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Positive Psychology

Date: 12-17-03
Host: George Noory
Guests: Dr. Paul Pearsall, Richard C. Hoagland

"Healing is not getting better, it's making yourself whole," said Dr. Paul Pearsall, an educational psychologist and author, who was the main guest on Wednesday's program. As an advocate for the new field of "positive psychology," Pearsall believes that people can thrive through the strength they gain experiencing suffering and adversity.

He feels the platitude-filled self help movement is detrimental to people's growth, and that there is a kind of "health terrorism," that tells people who are ill, that they must have a positive attitude if they want to get better. Through his research, Pearsall has concluded that such self-oriented techniques don't work for many people. Prayer can have a positive effect, he said, if it is directed to a higher power to work its will, rather than self-specific. Interestingly, he found in some situations actually "learning to give up" can be helpful, instead of wasting energy in a useless battle.

Pearsall, who lives and works in Hawaii, incorporates concepts from the Hawaiian language and culture into his work. He spoke of their notion of "flow," as their way of interacting with the world, as opposed to the mainland style which is based around the idea of self-determinism.

Future of US Space Missions

First hour guest, Richard Hoagland commented that the Bush administration has put out a trial balloon about future space missions such as returning to the Moon. He suggested that Bush could be contemplating making an announcement about space plans during his State of the Union address, since he didn't broach it during his Kitty Hawk speech earlier today. Hoagland feels it is critical for people to contact the White House and let them know the importance of not just further Moon exploration, but of launching manned missions to Mars.

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Bumper music from Wednesday December 17, 2003

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