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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/9/19

Visions of a Positive Progressive Future vs Fixing a Pathological Present

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Milkweed-- the food that supports butterflies-- and note there are some other bugs. Like Our system, we need to metamorphize it and also get rid of the bugs
Milkweed-- the food that supports butterflies-- and note there are some other bugs. Like Our system, we need to metamorphize it and also get rid of the bugs
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This article is a revised version of the article I originally wrote and published in 2015.

It is not enough to resist or fight the system and the problems that exist. It is absolutely inadequate to aim for repairing the symptoms of what is broken. We need big, positive visions, which lift our sights higher, towards horizons where there are bright futures, not scotch tape and bubblegum fixes for the pathological system we currently inhabit.

Back in the early eighties, when I was a lonely pioneer in the field that has become Positive Psychology (I called it Positivity back then,) most of the world of psychology focused on pathology. Clinical psychologists asked the questions:

· What is the diagnosis?

· What are the pathological symptoms?

· What is the etiology that has led to the current clinical pathology?

· What treatments, interventions and drugs are needed to eliminate the symptoms and pathology?

I had a different idea. How much can we help people by, instead of fixing what is broken or pathological, teaching them how to move in positive directions, helping them to develop positive skills. Instead of treating symptoms, we could help them develop habits and behaviors and attitudes that would lift them, regardless of the symptoms, towards greater health, happiness, inner strength and well-being. Of course, there was and is a place for pathology oriented "treatment" of psychological problems, but people back then were not talking about positive ways to lift people towards robust health, as opposed to the mainstream model of helping people to be not ill. My overhead projector presentation included a transparency that said something along the lines--

Be Well, not not-sick.

Since those early days, starting, for me ,in 1981, the field of Positive psychology has emerged as a major new idea that has sprouted wings and legs of its own. The International Positive Psychology Summit meeting has over 1200 attendees and hundreds of presentations, and Positive Psychology has become a field unto itself with graduate departments at major universities.

Nathan Nahm, in his article concludes, "It is high time that every one in America woke up for the reality we face. Stupid or not, we cannot have a useful prescription to our problem, if we don't have a correct diagnosis."

Nahm is talking about our economic political situation. Nahm's remark and Henry Giroux's big questions in his writings, remind me of my quest, earlier in my career, to re-think the way that we help people become and stay psychologically healthy.

Giroux says, in his book, The Violence of Organized Forgetting:

"It is not enough for people of conscience only to expose the falseness of the stories we are told. Educators, artists, intellectuals, workers, young people and other concerned citizens also need to create alternative narratives about what the promise of democracy might be for our communities and ourselves."

The field of positive psychology has evolved by describing different aspects and elements of living a positive life and maintaining a positive state of mind, attitudes, emotions, even ways of seeing-- ie., the phenomenology of positivity.

Why can't the same concept be applied to people, to cultures, to nation states, to politics and economics?

We can ask the questions:

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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at RobKall.com

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity  

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)
 

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13 people are discussing this page, with 30 comments  Post Comment


Gary Brumback

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Over many years I have worked on perfecting a fix of the pathological present and a path to a perfect future.


You get a peek of the end product of my work by going to Amazon Books, entering Gary Brumback's "911!" book and continuing to the Look Inside.


My "rescue' plan is extremely detailed and logically solid. If I can get certain super-rich to fund the plan, we will have a perfect future, if not, there will be no future later this century..


The crux of my plan is to remove the "props" that Corporate and Government America give to each other to stay and grow in power.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 4:50:53 PM

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I will pray for your success in changing things. At least, you are tireless in writing the truth... and that is no small thing in this era of transformation... where disinformation has been weaponized.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 6:57:26 PM

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Brilliant, Rob!


If more people listened to you (and Chris Hedges), we would have a future...

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 5:09:40 PM

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Shout it loudly.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 6:08:34 PM

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shad williams

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James Brown?

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You feel good?

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Rob, positive psychology cannot be based on "be well" because one cannot be well when hurt by oppressive power. Positive psychology may exist if one respects others the same way others respect him or her. In short, it requires equal human rights. When we accept equal human rights, there would be no more problems in society.

Then based on the conclusion of positive psychology, which is not clear, you ask why we cannot apply it to society? Then you ask three excellent questions, but you do not provide the answers to them besides informing that some authorities work on it right now.

I tried to find what exactly is the bottom-up revolution and was not able to. Can you say what it is in one sentence?

I can say in one sentence that all social problems around the world will be removed by accepting equal human rights.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 6:22:25 PM

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Okie dokie. I get that. What's next my friend? Not the book, please.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 9:33:20 PM

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Two articles published here present two extremely simple ideas that will solve each and every problem with capitalism.

The Future of Democracy will fix every social problem everywhere.

Full employment is a turning point for capitalism will fix the economic problems of capitalism.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 9:52:42 PM

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Hmmmm.

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If you have read these articles, you have just seen the bright future of humankind. I have successfully defended these ideas in numerous discussions over the last twenty-five years or so. So, if you do not believe these ideas would work, I challenge you to attack them. It would help more people see the bright future of humankind.

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The Bottom-up revolution is the return the humanity we were before civilization, when people had bottom-up connection consciousness regarding each other and the nature their lives depended upon, and were far more connected, interdependent, caring and compassionate.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 10:50:54 AM

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With all due respect, if we go back far enough, people acted like animals. I would say their behaviour was more natural than conscious.

So far consciousness has mostly been imposed by authorities to make sure nothing can remove their power. All left ideologies have proclaimed consciousness, which never worked.

The most successful consciousness ever has come from a big authoritarian stick threating people's butts. But this kind of conscience did not create a good society.

Imagine everyone has a small stick threatening everyone's butt equally. This will make people respect each other. This will make people connected, interdependent, caring and compassionate. This will create a good societ unconditionally.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 12:53:22 PM

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What do you think about the Democratic Socialist Scandinavian countries? My sister and her husband, who is a very rich, classic type-A narcissistic neo-liberal, came back from a few days in Denmark and totally blew my mind by saying that's exactly the way they now think this country should be...

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Socialism must be democratic so that the word "democratic" is not needed. Socialism must be based on equal human rights which never existed anywhere. This is not easy to accomplish but we may significantly develop capitalism.

I would call Scandinavian countries not a very developed capitalism. But still it is the best in the world:-)

Two articles published here present two extremely simple ideas that will solve each and every problem of capitalism and make it a decent social system:

The Future of Democracy will fix every social problem everywhere.

Full employment is a turning point for capitalism will fix the economic problems of capitalism.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 4:27:01 PM

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Thank you, I'll check them out.

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One of the obstacles I see preventing the creation of a more humane and rational system is the curriculum in business schools. The students are taught the same economic model that is destroying life on the planet. I would even go so far as to say that a certain status quo world view has been adopted by Western higher education in general. People graduate from these institutions not questioning the dominant paradigm of the culture they live in.

There are of course exceptions or we wouldn't be having this conversation, but I think the progressive ideas that used to be accepted in higher education back in the late 60s to early 70s have been deliberately eroded by powerful economic interests.

I'm not sure what the best strategy is to undoing this indoctrination in education, but it seems like a worthwhile conversation to have. I guess it's the same problem we have in every institution that has been captured by the oligarch class.

Colleges and universities were where the uprisings in the 60s started though. Perhaps it's where we need to begin the transformation process once again which is a challenge for us aging boomers. Most of the peace and justice groups I belong to are dominated by people with gray hair. Attracting young people to the cause has been a daunting task.

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Totally on the mark, Lois. Ola and I attended U-Arizona Business Master's

Introduction and quickly left when recruiting prof said "If you're not willing to

screw your own grandmother, you don't belong here".

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Is that mofo in jail??

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shad williams

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There is absolutely no question that "education" must be addressed as a foundational requirement for humankind. The elites have manipulated education for centuries. We need to break their fingers.

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Control education and you have a population in your hands.

Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance Against Privatization and the Fight to Save America's Public Schools (January 21, 2020).

The Perfect Storm [Disaster] of Education Reform"

Bombshell in California: E-Mails Reveal Charter Lobby's Goal of Complete Privatization of All Schools in the State

Another way to dumb us down... replace experienced teacher-practitioner of pedagogy, with TFA trained novices. Faced with low test scores in Providence, Central Falls, and other districts, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo wants more teachers from Teach for America, who have only five weeks of training. She is a deep-dyed Corporate Reformer who believes in the magic of privatization by charter schools and inexperienced, ill-trained TFA. This will not end well for the students.

On the subject of 'training' teachers (you know...like we 'train doctors) "Education Deans for Justice and Equity" Speak Out Against Market-Based Disruption

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 7:06:44 PM

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"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." Absolutely true. So, when you propose in your article a litany of a dozen or so problems facing the nation, the way to proceed becomes obvious. There is one problem in the list that towers above the rest in terms of priority: imperialism. And it just might be the easiest to fix, because the new model, one which 80% of the "billionaires" would approve as well as all of the rest of us, is a civilain economy that would retire the decaying war economy that has been in place for the past 75 years and is bringing us to the point of paralysis.
Once that is accomplished, then the focus can turn with a legitimate chance of success toward offering the kind of progressive economic model we all envision. The seeds are already sprouting as evidenced by the growing number of employee controlled companies and growing sustainable, employee friendly workplace environments that have been incubating in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. But none of this will ever go anywhere until the war economy is ended and its manufacturing base is repurposed.

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The billionaires should speak up and make themselves known, explain their program so that they don't get casually whacked when they've run out of bullshit.

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 9:46:20 PM

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Absolutely, Rob!

Can we pur this into practice somehow? Perhaps a regular column where people describe their best visions for the future?

Submitted on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 8:13:45 PM

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Good idea.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 7:07:23 PM

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Ironically, I think the crux of the problem in this country, is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. And that is that we should all be all about our own notions of pursuing happiness. While, of course, we would all like to be happy, when asked what would make you happy, I'd say 80-90% of the people will say "having a lot of money". This mindset, coupled with our capitalistic pseudo-democracy, is a recipe for for the kind of selfish, information/entertainment besotted nightmare we now call home...

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 3:40:55 PM

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That's awfully anti-positive, Al. For one thing, the pursuit of happiness is the third item in the Declaration's list. And I must challenge your supposition that most people want "a lot of money" in order to be happy. Even in poor countries, people can be happy if they have social connections in a community in which they and others have enough to survive with a bit of comfort and have roughly equal status.

It's sad that you feel that we're living a nightmare.

Submitted on Friday, Oct 11, 2019 at 1:31:17 AM

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Sad, indeed...

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Ah, Rob. I love that you offer a way to move forward. If I stop moving forward it will be the end. So, when I get really sad at what I cannot help but observe, it helps to have your voice, saying... let's try this.

Thanks. Loved your essay!

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 7:16:19 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Follow Me on Twitter (Member since Apr 4, 2008), 53 fans, 58 articles, 139 quicklinks, 4556 comments, 214 diaries
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Yes, 'Hope Springs Eternal' - always 'room for improvement' even when things look 'bleak' and seem to get 'bleaker'. As the Primaries for 2020 'come into view' suddenly 'things start to look promising' - 'promises are made', this time 'for real', 'the most important election ever, while all our politicians, presidential, congressional, and local power brokers and seekers all rely on perhaps the greatest psychological time-tested ploy for success at the polls and uplifting the masses - 'tell them what they want to hear' (Trump and the Republicans - 'keep America great' - 'say it enough' they'll 'believe it/Democrat Presidential Nominee and the Democrats - 'real change you can believe in', 'a political revolution', 'infrastructure' money is there, 'millions of new high paying jobs' created, 'health care for everyone' #Revenge - 'the people who knocked these buildings down' - W Bush shortly after 9/11.

Submitted on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 at 7:51:10 PM

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