Change the world or just how you approach it

I was reading John Rosemond's column today ( and I was struck immediately that he talked about Humanism. Granted, he did so in a negative way.  He was talking about a quote from Norman Vincent Peale, "Change your thinking, and you change your world." And he rightly pointed out that, well, that's impossible. It's magical thinking. And then, he accused Humanists of engaging in just such magic thinking by saying, " A change of thinking doesn’t change THE world, and I’m reasonably certain that he (Peale) wasn’t a humanist, so he really didn’t believe in the idea that each of us constructs our own, equally valid, reality. "

As a Humanist, I just want to say that I don't think any Humanist thinks we construct our own equally valid reality.  We don't.  Reality is external to us. How we perceive reality though, is something we do seem to control. And in this matter, I think I agree with Rosemond when he rewrites the Peale quote to say, "If you change your thinking, your entire worldview changes.”

And yes, a change in worldview can be an incredibly powerful thing. For instance if you believe you can choose your actions, you will actively choose your actions. If you don't, you won't.  For a Humanist this is central because, while we know we can't magically wish our way out of problems, we do believe we can do something constructive to solve our problems by making better decisions through rational thinking and by taking constructive action.

Here is the Humanist perspective on this matter. If you want to change your reality, just thinking differently isn't enough. You have to actually act differently too if you expect to create different outcomes for yourself.

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