Saturday, 27 August 2016

Unhelpful Advice 6

Mary Baker Eddy


Happiness is all in the mind? It's not a new idea - it goes back to Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Scientists, and her mentor Phineas Quimby. And it's rot.

What a Young Girl Ought to Know (Mary Wood-Allen 1905)

You can change your feelings by changing the expression of your face.

The habit of standing on one leg will not only cause the body to grow out of shape, but it causes the face to become one-sided.

It doesn't look well to see girls and women kissing each other in public places.

To be interested in home duties and in nature is the safest pleasure for the young girl. It diverts her mind from herself, and so she forgets the new emotions that come as a part of her development.

(Wood-Allen also says that young girls ought to interest themselves in nature rather than reading novels, or thinking they ought to have “beaux”. Which seems odd at a time when marriage was many women’s only choice.)

I read a poem once that said "Thoughts are things," and it would really seem as if it were true, wouldn't it. Our thoughts, Dr. Gates says, create actual substances in our blood, and it seems as if they go out from us and surround us with an atmosphere that is felt by others. We clothe ourselves in a garment of thought, and people recognize this and know us by our thought-clothing.

(Elmer Gates was an inventor whose ideas about psychology were taken up and probably misinterpreted by Napoleon Hill who wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937 – the subconscious, autosuggestion, creative imagination. Now “visualisation” – there’s nothing new under the sun.)

Positive affirmations said out aloud manifest. (@MedeaHecate)

The Girl's Own magazine was equally repressive:

You must neither trouble others, nor be troubled in yourself, about anything… 

Never allow yourself to dwell on fancied grievances, slights, unkind words or looks. (How do you know they’re “fancied” slights etc? Perhaps I’ll dish out some unkind words and looks of my own – thanks for the tip.)

The mind is everything. What you think you become. (“Buddha”)

We are the product of our thoughts. (Scottie Waves Actually we are the product of the society we live in, the school we go to, the propaganda our parents and teachers stuff our head with, the newspapers we read, the opinions of our friends, the prevailing religion, fashion, economic situation...)

What consumes your mind, controls your life. (Your life may be controlled by a coercive partner, a punitive boarding school, a totalitarian government, an entitled overclass, a war, a puritanical religion...)


More here, and links to the rest.

Unhelpful Advice 5

I believe in fairytales

More unhelpful platitudes. Fortunately not everybody is fooled:

“A few years ago, I was listening to a talk by a coach and motivational speaker who was extolling the virtues of positive thinking and the new empowered, non-hierarchical, collaborative workplace. I said that, while I loved his wonderful image of the future of work, I didn’t see much evidence of a trend in that direction. We had been talking about these things for 20  years, yet command and control was still the norm in many industries and technology was making some workplaces more regimented than ever. Not to mention the people on various forms of precarious contract at the whim of their managers. His response was that, by choosing to focus on such things, I was displaying my negative mind-set. I was filtering information according to my preconceived ideas and refusing to allow in the positive and hopeful future. See what he did there? He turned his complete lack of supporting evidence for what he was saying into my problem. It was me being negative, not him ignoring the data. Alas, the cod-psychology of self-help and motivational mumbo-jumbo has seeped into the Brexit debate. Leave campaigners are telling anyone who raises concerns about Brexit to 'be positive', 'just get on with it' and, my personal favourite, 'move on'. It’s the sort of language adopted by managers who want to railroad a project through and don’t want to hear the staff tell them it might go wrong.” (flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com)

In a way, wasn't the real referendum all the friends we made along the way? (@celestialweasel And others on this model: “You didn’t get what you wanted, but you got something else which is just as good or better.”)

Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered. (Wes Angelozzi But I thought “You are responsible for everything that happens to you”? Surely that would mean we can no more influence another person that we can fall upwards? So why are you handing out all these platitudes?)

The best way to be kind to someone is to #loveYourself and then be who you are. (@newunity Cliché bingo.)

More twisted logic and victim blaming: You’re not married because a) you’re afraid of change b) you deliberately choose people who are unavailable c) you deliberately choose people who will treat you badly d) you don’t really want to be.

This "money doesn't make you happy" nonsense always annoys me. Of course, it cannot guarantee happiness and cannot guarantee love, but you have a better chance of being happy if you are sitting on the beach front of some pleasant and sunny resort sipping a cocktail than if you are getting up at 3am to go out into the cold and wet to ride for hours on some sh*tty bus to some tedious zero-hours minimum-wage job. You have a better chance of looking good and being healthy if you can afford some pampering, time looking after your body and a good doctor you can see without too much waiting. And while relationships with gold-diggers may not be the best they are better than no relationship at all. (JP)

Nothing holds you back more than your own insecurities. (TL)
And enemies, rivals, capitalism, patriarchy, oppressive regimes, oppressive religions er er... (LF)
…Being tied to the central heating system doesn’t help much, either. *Fiddles with knot* (TL)

My Dad used to say 'always fight fire with fire', which is probably why he got thrown out of the fire brigade. (Peter Kay)

Live every day as if it was your last? You couldn’t function in society if you really did that. (Steven Poole, Guardian)

Amtrak California: Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Brand One/@porkbelt: With all due respect, this is terrible advice for trains.

Moronic platitudes that collapse under the most casual scrutiny. "It's a good day to have a good day"? (@LordSteerforth)

Found a fortune cookie at the back on my cupboard. "Never regret, never explain, never apologise" - that's TERRIBLE advice! sociopath 101 (Cal Flyn)

Whoever said "getting there is half the fun" was a liar. (@DavidWalker1201)

Person on #r4today: 'The one thing that despots fear is laughter.' Well, sort of. They also fear Soviet shock armies and strategic bombing. (Dan Snow)

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. (Albert Einstein) It's not, though, is it? It's the evil people's fault, isn't it? Obviously. Einstein, you idiot. (@Nick_Pettigrew)

Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality. (Bruce Lee @BDSixsmith adds: Which is why Adolf Hitler stormed out his bunker in 1945 and single-handedly won the Second World War.)

More here, and links to the rest.