Behind all of the most popular modern approaches to happiness and success is the simple philosophy of focusing on things going right. But ever since the first philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome, a dissenting perspective has proposed the opposite: that it’s our relentless effort to feel happy, or to achieve certain goals, that is precisely what makes us miserable and sabotages our plans. And that it is our constant quest to eliminate or to ignore the negative – insecurity, uncertainty, failure, sadness – that causes us to feel so insecure, anxious, uncertain or unhappy in the first place.
Extracted from The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, by Oliver Burkeman. See The Guardian article Happiness is a glass half empty.
The above article was linked in a comment recently. I’ve found the message so compelling and true I’ve thus elevated it to the front page.
And if that wasn’t enough about questioning happiness I came across this video animation titled Smile or Die which takes a critical look at positive thinking! The method of conveying the argument using words and images on a white board suits me down to the ground.
As I see it the underlying issue in both the article and the video is a common mistaken view about the use of the mind. But this is a tricky subject when you get right down to it. Magical thinking and the like is one thing however there is the power of the good which benefits beings. We would call that spiritual merit.
I’m deeply sorry if questioning positive thinking has left you disturbed. My way of seeing through this positive/negative is to re-affirm the wisdom of looking up which is too often confused with thinking positively. Looking up is a direction which has no goal.