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Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided Explores the Dark Side of Positive Thinking

                                                                                                                                                By Michelle Goldberg Posted on October 11, find no rx ultram 2009, find no rx ultram Printed on October 15, find no rx ultram 2009 Last month, find no rx ultram the front page of the New York Times style section ran an inadvertently depressing story about a group of young life coaches sometimes referred to as the “spiritual cowgirls.” These hip young women, find no rx ultram who have lots of charisma but no professional qualifications, find no rx ultram are setting themselves up as ersatz gurus to their questing peers. Find no rx ultram They charge hundreds of dollars for sessions that combine new age atmospherics with the kind of power-of-positive thinking nostrums that made a phenomenon out of The Secret. “[N]ow there is a new role model for New York’s former Carrie Bradshaws—young women who are vegetarian, find no rx ultram well versed in self-help and New Age spirituality, find no rx ultram and who are finding a way to make a living preaching to eager audiences, find no rx ultram mostly female, find no rx ultram” reported the Times. Find no rx ultram One 31-year-old member of this eager audience is quoted praising her spiritual tutor Gabrielle Bernstein, find no rx ultram a 29-year-old former nightclub publicist who lectures on using the “laws of attraction” to “manifest” one’s desires. Find no rx ultram “A lot of women look up to her, find no rx ultram” the student says. Find no rx ultram “We need this guidance and we are searching for this guidance.” Bernstein’s audacity in marketing herself as a sage appears to be matched by the piteousness of her customers. The Times story is evidence of the timeliness of Barbara Ehrenreich’s bracing, find no rx ultram acidulous new book, find no rx ultram Bright-Sided: How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Find no rx ultram A broadside against exactly the sort of pabulum peddled by Bernstein, find no rx ultram Bright-Sided reveals the historical roots and conservative uses of the positive thinking movement, find no rx ultram showing how it encourages victim-blaming, find no rx ultram political complacency, find no rx ultram and a culture-wide flight from realism. “The flip side of positivity is… a harsh insistence on personal responsibility: if your business fails or your job is eliminated, find no rx ultram it must be because you didn’t try hard enough, find no rx ultram didn’t believe firmly enough in the inevitability of your success, find no rx ultram” writes Ehrenreich. Find no rx ultram “As the economy has brought more layoffs and financial turbulence to the middle class, find no rx ultram the promoters of positive thinking have increasingly emphasized this negative judgment: to be disappointed, find no rx ultram resentful, find no rx ultram or downcast is to be a ‘victim’ and a ‘whiner.’” It’s satisfying, find no rx ultram in a cranky contrarian way, find no rx ultram to watch a writer as smart as Ehrenreich take aim at something as universally revered as dogged optimism. Find no rx ultram Yet while America’s obsessive positivity might be risible, find no rx ultram it initially seems like a stretch to describe it as dangerous. Find no rx ultram Nevertheless, find no rx ultram Bright-Sided makes a surprisingly convincing case that positive thinking—which essentially teaches that one’s thoughts, find no rx ultram properly harnessed, find no rx ultram can control physical events in the world—is often delusional and sometimes actively dangerous. Michelle Goldberg, find no rx ultram a contributing editor at Religion Dispatches, find no rx ultram is the author of the New York Times bestseller Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, find no rx ultram and of the forthcoming The Means of Reproduction: Sex, find no rx ultram Power and the Future of the World, find no rx ultram to be published in April by Penguin Press. View this story online at: