Smile! You've got cancer - the 'positive thinking' approach to health care

Smile! You've Got Cancer

The Tyranny of Positive Thinking


"...breast cancer is not a problem at all, not even an annoyance - it is a "gift", deserving of the most heartfelt gratitude... cancer is your ticket to your real life. Cancer is your passport to the life you were truly meant to live."

And if that is not enough to make you want to go out and get an injection of live cancer cells, she insists, "Cancer will lead you to God. Let me say that again. Cancer is your connection to the Divine."

Cancer is a disease PZ Myers Pharangula

"The poor woman has a metastisizing cancer that has spread to her bones and lungs, and Chopra is telling her that diet, prayer, and not thinking 'toxic' thoughts will lead to a cure! I don't know how that quack has avoided arrest."

"I got really depressed when people said I should think positive. I thought, "If that's what I have to do to survive, I'm never going to make it."
-John, a fifty-two-year-old man with melanoma

"People keep telling me to be upbeat. I say, "Screw you. I'll be however I please in dealing with this cancer I've never been upbeat in my life."
-Michael, a forty-five-year-old schoolteacher with recently diagnosed sarcoma

Positive Thinking By Patient Has No Impact On Surviving Cancer, Stu...

Smile Or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America And The World

Fighting Cancer With a Frown

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Replies to This Discussion

The link at the top is broken. Just wanted to let you know.
Thanks Leo. I've fixed it.
"Breast cancer, I can now report, did not make me prettier or stronger, more feminine or spiritual. What it gave me, if you want to call this a "gift", was a very personal, agonising encounter with an ideological force in American culture that I had not been aware of before – one that encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune and blame only ourselves for our fate."
...and this ideological force is probably just as hurtful as Christian ideology. One tells you that God is punishing you, another tells you things are your fault b/c of how you think. Both are meant to give an explanation for why life is unfair, but both end up further insulting hurt people.

(sidenote: the "law of attraction"--b/c it's related to forced-positive-thinking--tries to explain that life is fair by saying that people always get what they want. Another insulting statement: you have health problems b/c you actually want to be ill.)

It's a good article. This view of positive thinking is tyrannical b/c it amounts to thought control. A person can't just turn a switch to change their outlook, although they can try lying to themselves. Positive thinking may help a person have a less horrible time with illness, and that can be important, but both positive and negative thinking are important. I'm sure there have been people who have avoided talking about their real feelings b/c they were afraid they'd get a lecture on how they the cause of their illness.
The only positive thinking I would do if I had cancer, (and I had a cancer scare 2 years ago), is the belief that I will get better by going through the appropriate treatment.

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