The deep challenge to positive psychology: war

Can and does positive psychology help us with the tragic and terrible events in life?

Positive psychologists focus on the positive and they raise two issues in mind:

  • How much use is positive psychology when life if really dreadful?
  • And aren’t we being rather patronizing to people in the midst of tragedy and despair?

I wonder what other positive psychologists would say.

Look at tragedy & despair squarely but not necessarily in the eye

I would say that we need to look at tragedy and despair squarely but not necessarily in the eye.

Be worldly

To use the analogy of wild animals, some animals become more aggressive if we stare them in the eye, but most will attack if we lose eye contact!  Worldliness is important and we need to understand the menace that faces us.

Have compassion for yourself and your journey

But there is a season for everything, and to continue the analogy, whatever drew us to the bush in the first place, has brought us to this predicament. We need to understand our predicament, and even appreciate it, within the context of our wider lives, within the journey that brought us to this place and will take us on to other places.

Poetry in dark times

It is so much more easily said than done.

In dark times, we value our poets as much if not more than we do in bright times. They mirror what we are feeling – our despair and fear – against a backdrop of our hopes and dreams.

Poetry from Zimbabwe in the dark days after the 2008 election

This poem is from Zimbabwe which you may know is in deep peril as they wait for long delayed election results to be announced. April has been a long month of waiting for them.

The poet is Comrade Fatso, a local musician, who has his own website and blog. I don’t have his permission to use his poem here. I hope he doesn’t mind. I hope, too, you visit his blog and leave a kind word. Or go to his website and listen to his music (it is for sale!)

Street fillers

The streets are empty.

The state has retreated.

So has the opposition.

All we are left with

are their torn posters,

pasted over each other

in a confusing collage of symbols and slogans.

We also have their space-fillers.

Riot police

aimlessly

walk the streets,

batons in belts

like forgotten cellphones.

Or sometimes

unconsciously

swung in the air

like a stick-picked-up-on-a-path.

They walk the streets

like the thousands

of unemployed H-town youths.

Space-fillers.

Like the pothole-filling youths

who have taken over the suburban streets.

Stopping traffic,

asking for donations,

filling potholes.

Unhindered.


The state has gone back to the drawing board.

The opposition has stayed away from its stay-away.

Its re-count and re-plan time.

And all we have are their space-fillers.

Zimbabwe: a parable of leadership

Yellow paint defaces Zanu-PF posters of Robert...

“Rumour rhymes with ‘ruma’, Shona for bite. Harare has literally been bitten by rumours. Our city is famed for many things but one thing specifically. The ability to turn no news into headlines. The skill of spinning no knowledge into street wisdom. The hustle of selling unconfirmed stories on a hungry parallel market. Our only non-state daily newspaper was bombed so the people’s paper is the people’s stories, nyayas that circulate like a whisper at a bottle store. Mugabe has fled to Malaysia. Morgan has 68% of the presidential vote. Mujuru has lost her seat. Morgan’s win is being broadcast live on TV. A people starved of truth begin to manufacture their own. So truths roam Harare like street kids, tapping your window at every robot. Like an undelivered text message notification ringing on your phone. Constantly.

But just minutes ago some rumours may have become reality. Our hopes may be backed up by facts. When Morgan held his press conference at the Meikles Hotel he told us that after years of struggle we have a new challenge – that of governance. The need to start to restructure and stabilize our country. MDC believe they have clinched victory. Morgan has never appeared so joyous. Once again the rumours begin to bite. MDC is said to be in talks with the armed forces and ZANU about negotiating a hand over of power. Morgan denies the rumours. So, many things are in the air. Hope and rumours. And once again the joy and the certainty of the press conference need to get out into the townships. The people need to taste the joy of a dream becoming reality. They need to be ready to defend their victorious dreams. Otherwise tomorrow will just be another day of spoken headlines and hustled truths.”

For the source.

UPDATE: Comrade Fatso has a new site.

PS Zemantra found the picture on Flickr.  I haven’t asked the photographer’s permission because I can’t find the contact link in Flickr.  I hearby ask your permission and endorsement.  Please let me know if you object.  Many thanks.

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