Created on Saturday, 07 June 2014 15:17
Written by Marian Moore


Marian @ Krysan


Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham



One's own self is well hidden from one's own self: of all mines of treasure, one's own is the last to be dug up. ~ NIETZCHE


Human Beings Concealed as Flowers 


Dan Gilbert (and other notables)

comment on the phenomenon of seeing ourselves as



Key Words  

Psychology | illusion | positivity | thriving | wellbeing | quantifiable | cynicism | survival | altruism | kindness | hope | Quakerism | peace | miracle | agenda | change | austerity 


The psychology of your future self

Dan Gilbert kindly shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls 'the end of history illusion'. This is where we human beings somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we'll be for the rest of time. That's definitely not the case. Should you wish to pursue this idea further, simply click on the link below for a short TED(1) talk on 'the psychology of your future self': 

But, to move on ... 

When my small business, Krysan for Wellbeing, was nothing more than a twinkle in my eye, neither I - nor anyone else - could have predicted how dramatically things would change in just six years. Positive Psychology(2) - the overarching concept upon which the enterprise is built - has become accepted at both home and abroad. 

Nothing stands still.

Positive Psychology/wellbeing/happiness (call it what you will) is 'an idea whose time has come' and strategies around 'positivity and thriving' now enhance the lived-experience of enlightened beings everywhere. Through them, entire nations are beginning to accept the idea that human wellbeing is measurable and quantifiable.  Research and data are abundant. As are books and blogs!

I am quite aware that the cynics (calling themselves 'realists') are saying that it's nothing new - we've been here before. They continue to make the usual comments re the Nature of Man as being war-like, competitive, and self-centred. They proceed to tread the usual tired path of nihalism, giving examples of wars, terrors and atrocities (past and present) to make their case.  

Sadly, this negative stance will cause some already disheartened souls to bury their heads even further in the sand.  Give up.  No future.  It's all in the genes.  Powerless.  Too hard.  

The Positive Psychology strategies I used when the chips were down were sadly not available to my own father in his hour of greatest need, but always remember they are there for you. Look around. Better still, ask around.  Nothing that was ever done to us has to define who we are. We define ourselves. Moment by moment. Shakespeare himself said: There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Here's a poem that someone, a total stranger, slipped into my hand as a random act of kindness in September 2001. This was on the day I anxiously presented myself (for approval) to the Patients' Circle at Cherry Knowle Hospital in Sunderland. Jean, I thank you on behalf of me (and mine) and also on behalf of all the other people you have helped as a PALS officer in Gateshead and as a compassionate human being, this over many years.

I will never forget.  Thanks to you.  I stayed.  The rest is history.  And, I now pass your random act of kindness on to others who happen by this website, the hope being that they too will read and profit:



Survival of the fittest or survival of the kindest?  

Since the dawn of time human beings have contemplated the mysteries of altruism - but it was Darwin who posed the question most starkly. From the selfless ant to the stinging bee to the man laying down his life for a stranger, evolution has yielded a goodness that in theory should never exist.  Please read and inwardly digest this last message from another sad and lonely man who paid the ultimate price:

'And today more than ever in a world torn by strife and dissent, the crying need is for a real demonstration of love. You see, love would pour the oil of quietness upon the troubled waters of human relationships, heal the ugly wounds of strife and contention, and bring together those separated by hatred, jealousy and selfishness.  No wonder the apostle concludes the tremendous 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians by emphasising that of all the gifts of the Spirit, including faith and hope, the greatest is love.'  The Price of Altruism (2010)

As a gift to humankind and as an encouragement to all agents of change, reproduced below is E. B. White’s Beautiful Letter to a Man Who Had Lost Faith in Humanity ...

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness. Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly.

It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbour seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.


E. B. White(3)

On behalf of the ancestors

It was in the peacefully serene setting of a Society of Friends' