Dr. Barbara Ehrenreich interview – “Bright-Sided” – #053


Released November 22, 2009.
What are the negative consequences of "positive thinking"? Is positive thinking a good thing, or does it have the potential to be used as a tool for mind control and manipulation? Is positive thinking responsible for the financial meltdown? Who really gets rich from the positive thinking movement? Does the human mind have the ability to directly manifest thoughts into reality? What is the difference between positive thinking and critical thinking?

Today's guest is Dr. Barbara Erhenreich who is the author of more than a dozen books, including Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. Today she'll be on to discuss her latest book Bright-Sided, How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America.

Website: www.barbaraehrenreich.com

Order Bright-Sided:






  17 comments for “Dr. Barbara Ehrenreich interview – “Bright-Sided” – #053

  1. May 17, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Always happy to hear Barbara is still in the game and still setting the record straight. I was fortunate enough to meet her briefly in Atlanta around 2005 I believe it was.

    Enjoyed the podcast, hope she will continue to research some of the points Jan brought up regarding Theosophy, Blavatsky, and of course the Federal Reserve. She is a fantastic investigator and author and I would love to see her intersect with more of the emerging intellectual avante garde here as they lay the foundation for reclamation of cognitive liberty on all fronts, namely those associated with this podcast and their affiliated partners.

    Perhaps a follow up interview with Barbara once she has become familiar with the channels of information you shared with her.

    Thanks again for putting out some of the best media on the net for reconsideration of our collective dilemas.

    You are an excellent teacher and student and I’m thankful that you have stuck to your path in spite of great challenge and travail.

    • Jan Irvin
      May 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you, though this show was released 2.5 years ago! This is a re-release from the archives.

  2. Ben Steigmann
    May 17, 2012 at 3:00 am

    It seems that there might be actual spiritual power that comes from going through what is, rather than living in a delusional periphery. You might like the following: http://www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/the-first-and-last-freedom/1953-00-00-jiddu-krishnamurti-the-first-and-last-freedom-introduction

    • Jan Irvin
      May 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Ben, check out the trivium material and also David Harriman under the trivium study link on the left: http://www.gnosticmedia.com/david-harriman-interview-the-philosophic-corruption-of-physics-and-the-logical-leap-111/

      It’s beautiful to speculate about, but the onus of proof is on the individual. When you get into the trivium and Qabalah material I sent, a much more plausible explanation is there.

      • Ben Steigmann
        May 20, 2012 at 2:06 am

        Remember nutrition also. We talk of body, mind, and spirit. Most of us don’t even have coherent bodies (due to poisons being substituted for food), and don’t have coherent minds (due to suppression of the trivium in education), so how can spirit arise if the other two are not dealt with? In this way, I appreciate the work you have done with people of the Weston Price mindset – the information in his text “Nutrition an Physical Degeneration” is essential.

        I have only listened to part of the David Harriman interview, but having listened to some of your other material, my guess is that it takes issue with the solipsistic implications of the Copenhagen Interpretation. David Bohm, who I mentioned to you, rejected the Copenhagen interpretation, and offered what he called the ontological interpretation, which was based on the fact that physics was non-local, and dealt with the underlying source behind reality, from which he postulated form “unfolded”. He termed this the implicate order and explicate order, respectively. A commenter on a video combining Bohm’s concepts with Roger Penrose’s argument that consciousness is a product of Quantum computation, who is also a Kabbalist, noted: “The Implicate Order and Explicate Order are then the planes of Yetzirah and Assiah!”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAjC81MUe_I

        I do not have the technical knowledge to deal with the physics (which is put forth in Bohm’s “Wholeness and the Implicate Order” and “Undivided Universe”), but a philosophical overview is provided in the text “The Essential David Bohm”: http://www.scribd.com/doc/87513412/The-Essential-David-Bohm

        I believe a combination of Bohm, Sheldrake, and Krishnamurti provide a Quabalah of the future that is stripped of religious idiocy.

        I have further shown how this complements what I put forth above in a 5 step deduction on my facebook page.

  3. Karen E. Hetherington
    May 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I really enjoyed this interview. Barbara Enhenriech always gets down to the nitty gritty and tells it like it is. I heard someone talking about the globalist, occultists and their knowledge of psychology. The speaker said they know that most people will first blame themselves when something bad hapens in their lives; probably a result of this positive-thinking mind programming.

    The myth of American Exceptionalism has been played out. Positive thinking is its child. This idea that we as a people can defeat anything as long as we visualize has never worked for me. Thank you for exposing yet another logical fallacy.

  4. May 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

    This is really interesting, especially the implications of this as a way to gloss over a truth that may not be so sunny.

    I can’t help feeling, though, that when she talked about her experience with cancer, it left the impression that she was saying that it’s something that happens regardless of what your mental/emotional state is. I think that a distinction needs to be made that positive thinking does not make things so. However when it comes to disease states, such as cancer, if someone is living with prolonged stress (eg. emotional or mental duress as well as not eating right, pushing your body too hard, etc), this very well can create the physiological conditions in which a disease such as cancer can develop, via elevated stress hormones, prolonged inflammation, suppressed metabolism, and finally the cells themselves.

    I can’t remember the name, but there is a German scientist that has been researching a phenomenon in which people have developed cancer after experiencing some sort of tragedy in their lives.

    Can we reverse cancer by thinking pretty thoughts? If only it were that easy. However, it is more realistic that reducing stress by doing whatever you can to manage your mental and emotional state can make a difference in which direction things go when it comes to your health.

    I just don’t want people to come away from this thinking they are helpless and that Cancer just “happens” to them randomly. We actually have more of a say about what happens within our bodies than the pharmaceutical industry and conventional medicine would like us to believe.

    • Thomas Dean
      June 11, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Do you mean Dr. Hamer ? I read a book in French La Médicine Sens Dessus Dessous about him. But I didn’t really buy it. I heard about it from a group here in Québec with which I wouldn’t anymore associate, Personacratia.

  5. Marcus
    May 19, 2012 at 4:16 am

    If you are rational and have some basic knowledge then positive thinking can be powerful. If you are irrational and pathetic(controlled by emotions) then positive thinking is only benefiting the one selling what supposed to make you happy.

    What to do with irrational and pathetic people that’s the question. Make money of them? 😀

    • Jan Irvin
      May 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      If you’re “rational” – you’re not just a positive thinker… that’s contradictory. It’s about CRITICAL THINKING, which positive thinkers automatically dismiss. Irrational people, such as those who would take advantage of others who are lesser educated, should be dealt with under natural law. Your suggestion is IRRATIONAL, so what to do with you?

      My suggestion, give people the tools to raise them up so that they’re no longer irrational.

  6. Gintas Kamaitis
    May 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm


    Thank you for re-posting this podcast. I have been through the positive thinking mill over many years. I am by nature an optimist, but my biggest failures/setbacks in life were because of my unbridled ‘positive’ thinking. As a result I have seriously questioned positive thinking for sometime, but until I started applying the Trivium I would argue in my own mind and at some point the blame would land back in my lap for not being sufficiently positive. By using and applying the Trivium I was able to conclude that, based on my observations, a balanced approach where we do not arbitrarily exclude possibilities, but are unafraid to look at the obstacles and negatives in our way is a better and healthier approach.

    I have discussed this with a number of people and have used the following story to illustrate my point. The scene is 1930 Germany and there are three Jewish families, the father of one is a pessimist, the father of one is optimist, and the father of the third is a critical thinker. After constantly hearing the clamoring of the Brown shirts and the rising tide of Antisemitism, the family asks the father what should they do. I can easily visualize the following scenarios:
    1) the negative father says, yes I agree it is bad but there is nothing we can do if we leave we will lose all of our wealth and we will have to live like beggars. We can’t do anything about this.
    2) the positive thinking optimist says look lets not think about all this negative stuff, because thinking about it will bring it on. Lets think good thoughts and our positive energy will keep any harm from coming to us.
    3) The critical thinking father says look I don’t know about this but I will look into it, and I will look into what options we have. I know if we leave we will lose a lot, but I have a cousin in America. I will contact him to see how things are there, maybe if I cash out our savings and investments, he could invest them for us in America, I will also look into getting all our paper work ready and getting open tickets on a ship to America. Lets watch to see what is happening and if these Nazi’s get into power we will seriously think about leaving.

    Which family probably avoided going through the Holocaust?

  7. Clem
    May 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Positive thinking is a must, everyone must delude themselves into believing that life is fantastic, or they realize that it is nothing more than a dumb game where 
    suffering can far outweigh pleasure and the prize at the end of all  the  BS is death.  Makes one wonder if life really is a gift or an imposition?  See I better stop reading Schopenhauer and start reading  Deepak Chopra :-)

  8. Jeff Morgan
    September 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm


    Dr. Barbara Ehrenreich has misrepresented the work of Napoleon HIll. Many readers may have misinterpreted the book, however there is no implication or suggestion that thought alone(without physical efforts) would bring anyone his desires in some sort of psychic home delivery.

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