Exterminate Infestations of Negative Thoughts

Our negative thoughts can feel as if they are reality-based.

Our negative thoughts often feel as if they are reality-based.

Negative thoughts are like termites that chew up and spit out our happiness. Many of us are frequently overwhelmed by such worrisome, anxious, fearful, and hateful thoughts. These thoughts gnaw at the fabric of our life, yet we’re often oblivious to basic knowledge that can eradicate this intrusive infestation.

These thoughts often seem reality-based. Certainly, it’s easy to believe the content of these thoughts. They seem to capture objectively the nature and extent of our plight. When they overpopulate our mind, they can produce an ugly reality, a self-defeating acting out of our negative outlook and worst fears. We must understand, though, that they represent a subjective impression rather than any deeper truth about us or our life.

Before getting to the liberating knowledge, let’s look at a list of common negative thoughts. (This list is bleak and grim, and we can insert a little levity by reading this section as experimental poetry noir.) I’ve separated this list into three categories that are explained further on:

A. Negative thoughts associated with inner passivity: No one understands me or knows what I feel; I’ll never make it; I can’t get started; I’m so weak, helpless, and out of control; I can’t get things together; I can’t finish anything; I don’t think I can go on; I feel like I’m alone against the world; I know I have a serious disease; I’ll never be healthy and happy again; What’s the point of trying?  [Read more...]

Why We Dither on Climate Change

What exactly is the nature of our resistance?

I’ve been trying for some time to fathom the psychology of educated and supposedly sophisticated people who, in paralysis and resistance, are unwilling to respond rationally to the perils of global warming. We need to look deeply into the heart of this issue.

Why haven’t we taken rational or logical steps to shut down our lethal fossil-fuels industry and to replace it with better conservation and renewable-energy technologies? An assortment of psychological reasons for our paralysis present themselves, including denial, greed, fear, passivity, stubbornness, self-centeredness, self-sabotage, and our species’ lack of compassion for future generations.

Some concerned citizens see greed as the main problem. They want to break the power of the fossil-fuel industry and force it to keep its trillions of dollars in oil, coal, and gas reserves in the ground. They believe that if the industry is identified as the enemy of humanity, people will rise up to fight a moral battle against it.

This strategy is well and good, yet most of us know the industry can be ruthless and greedy, and still we aren’t dashing down the street to join coalitions. I believe we have to look deeper into our paralysis. We need to wage a psychological battle with ourselves as well as a moral battle with the industry. [Read more...]