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The High Cost of Delusion and Denial

October 16, 2008

I have always been a realist. Some people believe in positive realism but being a realist is sometimes positive and sometimes negative. That’s reality. People who hear me talk about the things wrong with this country and world believe me to be a pessimist. I guess it really depends on how you define the terms but there is a growing trend in this country to only want to acknowledge the truth when it’s positive, something happening less and less these days. I’ve heard it called Pollyanna before and that’s as good as any name for it but I prefer the simple term of delusion. 

We’ve all seen people that try to never be down. They walk around all day with a contrived fake smile and frown whenever anyone talks about any negative aspect of reality. In their minds everything is fine even when disaster is staring them straight in the faces. Obviously these people have been traumatized by something early in life because they have become completely unequipped to deal with reality, which we all know has positive and negative aspects. These people confuse optimism with delusional denial. They are the ones that say “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That’s fine but what if you don’t have any sugar?

The reason I bring this up is because most Americans have some of this feelgood addiction in them and to their detriment. When times are tough people need to assess the situation and make the necessary adjustments, not cling to fear and inaction. Americans are spoiled and have been living in denial for decades about the economy and now that is has come crashing down many of us are losing it, especially whites who are used to a higher standard of living from racism and exploitation of others. This feelgood addiction is much more damaging to the nation as a whole than any drug addiction. Sure a drug addict hurts themselves and maybe they rob someone to buy more drugs but turning a blind eye to reality to avoid the emotional low that sometimes comes with the negativity of reality is not helpful to anyone. It paralyzes us.

I believe the powers that be encourage this weak-minded behavior. It’s a form of brainwashing. Americans bury themselves in distraction via materialism and consumerism and then when the bill comes due, like it has now, there is no one to pay it except us all over again. The worst part of denial is that the intensity of the emotion builds over time. The more you deny reality the more difficult it will be for you to accept it later. At some point I believe it becomes impossible to reverse the damage. My mother is one such person. No matter what happens she believes she maintains her faux optimism . These same Pollyanna people are usually very religious. It should surprise no one that people who have a hard time dealing with reality are also usually religious to some degree. They go hand in hand.

The last thing we need in this country right now is people who cannot confront reality. We have an energy crisis, an environmental crisis, a healthcare crisis, an economic crisis, illegal wars of aggression and the list goes on. These problems won’t go away by pretending they don’t exist. A man with cancer who doesn’t believe he has it will still die from it without treatment. We are definitely in the late stages of our disease.

2 comments

  1. Who was right, Plato or Aristotle? Western culture have been split between these two forms of thinking since the greeks. Around them there had been forming in the minds of people ideas and concepts that define their way of thinking and behaviour. There are those idealists, like Plato, others are realist, like Aristotle. It is a matter of personality traits.


  2. I find what you write to be very true.
    People like to say, “Find whatever is true for you.”
    This, I believe, is a delusion of sorts. There is only one truth for all of us, unless we are all living in separate realities.
    Our society has devolved into these “make lemonaders” who don’t accept truth, but rather use their pathos over logos to produce falsities of the mind. In that way, they are psychotic. They don’t accept evolution, and they don’t accept the realities of our crashing society.
    People, usually women, are quick to anger when I explain the problems the educated and open eyed see. They think I’m being a pessimist, but actually I’m looking to be progressive and realizing there is a need for improvement. So, in a way, I, by being critical, am being optimistic. The definitive line is drawn between complainers and activists.
    Don’t let stupid people stunt your growth.



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