure, it's the optimsitic that says that we can solve problems in reality or that people can change their minds, but it's optimistic the same. However, it's more of the dark side- the side that realizes sometimes everything isn't all right, that some things can't be fixed so simply. But not all things dark are bad, and not all things light are good.

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