Human Science

Life presents us with many challenges, some of which arise through negative circumstance. In particular, it can be quite difficult to remain positive when the social atmosphere is wanting -- e.g. if people around us are behaving in ways that are detrimental or even harmful. And yet those who are able to maintain the right outlook in these circumstances, who are immune to and do not participate in the negative social activity, gain an interesting power over life, as they tend to quickly attract positive conditions. Let me illustrate with a film I watched the other day.

In Dan in Real Life, Dan Burns is a newspaper advice columnist, a widower, and a father of three daughters in the New Jersey suburbs. One day Dan and his children take a trip to the Rhode Island home of his parents for their annual family get together. After they arrive at the large house, situated on a bluff overlooking the bay, Dan takes some time off and goes to a local bookstore. There he meets a woman named Marie who mistakes Dan for an employee. He then proceeds to gather up several books for her, and in the process, hits it off with her. Suddenly love blossoms.

When Dan arrives back at the house, he lets his family know that he has found a potentially very special person. They are thrilled to hear this since it has been three years since he lost his wife. However, a short while later, his brother’s new girl friend arrives on the scene, and it turns out to be none other than Marie! She too was on her way to the family get together when she met Dan at the bookstore.

There then begins a tense situation in which his brother and Marie are somewhat romantically interacting at the home, even as Dan is now has fallen in love with her. After several days, the situation becomes unbearable for both. Because he appears so miserable, Dan’s mother suggests that he call up a local girl on a blind date and ask her to come to the gathering. When the rest of the group learns that she is coming, they recall that she was a physically unattractive young girl, and so they begin mocking her for being an ugly duckling. At one point, they go as far as to launch into a rollicking, impromptu sing-along in which poke fun of "miss piggy face.” All except Dan, that is.

A few minutes later, so-called “piggy face” arrives at the house, and shockingly turns out to be a beautiful woman. Immediately, Dan and her are physically attracted to one another. As a result, Marie becomes very jealous, which has the further effect of turning the emerging, partial love she felt for Dan into a full-blown blossoming of her emotions. This in turn compels her to truly seek out the relationship with him, once she breaks off with his brother. In the end, Dan and Marie fall deeply love and are blissfully married.

The moral of the story? Because Dan did not give into and participate in the mocking sing-along of his soon to be arriving date “piggy face,” he attracted instead a beautiful woman. Furthermore, her arrival compelled Marie, the woman he loved, to commit to a relationship, which culminated in their marriage. That is the power of remaining positive in a negative situation -- in this case, in the face of social pressure to act falsely. The effect is that this person, the exception in the crowd, is propelled to the heights through complete emotional fulfillment. When we follow our own positive instincts and do not give into the social imperative of the herd, we release positive energies that attract the very best of conditions. In that way, we develop "true individuality," which tends to lure the infinite potentials of life in our direction.

--Roy Posner 14:48, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

See also other Case Studies on Life Response

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