Ain’t Gonna Happen
The power of positive thinking is crap. If I imagine something good occurring it will not happen. Same holds for bad. If I want to assure that something will not happen I create a scenario of it. I wonder if this is true for others. Is all this self-helpy stuff really nothing but dreck? Samuel Johnson wrote second marriages are the triumph of hope over experience. Is consuming positive thinking babble, hope triumphing over a plethora of evidence to the contrary?
There is the possibility I’m missing something, thinking askew. If I tossed in sunny affirmations would it help? Everyday in every way I’m getting better. My story will appear in The New Yorker. My story will appear in The New Yorker. I seriously doubt it.
I’ve come to fear looking into the future because it will assure that good stuff isn’t going to happen. Imagining bad is okay because the horrible experiences seem to be kept at bay by doing so, but who wants to live with constantly writing worst case scenarios? I’m between the proverbial rock and a hard place. If I expect to accomplish things I need to plan; to plan well I need to envision.
Perhaps attaching hope to any part of a plan produces the problem. I could try picturing the necessary steps while not expecting anything good coming from them. Look ahead into expectation-fog while planning in detail. T. S. Eliot wrote, “… hope would be the hope for the wrong thing.” He probably would object to this use of his work, but it’s something I could keep in mind in the hope of keeping disappointment at bay.
It’s probably hopeless. How can anyone look ahead without some expectation of good results? Am I doomed to trying to create a good life with no hope of achievement? In “The Myth of Sisyphus” Camus wrote “Oedipus … obeys fate without knowing it. But from the moment he knows, his tragedy begins.” I know it’s absurdly presumptuous to put my situation in the same paragraph as Greek drama, but I can’t help wondering if awareness of my relationship with the future makes my life a tragedy. After Oedipus becomes conscious he declares all is well. If I am in a tragedy, can all is well be true for me? Probably not, just hope creeping in, once again setting me up for … disillusionment.