Calling Out: Glenn Geher & Psychologytoday

Liliyan Hassan Call-out Leave a Comment

I am trying the best I can to understand the topic at hand but to no avail…. which is why I will blame my lack of understanding on sexism itself. The topic is “counterfactuals” and the author of the article in question (yes, the article is in question and not my lack of understanding of it) is Professor Glenn Geher and the article is entitled The Psychology of “What If” and I assume that this “what if” is not one related to imagination but is related to facts not being so without that being related to imagination or deliberate lies. Again, the article is talking about “counterfactuals” and I have made several attempts to get my head wrapped around that idea to no avail due to the fact that it truly is not an idea that is respectful of facts and their nature.

Glenn offers some examples in counterfactuals as he gives us two types of counterfactuals: upwards and downwards. Upwards counterfactuals–according to resources and the article at hand—is when we look at the past and we see how “if we had only done this instead of that” our lives would be better today. Yet, there is no counterfactual in our lives because the fact is that our lives should not be destroyed as a matter of fact as we grow older. What is more counterfactual: a statement noting how your life has went to shit or your life being crap today? The latter is the thing that is counterfactual. To have lost everything in the world and for one to say, “if only I did x, y, or z instead” well, that is fact as hell when it can only go up from there. And the truth be told that this is not a depressing thing to realize but it is a good thing to realize since such low point is one that truly is a falsehood and not the person themselves. And such thing not only speaks more about the condition of the world but every single so-called “counterfactual” statement made is one that makes a great reason and excuse in order to show how one pity move is the difference between your amazing lives that you are proud to have and total destruction. Hence, in this case, I would like to say that “pity” has already been made out of actual facts and that this is not an illogical conclusion but a thing that people have lived as if it is the truth where their “truths” have left you stuck in a ditch. How many people in our world today are living on the edge of a counterfactual? Many have a life that is counterfactual in the making.

The second type of counterfactual is downwards counterfactual where one looks at the past as to be glade to have made the choices they did…. again, this could be due to some living on the edge of a counterfactual (edge of uncertainty). And so I find this type of counterfactual to be hard to understand as well given that one is not allowed to make a counterfactual out of feelings when the facts point to the fact that many other much negative possibilities could have happened instead. Look at the negative possibilities themselves and call them counter-factual as much as you like instead of looking at me for being a bit too glade to have escaped them for once. And uplifted to the air as to remain in the heavens is not a thing one needs to worry about much in our world as people are quick to meet something that will try to bring them down in short time. Not only that, but such “counterfactuals” are not comparative of the past per se more than they are comparative to actual possibilities that a person can just choose to do right this moment. Meaning: I am glade that I have moved to CA where otherwise I would be homeless. Go be homeless and make a fact out of it if you would like–who the hell will stop you? Yet, what is counterfactual is saying that you have moved to CA and you are homeless today when you make 100,000 dollars salary as that is not in regards to facts as others understand them to be but it is in regards to maybe a “principle?” that a person may have as that “principle?” includes a should-be-counter-factual called “homelessness”. Problems create counterfactuals and within the rounds of truth, counterfactuals truly would be a thing of healthy imagination and not a nightmare that can drag your ass to becoming an insane person who is out of touch with reality. For what are we here for? Sure as hell I do not have the answers because even if I do, I am not here to have the answers. Meaning: life is not about that. Life does not require one to be placed in it as to get thrown off of the bus if they were to have a bit of “wishful” thinking. Sorry lord almighty that I have thought that my life would be better if I merely remained in CA! I have sinned and I know that I have because since the day I sat down and had the thought that said, “I should have stayed in CA” I have not been feeling well mentally! And sorry dear universe for having the audacity to measure your standings in a manner that is not perfect enough for me to have just breathed them in as to accept them as matter-of-fact before I move on with my stupid life!

As Professor Glenn speaks to us about the benefits of such kinds of thinking saying, “Upward counter-factual thinking can have some benefits. If you didn’t study for an exam and then you bombed it, you may well think about this fact the next time that you have an exam scheduled. And this all may well motivate you to study effectively next time.” Anxiety is not a joke, however…and neither is failure to perform well when those things are meant to be “foretelling”. Are exams not graded as to be part of your final grade as it “foretells” in regards to your future? No good on that example.

Glenn also tells us that “Various studies have found that downward counter-factual thinking tends to be more associated with psychological health compared with upward counter-factual thinking (see McMullen & Markham, 2000). In cases in which downward counter-factual thinking leads to negative feelings, people are motivated to take productive actions. And when downward counter-factual thinking leads to positive emotions, people feel a degree of life satisfaction. So looking back is not all bad.” Hence, what is being said here is that “how you look at the past is important” where the feelings that one has is what makes moving on to be a productive thing or not. Yet, when it is understood what it is that people want, it is understood. Meaning: for 1000’s of years men have abused women…it is understood what it is that men want.

Glenn precedes by telling us about the “one direction” of the past as, “Rumination is a hallmark sign of depression (see Keller & Nesse, 2006). In the context of counter-factual thinking, rumination can be thought of as the large-scale and constant employment of upward counter-factual thinking in one’s psychological life. When such thinking, characterized by an “I really messed up” mentality, comes to permeate one’s daily psychology, negativity follows.” I do not think so, however. Not one bit. Not even a tiny bit at all. Such thing is not going to excuse the real counter-factual in life….the real counter-factual in life are truly religion, culture, and traditions upon which “I really messed up yesterday” is made into an ideology that one needs to get themselves together to get on board with lest we die. And yes: I cannot find any other counter-factual other than culture and traditions and organized religions as they truly have made a thing out of the past and its depressive nature as to have us programmed by it in a fashion that is so violating, it is sickening. “…rumination can be thought of as the large-scale and constant employment of upward counter-factual thinking in one’s psychological life.“—and I just need to puke in order to tell you that if I was to take that puke and place it in my brain, I would be better off. And when such is the sad-truth in regards to ideologies imposed against us, I say that I am speechless as no words exist to proceed from that point forwards…not even the word “rumination” as one has had plenty of time to ruminate to a point where it has become a reality of hell past that which is psychologically contemplative as to totally and in full deprive men from the right to contemplate it which is  a thing proven by acts of rage and violence that have terrorized our lives and kept us unnecessarily in harms ways.

In conclusion, I have no idea what a counter-factual is but the only thing close to being a counterfactual are just religions, cultures, and traditions. Let us take a look back in time and OMG here it is today… and as a matter of fact, counterfactuals are a fact called dullness itself. Your life, my life, his life, and her life: where, however? I see a block of dead meat and I do not want to slice it at all which is why when blood in it runs all over the place it shall not be a frightening sight.

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