In a world where positivity is the new deliverance, people are finding it hard to experience the full range of the human experience. Warning: This is a non- academic, non-conclusive piece that contains inconvenient truths about positivity, herd mentality, and dogmatic intervention …
Good evening! This is your Random Truth (RANT) bulletin with your random food for thought.
Today’s topics: smiley-face culture, compulsive smiles, compulsive hugs, forced happiness and institutionalized positivity. All the things that take the fun out of fun.
Here’s the thing about the positivity industry. The smiley-faced gurus are making a lot of money selling bogus ideas in bogus seminars that attract people in throngs, making them miserable by convincing them that they can’t be happy unless they carve a ‘positivity’ tattoo on their foreheads and force all those around them who dare not crack open their lips at the drop of a vowel to smile and beam and partake in all kinds of positive activities. Anything short of that and the offenders are branded ‘pessimistic ogres,’ ‘negative killjoys’ and other such empowering (for the brander) terms, reinforcing the conclusion that to be happy a person must smile and hug and giggle and mingle and have happy thoughts and share one’s feelings all the time — you know, all the crap that’s replacing religion nowadays — crap which people are expected to follow blindly to find deliverance from depression, anxiety and all the other pits of modern-day darkness. As if there’s nothing more important than ‘positivity,’ like, oh, I don’t know, fulfilment maybe, or drive, or accomplishment and grit. As if solutions have to come with a stamp of emotional approval, with the right mood, and challenge has to be met with an upbeat disposition all the time, and happiness is more important than discovery or respect, than power and knowledge, or anything else. As if love is a means to a happy ending, not the other way round, and that hatred, anger, disappointment and sadness are things people shouldn’t experience.
All the above are acceptable only if used in a positive manner, under the banner of ‘inclusivity,’ ‘good hormones’ and ‘ happiness.’
What is positive, inclusive, good and happy? Your gurus will determine that. All I can tell you is that it involves a dogmatic set of ideas disguised as free thought, plus a whole lot of discrimination between ‘us’ and ‘them,’ in the name of goodness, happiness and positivity, of course.
Yes, ladies and gentlebugs. The tables have been unturned. Psychology, personal growth and all the self-enhancement programs and seminars that come loaded with these new age angles and their vain promises and their thousand dollar invoices at the end of each session are the new slosh of the day. Step right up, will you? The world needs a confident smile!
Who said salvation was a pipe dream? Join the program, we need to work on you! Yes, I hear you, not all of them suck. A few of them work wonders for some people, offering
sound advice and insight. They operate on very simple but deeply profound socio-psychological levels that can be empowering and useful when applied diligently and with discretion.
But on the whole, as a paradigm, they’re one of the craftiest cons around. Religion would be very proud, if it were not so threatened.
From the RANT headquarters,
Have a nice evening!
PS – Here is an RSA Animate classic on how the dogma of forced positivity is not the happy and constructive affair it’s made out to be, reminding us that there can be too much of a good thing.