Cerulo, a professor at Rutgers University, wrote a book last year called Never Saw It Coming. In it, she argues that we are individually, institutionally, and societally hellbent on wishful thinking. The Secret tells us to visualize best-case scenarios and banish negative ones from our minds. Never Saw It Coming says that’s what we’ve been doing all along-and we get blindsided by even the most foreseeable disasters because of it.
In her research, Cerulo found that when most of us look out at the world and plan for our future, we fuzz out our vision of any failure, fluke, disease, or disaster on the horizon. Instead, we focus on an ideal future, we burnish our best memories, and, well, we watch a lot of your show. Meanwhile, we’re inarticulate about worst-case scenarios. Just thinking about them makes us nervous and uncomfortable.
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June 8, 2007 at 6:15 pm
Don’t mean to be cheeky but how is this news? Are we to take it on the strength of this article that wishful thinking, willful naiveity and optimism are all the same thing? If the call is for more existential honesty and more vigilance then why not just say that? Why the erroneous examples out of left-field? Surely NASA would never have had reason to even open a parachute without starting from an unwary optimism?
June 8, 2007 at 7:24 pm
The point is the diffentiate between banishment/ releasing and superession. One clears the energy the other dirves the negative energy into your subconscious increasing the likelihood of its creation. Not the metion the postive effects of being able to manage ones’ reactions to “external” events.
June 8, 2007 at 7:25 pm
As far as I can tell, without actually having read the Secret, it goes far beyond mere “optimism” into an extreme faith in the concept of mind over matter illustrated by the case the author of the Slate article stars off with.
The article never equates “optimism” or being positive with the sort of willful naiveity that it attacks.
June 9, 2007 at 11:35 pm
Process instead of planning, falsification instead of successes… Sir Karl Popper laid it all out for us decades ago.