Positive psychology and politics

Should all ideas be critically examined? Are there ideas –thoughts that pop into your head – that should be abandoned as soon as they’re formed in fear and panic that someone might see in your eyes what you were thinking?



As an adult, you are responsible for your own self-esteem. As an adult, you are responsible for how you think about yourself. There are exceptions, such as people with severe mental disabilities, but the majority of the population does not fall under these exceptions. This leads to a preliminary conclusion that people are responsible for their own attitudes and thought patterns. Which is all fair and well if attitudes and thought patterns didn’t have much of an impact on the quality of your life experience.

Academic research (see Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage; Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers also have interesting examples) indicates that how you think about yourself, how you think about your place in the world, how you think about the potential impact you can make in the world, how you think about your value in the environments where you spend your life, how you think about yourself in relationships with other people, how you think about your talents and abilities all have a radical effect on your behaviour, on what you do, on how you live, on your relationships, and ultimately, on the results of your actions and behaviour.

So, question one: Does it matter how you think about yourself?

Question two: Can you as an adult be held responsible for how you think about yourself?

Question three: If it matters how you think about yourself, and you as an adult can be held responsible for how you think about yourself, to what extent are you responsible for your own position in society?

Question four: If it matters how people think of themselves, and adults can be held responsible for how they think of themselves, and they are therefore to a large extent responsible for their own positions in society, to what extent are adults responsible for their own oppression by the state?

And question five: Do these thoughts resulting from free thinking relatively unrestricted by rules about what I may say and think and write mean that I am now on the side of the oppressor? Do these questions mean that I now believe the bully has a right to rule – because he is stronger than the one under his foot, or under his fist? Are these not reasonable questions? May one not ask reasonable questions if the answers are politically uncomfortable?

Seeing that I can’t expect anyone to take it upon themselves to answer my questions, I will have to do it myself. The fact that I will be accused of being X, Y or Z does not really mean much in the world we live in by the end of the second decade of the 21st century. I hope, however, that I will find honest answers, and for once be able to put this nagging discomfort to rest.


For the record, the idea of supremacy of any ethnic, racial, or cultural group is absurd. Why would it be better if people of a certain race, language or cultural group ruled? Any being from outer space who spends more than two minutes on this planet will know that in any race, language, and culture group there are people with different outlooks on life, different ideas about themselves, different ideas about other people, and different ideas on how the world should be governed – some better and more effective than others. To claim that the members of one race, language or culture group should rule in spite of all these, and other differences is really quite unintelligent … to say the least.

My focus is on people’s views of themselves, how they fit into their environments, their relationships with other people, and what they should do to lead happy and fruitful lives. If certain ideas turn out to be good after careful consideration, if certain views prove more likely to produce results most people can benefit from, whereby the greatest number of people can find happiness, it makes sense to seriously consider these views, does it not? And if ten people, or a hundred people, or ten thousand people, or twenty million people agree with these ideas, it can lead to environments and circumstances within which a large percentage of the population can live their lives in peace and a reasonable degree of well-being and happiness, can it not?