Up until now I have laid out the basic precepts of the Kinslow System under the creativity, health, personal, relationships, science, society, and spiritual headings. A firm philosophical/functional foundation has been laid and now it is time for us to change direction, or more accurately, expand in any and all directions. I would like to create a more conversant forum. That is I would like to hear what you are interested in and then discuss those interests in the light of the Kinslow System. That means, we can chat over any topic that tickles your fancy. The obvious value is that we can explore and discover new ways of thinking and perceiving that will have immediate impact on our lives. This impact will manifest in many different ways on many different levels but always to enrich, nurture, and improve the quality of our lives.
That means, however, that the “dialogue” ball will occasionally end up in your court. When it does, I would like to hear from you, your thoughts, feelings, and insights tossing the ball back in my court. This is going to be fun and exciting but more than that it has the potential to enrich our lives far beyond what we have accepted as normal, or even exceptional.
So here’s how it works… I will make comment on some issue and you will respond with your observations. Then I will respond and you will respond, etc. etc. etc. Nothing new there, right? Of course the real value comes in the quality of our interaction. Let’s make it worth your while. What do you say, shall we get started?
Here is an excerpt from my new book When Nothing Works Try Doing Nothing due for release in early October. It is a topic very near to my heart. Let me know how you feel about it. Here goes…
[Note: this post will be rather lengthy but it will lay the groundwork for future blogs. Keep it handy you can refer to it often. I will add additional excerpts to support our ongoing dialogue.]
The Negative Side of Positive Thinking
“All this trying to make everything right is a big part of what’s wrong.” ~Oliver Berkeman
What is it that has the pseudoscientific community’s panties in a twist? Why, that would be the negative effects of positive thinking. When they talk about positive thinking, and I emphatically include under this umbrella “law of attraction” advocates, many take on an evangelistic fervor as if they are offering you the keys to the universe. They make you feel as though all you have to do is switch on positive thinking and the angels on high will spread rose petals on your path to material wealth and prosperity. Likewise, they tell you that the law of attraction means “like increases like” and positive thoughts can attract to them positive outcomes. They will tell you that this reasoning is based on solid principles of physics. Basically, they say, the law of attraction is telling us that our thoughts can control the material world. This may come as a surprise to many of you, but there is no “law of attraction” in physics or any other science. The whole positive thinking movement is scientifically baseless.
The most recent reincarnation of the idea that thoughts can control the material world comes out of the well-known, but frequently misinterpreted double-slit experiment in quantum mechanics. This classic experiment demonstrates that the outcome of the experiment is determined by what the observer measures. Briefly, if the scientist observed a photon in one way he found it to be a particle, and in another it presented as a wave. Now, I don’t want to get too technical here, and it’s not at all necessary in order to reach my objective. You can Google “double-slit experiment” and pick up the basics, but here’s my point. You could say that the scientist controlled whether he observed a particle or a wave, but you can’t say that he “created” the particle or the wave. The scientist seemingly influenced the outcome of the experiment by his observation of it, but in the end he was only observing what was already created. His observation determined whether he measured the photon as a particle or a wave, but he could not turn that particle or wave into a double-bacon cheeseburger. You see what I mean?
To further build on this misconception, the law-of-attraction aficionado proudly announces that if a scientist can control matter with his mind on the subatomic micro level, then we can control matter on the macro level of cars and Mars and jelly jars. This is a rather huge inductive leap with no foundation in experimental investigation. The scientist of the double-slit experiment was able to observe a single subatomic particle. Materializing your dream home is infinitely more complicated then observing a single photon. Your dream home is constructed of an unimaginable number of subatomic particles which form atoms which form molecules which then form the bricks, pipes, drywall, electrical wires, aluminum siding, etc., of your dream home. Are you truly capable of observing all of these particles in just the right way so that they materialize as your dream home? If so, would you think up a brand-new Ferrari for me? I’m just covering all my bases …
“No,” says the law-of-attraction believer, “it is the organizing power of the universe that does the work.” That there is order in the universe is obvious. That we can bend that power to our individual will has yet to be shown. There may be a greater lesson to be learned, one of observation versus control. I rather like the position of the scientist in the double-slit experiment. He is an awed observer of that universal organizing power. Isn’t that enough? From what emptiness springs our need to control every minute aspect of our world when the greatest joys afforded us have always been those spontaneous revelations of love and laughter accompanied with the realization that my world, our world, is beautiful just as it is?
