Thursday, November 5, 2009

Corollary conversation

After a career detour into the dark world of clinical psych, I'm back at doing what I love most--writing! No more meaningless Rorschachs! No more compassionless professors! Just words, words, words. And maybe some time for daydreaming and thoughtfulness.

So what's worth writing about now? Well, the recession seems to be a favorite topic, but after reading multiple articles and talking to multiple sources, it appears that no one has a good gauge of what exactly is going--not even a rudimentary understanding of whether things are getting better or worse. (OK, I admit the degree in psych has made me a bit more savvy about how little research goes into media claims about, well, anything.)

If there's one thing I've learned from literature, it's that the microcosm can be just as telling as the the macrocosm. So, there's no use focusing on imaginary statistics about employment and unemployment when our own lives can tell us more about what's working and what's not. For me, the job hunt has not been working well. Occasional doses of anti-depressants have. I've learned how to eat and live on $15 a day. I've also come to hate the Law of Attraction. And idiot notions of karma.

Now, let me preface this with a caveat that I believe wholeheartedly in being respectful towards any one's beliefs, no matter how much I disagree. But there's a place for discussion and clarification that I hope this post provides. And that discussion centers around the incorrect belief in corollaries.

That's right corollaries. Remember them from 10th-grade geometry? All squares are parallelograms. Does that mean all parallelograms are squares? (Hint: only if all vegetarians are Indian.)

What's this got to do with the Law of Attraction and idiot notions of karma in popular culture? A lot. We like to belief in a just world, so we go along telling people that there circumstances are a result of either their thoughts or their past karma (this life or past ones). But that's simply an incorrect corollary to a valid truth: Your approach (thoughts and actions) to your present circumstances CAN change your future circumstances. However, that does not mean that the corollary--that your present circumstances are the result of your past thoughts/actions--is true in the slightest.

In the epic words of Hugh Laurie (yes, I'm quoting from House), "You get what you get."

Now what?