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American Positive Thinking: A Painkiller with Side Effect (Essay Sample)


This is to extend the previous 4 pages essay, which I had edited a little bit, to 8 pages. I have downloaded the final version of the previous essay, please use the additional sources I provided to extend it to 8 pages. You can add other resources if they match the subject. I need to have this essay by Monday Dec 9 afternoon max. Thank you

Shahram (Sean) Gandomchin
Instructor: Professor Kurz
Subject: Page 541:#3
Date: 11/21/2013
American Positive Thinking: A Painkiller with Side Effect
The two essays, “Bright-Sided” by Barbara Ehrenreich and “The More Factor” by Laurence Shames examine the shallowness of the American culture of optimism and insatiable hunger for material success. While Ehrenreich attacks the “positive thinking” ideology that persuades individuals that everything will turn out right if they think positively and work hard, Shames cautions the American society against the belief that America is the land of plenty where there is enough for everyone. However, reviewing the whole of the two essays conveys the message that America is undoing her exaggeration of the possibilities and potential for material success, which currently makes her blind to the possibilities of misfortune and unpredictable negative outcomes.
Barbara Ehrenreich focuses on the American folly of believing that everything is possible with positive thinking. Positive thinking supposedly not only makes people feel optimistic, but actually makes happy outcomes more likely. This attitude is a major factor in the American Dream, which Shames argues fuels the hunger for more just like a side effect. Ehrenreich observes that many psychologists offer a rational explanation that “optimism improves health, personal efficacy, confidence, and resilience, making it easier for us to accomplish our goals” (Ehrenreich 535). These goals are nothing more than the collective drive for material wealth and social mobility.
However, Ehrenreich argues that the emphasis on positive thinking reflects America’s anxiety about the reality of things; life is not rosy. Specifically, Ehrenreich asks: “Why bother with the mental effort of positive thinking if the generic “positive thought” is correct and things are really getting better, progressing toward universal happiness and abundance?” (535). It is because, she argues, Americans are not fully convinced that things will actually get better on their own; they need to pump up this self-deceiving ideology through the practicing of positive thinking, despite there being much evidence to the contrary. The desire for more is perhaps an unconscious reflection of this awareness, hence the need to seek security in material possessions. People will feel more secure by amassing wealth.
Another argument raised by the author is that positive thinking is a self-gratifying notion informed by America’s pride of being the greatest nation on earth, which it is not considering that her citizens are not the happiest in the world. More realistically, positive thinking is an apology for the crueler aspects of America’s capitalist economy; greed and economic inequalities. It is the high-class society’s way of justifying their wealth and assuaging the guilt of having so much at ...
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