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Smile or Die

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  • Mental health
  • Health & wellbeing

Acclaimed journalist, author and political activist Barbara Ehrenreich explores the darker side of positive thinking.

Smile or Die

Acclaimed journalist, author and political activist Barbara Ehrenreich explores the darker side of positive thinking.

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  • This has been one of my favourite talks of the last five years. Ms Ehrenreich has a lot of courage to not try to efface the just human-nature fact that some things are awful (I applaud Brené Brown pretty sincerely on that point too) and that smiling, putting up a socially acceptable positivist façade is not a solution ... No matter how one thinks 'lovely sunny day' or 'how dry I am' whilst standing in the rain, one can still very easily catch pneumonia. This goes well with Alain de Botton's clever essay on 'pessimism'.


    Furthermore, in terms of Eastern Philosophy, it ties in with the 'mutual arising' (emptiness).


    It is true also that the push for "optimism" in education - in preparations of the corporate domain mask ? - is also frighteningly reminiscent of Orwellian "new-speak". Being cheerful in circumstances which permit one to be cheerful is sound emotional health ; being cheerful when anyone would half-a-mind would concede that the circumstances simply suck, that is insanity.

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