How does our point of view affect our motivation to change?
Most normal people are optimistic. In many ways, optimism is a defense mechanism. It’s depressing to have a negative view of the world. We want to be positive. The Transition Town Movement, for example, works hard to put a positive spin on energy descent suggesting that a more localized world will actually be an improvement. But we have no way of knowing exactly what the future will bring. Optimists believe things will cycle back. Good will prevail over evil.
Yet, the way things are lining up it appears that evil may have the upper hand for the time being. Dr. Mark Sircus, an osteopathic doctor who lives in Brazil and writes a very provocative blog believes that our world is in the hands of psychopaths; not the axe murder kind, but people “(who) function incognito in high-powered professions, all the way to the very top. These are people who have no conscience. They are described as being manipulative, charming, glib, deceptive, parasitic, irresponsible, selfish, callous, promiscuous, impulsive, antisocial, and aggressive. Their main defect—what psychologists call “severe emotional detachment” or a total lack of empathy and remorse—is concealed and harder to describe than the symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.”
The Soil and Health discussion group run by gardening guru Steve Solomon argued about this very thing a month or so ago with the prevailing view (of a bunch of gardeners and alternative health advocates) that sociopaths rule the world. Psychopath and sociopath are pretty strong terms but my own experience is that people with personality disorders, such as the narcissist, have managed to work their way into positions of power. These are people who are missing essential parts of their personality; people who don’t experience the full range of human emotion. The narcissist for example, only truly experiences anger and envy. All other human emotions like love are feigned. The narcissist comes equipped with an enormous sense of entitlement and they really don’t care how many metaphorical bodies they leave in their wake.
If it’s true that these kind of people are in charge as Dr. Sircus argues, then it is difficult to be optimistic about the future because we will be the victims of decisions made by “deciders” who don’t care about anyone else.
It’s horrible to think that key decision and policy makers don’t care. It’s unsettling and grates against our basic nature because so many of us do care. In most cases, a person who cares is no match for someone who doesn’t.
If your decisions about the future are based on the optimistic view that everything will turn out okay read Dr. Sircus or any of a number of writers who I’ve recommended and consider whether or not they may be right. If they are right then changes have to be made.