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Interpretive on Pathologies of Hope - Essay Example

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Summary
In this piece, Ehrenreich expresses an opinion which is contrary to the prevailing popular wisdom, which holds “that hope, optimism, and a ‘positive attitude’ are the keys to…
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Interpretive on Pathologies of Hope

Download file to see previous pages... The purpose of her essay is to convince her readers that hope is being marketed as a glorified cure-all for every trouble in contemporary society. She aims to destroy the myth that hope is the key to happiness. Ehrenreich argues that hope has negative effects and advocates a more realistic attitude towards life. Ehrenreich’s criticism of hope as a universal remedy for life is valid, but her stand may not be applicable to every individual.
Ehrenreich categorically declares, “I hate hope.” She regrets that the marketing of hope has become a major “self-improvement industry” in America, with self-help books, life-improvement coaches and motivational speakers establishing an increasing “Cult of Positivity.” Positive psychology takes on academic credentials with the emergence of courses in reputed college campuses. Ehrenreich concedes that the maintenance of an overtly positive attitude is all for the good of social interaction. However, she objects to the irrationality of clinging on to optimistic thinking, irrespective of the actual gravity of the situation. She equates such unwarranted hope as being out of touch with reality. She criticizes the pressure to hold on to a positive attitude “whether or not it is justified by the actual circumstances” (Ehrenreich). Ehrenreich points out that even the academically credentialed positive psychologists admit that “a healthy dose of negative thinking” is necessary in some situations, such as piloting an airplane. They also concedes that their rules do not apply to people living under extreme conditions of stress, such as poverty of war. Ehrenreich extends these examples to other instances, such as car driving and child rearing. She disputes the validity of studies which claim to prove “the health-enhancing effects of positivity” and its contribution to happiness or success at the workplace. She points out that the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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