Obviously our ability to imagine, plan, and control is inherent and necessary to our survival. It is the earmark of a healthy human, and has assured not only our existence but ascension to the apex of the animal kingdom. But there is a second kind of control, aberrant and born of dissatisfaction, disassociation, and fear. It is normal to want to free oneself from suffering. And if that suffering continues over a long enough time, it is common for that distressed mind to seek unrealistic and even detrimental relief. The control of the contented soul is giving, playful, and life-supporting. It lacks the frenetic sense of urgency, self-absorption, and hope that pervades a soul in suffering. The good news is that the suffering soul does not need to go outside of itself to relieve its torment. In fact, it cannot find permanent relief anywhere else but within. The misdirected mind, once on track, leaves behind that impulse and finds comfort in the present, no matter how chaotic or harsh it may appear.
If the positive-thinking movement is scientifically baseless, then why is it so popular? Does positive thinking work under more esoteric “cosmic” or spiritual laws beyond the reach of modern scientific reasoning? Well that certainly is the insinuation, but there is no proof of that either. So how does positive thinking work? The short answer is, it doesn’t! At least it doesn’t work the way it has been popularly presented.
There is more to be gained by exposing the inadequacies of positive thinking than you might realize, and it takes only a little scratching below the surface to appreciate the real and practical benefits for ourselves. Shall we do that? Shall we throw out the useless and replace it with something practical that will actually work? Then let’s get to it.
We will first look at the negative effects of positive thinking and then move on to create an actual positive perception that will … well, let’s just wait until we clear the complexities of positive thinking before we lay in our foundation for further fulfillment.
We have all heard of the wonderful results of positive thinking and the law of attraction. You know, think in just the right way to create the perfect partner or win the lottery. We hear about it a lot, but how often do you think it actually happens? Well as it turns out not very often at all, certainly not enough to be statistically significant. Let’s look at it from the other side. How many times has the law of attraction been conjured up with no results? As it turns out, failure of the law of attraction way outweighs its successes. Isn’t that your own experience? In actuality the law of attraction is no more effective at manipulating our world then is mere chance or happenstance. If it did work, everyone would be doing it and we would all be living utopian lives.
Why then do we hear so much about the successes of positive thinking? It’s the yellow Volkswagen phenomenon. Picture yourself driving down the road when out of the blue your passenger says, “Did you know that the day after you see a yellow Volkswagen you will receive unexpected money?” All of a sudden you see yellow Volkswagens everywhere, on the road, in parking lots, even in your dreams. Now, was it your lust for unexpected money that materialized yellow Volkswagens out of thin air? Some would say that seeing those yellow Volkswagens proved the law of attraction was hard at work in your favor. Or could it be that you were alerted to yellow Volkswagens and just became aware of what already existed? Remember Occam’s razor, which holds that the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions is the one that is most likely to be true. Did your law of attraction positive thought wave-patterns reverberate throughout the universe inspiring yellow Volkswagen vibrations to manifest full blown and fully loaded in the left turn lane at the next stoplight? Or did your heightened Volkswagen awareness simply make you notice what had been there all along? Do you see how easily this can get out of hand? But there’s more.
Reproducibility, that’s what a scientific technique is all about. By following the same instructions you must be able to duplicate what others have produced. Despite all manner of anecdotal evidence to the contrary, positive thinking, including intention work, is not reproducible. Let’s pick the most obvious example.
In 2007 a book was published that guaranteed its readers that the information within would provide “an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it”. I do not like to unnecessarily point fingers so I will not name the book. That will be my “secret”. This book, based on the law of attraction, became phenomenally successful – apparently a perfect example of the author’s teachings. The author then wrote a follow-up book which, despite the notoriety of the first, was far and away less successful. Now my question is this: “Did the author have an intention for her second book to be less successful?” Do you see what I’m getting at here? Did the author, a master of the law of attraction, invoke that law to create a significantly less successful book or, despite her mastery of the law of attraction, was she unable to make it work? I’ll let you be the judge.
Information: The Kinslow System™
Technique: Stop Thought Experience
Book: The Kinslow System: Your Path to Proven Success