The biggest problem that I have seen with the New Age movement has been their belief that everything that happens to people is their doing. This is a belief that one may develop if he has lived all his life in a protected environment. However the 500,000 Americans who died during the Second World War do not have the luxury of such beliefs. When I talk about such things as the Holocaust, the usual response is that the Jews had a victim consciousness. When I talk about the atrocities against the gypsies, the usual response is that they did not follow the rules of the societies in which they lived. However the 500,000 Americans and the 20 million Russians who died in that war did not suffer from either problem. Now it is all fine and good to encourage such things as responsible choices. It is in no way fine and good to do away with compassion and principle. People's attitudes have all sorts of impact upon their lives, but they are in no way the only factor. There is a claim by many in the New Age that they are making people better. In many ways they are in fact making them worse. They are teaching people to have no ethics or compassion. And that is a terrible wrong to inflict upon humanity. Most of these people started out from a similar position as did I. They saw what was wrong with the world. They tried to improve things; they were met with a greater force; at which point they became totally selfish and made a religion of the self. I am determined not to repeat their errors. I am determined to leave the world a better place than I have found it rather than a worse place than I have found it. And so far, the baby boomers are derided both by their parents and their children for leaving the world a worse place than they have found it. At this point I will be accused of such things as being negative. My response to that is that for a problem to be solved it has to be seen; and if that means being negative then being negative is a part of the process. Sometimes you have to be negative. In Japan, where such ideas are commonplace, and people believe such things as that you get what you send out, people are not allowed to say or even to think anything negative. That does not lead to enlightenment; it leads to suffocating insincerity. When a nuclear reactor blows up you have to tell people what has actually happened. Doing anything else is not enlightenment; it is lying. Being negative can very well spoil your mood. But leaving the world in a worse shape than you have found it is a far more real and far more lasting form of damage. You can say as much as you want to that I am being negative. I do not care. Real problems require real solutions; and “positive thinking” or anything of the sort does not begin to accomplish such a thing. It is not my interest to either think positive or to think negative. It is my interest to think for real. Neither positive thinking nor negative thinking begins to be adequate for confronting the tasks with which we are being faced. A positive thinker would say that focusing on such things is being negative or not taking responsibility. A negative thinker would say that these problems are beyond our capacity to solve. Both will be dead wrong. The real solutions come from facing the problems squarely and honestly. They do not come from acting like a grade school coach. They do not come from thinking positive. They come from thinking for real. I am not at all concerned as to whether I am feeling positive or negative. I am concerned about what world we are leaving behind for our children. If recognizing such things is being negative, then once again, being negative is a part of the process. Once again, I do not advocate negative thinking either. Negative thinking can be deluded as well. A negative thinker would see anything good as yet another, sneakier attempt to do evil. I dealt with a number of such people, and I have come away with the conclusion that they are as full of crap as the people who think positive. They think that they are smarter; they are not. Critical thinking is a value; negative thinking is not a value. But neither, again, is positive thinking. Thinking should not be based on the mood in which one finds himself. Thinking should not be either positive or negative. Thinking should be real thinking. Now maybe being positive can “win friends and influence people” if you are a businessman or a salesman; but in science or engineering or policy it does not begin to work. In all such cases, you cannot afford to think positive. You have to think analytically. You have to think things through, and you have to anticipate problems. A scientist or an engineer who thinks positive will design equipment that will blow up on use. The solution with which these people came up – positive thinking – is completely wrong. Positive thinking will not solve global warming. Positive thinking will not solve the gender war. Real thinking and real solutions will solve these and other problems with which we are faced. Does saying such things make me negative? No, it makes me concerned for the future of the world in which my daughter will be living. I am determined not to make the baby boomers' mistake. I am determined to leave the world in a better and not a worse shape than what I have found it. At which point there will be more, not less, for people to be actually positive about. The belief that people are responsible for everything that happens to them is outrageous. The 500,000 Americans who died in the Second World War were neither negative nor weak. They did what was required at the time. Most of them were far stronger people than anyone in the New Age movement. Nor were they in any way irresponsible. And it is a complete insult to these people to claim that they had created their reality. This kind of thinking does not create good people. Instead it creates scoundrels. It creates people who have no ethics or compassion. The people who went from 1960s idealists to New Agers did not become better; they became worse. They lost their compassion and ethics. Maybe some of them became successful; but then again so have many Mormons. If you have drive and intelligence, you stand a chance of succeeding in America whatever your beliefs happen to be. Now in Russia, a positive person is usually regarded as an airhead. I do not agree with that either; some of these people are airheads and some are not. Russians, despite their negativity, won the Second World War, put the first man in space, produced amazing literature and music, and for four decades credibly rivalled America for leadership of the world. Whereas there are all sorts of positive thinkers who ended up in hideous situations because they misjudged the characters of the people with whom they have chosen to share their lives. Yes, being positive can be appealing to other people. However being a neon balloon is not. As for the people whom these people see as negative thinkers, any number of them are more honest people than are they. Certainly not all of them; once again, negative thinking can be as deluded as positive thinking. And once again, neither begins to be adequate for solving the problems that we now face. What is? Actual thinking, and putting it into place. Put the country to work putting into place viable smart energy solutions. Encourage a large cross-cultural flux for intermarriage to bring together men who are willing to be good to women with women who are willing to be good to men. Do away with anti-artistic attitudes and create a cultural renaissance at the level of 1920s America or Renaissance Italy. Leave the world a better place than you have found it. At which point, once again, there will be more for people to be positive about. And that becomes the true definition of responsibility.