Like much of life, I’m afraid…
THIS is the true meaning of Negative Psychology, my friends. Melancholia and Futility.
Don’t be fooled by false idols claiming that followers of “Negative Psychology” are all bullies out to destroy others’ reputations, with public shaming as their primary motivation.
And in fact, sometimes it’s positive to be negative — as Dr. Margaret Nichols, a clinical psychologist, explains:
I acknowledge that for many endeavors, having a positive and confident attitude increases the odds of your success. But as a total life strategy – it’s got some major flaws. For starters, unless you’re unusually lucky, as you go through life you will encounter numerous situations where good is NOT rewarded, evil goes unpunished, and bad shit happens to you that you can’t control, and it happens for no particular reason, let alone a good one.
And positive thinking can get you in trouble here. For the entire ‘positive thinking’ philosophy rests on two flawed assumptions: That most of our life is under our control, if only we approach it correctly; and that things that we can’t control are at least governed by laws that are fair and just. In short, the principles of “visualize and you will attain it” and “what goes around comes around.”
…and when bad things happen, it’s all your fault!
Of course, this has nothing to do with academic psychology research or the social psychology replication movement. It’s simply that I didn’t agree with the co-opting of the term for use in the current “replication debate“. But I’m not a psychologist, and I’m operating outside this debate. I was actively trying to avoid the acrimony, in fact, because I found it depressing.
Finally, “public shaming” has never been my goal (assuming I was included among “a handful of other blogs devoted to exposing bad science”). For the record, I think shame is corrosive, which is laid bare in The Destructive Power of Shame.
But in the end, this blog post is futile, much like everything else I write.