Monday, November 30, 2009

A Little More Delusional Optimism

Excerpted from "Quantum Psychology" Chapter 7 - Taking the Mystery out of "Miracles" by Robert Anton Wilson:

According to Brain/Mind Bulletin (May 1988) John Barefoot of Duke University has found a negative correlation between suspiciousness and longevity. In a sample of 500 older men and women whose health he monitored for 15 years, Barefoot discovered that:

(a) those who scored high on suspiciousness, cynicism and hostility died sooner than all others;
(b) this high mortality remained constant when compared by age, by sex, by previous health, by diet and even by "bad habits." [Those who smoked and remained generally optimistic lived longer than those who smoked and worried about it.]
(c) those who scored highest on hostility had a death rate more than six times higher than others.

In a related study (Brain/Mind Bulletin August 1988) Shelley Taylor of UCLA and Jonathon Brown of SMU refuted the conventional idea that those who score high on "mental health" generally have a fewer number of illusory beliefs. Among the most common illusions of the mentally healthy:

(a) overly positive views of themselves;
(b) convenient "forgetting" of negative facts about themselves;
(c) illusory beliefs about having more control than they do have;
(d) "unrealistic" optimism about themselves;
(e) "unrealistic" optimism about the future in general;
(f) "abnormal" cheerfulness.


Kinda puts a different spin on what might be viewed as mental health; this might be called Survival Emotional/Mental Health.


"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude." - William James; 19th century pioneer of psychology.


Anonymous said...

I can't emphasize enough: this short little list of CHARACTERISTICS of the Long-term Survivor/Thriver is really ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW in order to get through this life.

(Well, that -- and how to love and be loved.)

m - shark

el poquito said...

it's powerful stuff, amigo. And it's not wasted on me that you are the lone comment here. You're a unique one, and I'll always be indebted to your helping me put my feet firmly on a purposefully delusional path!

Forward, my brother!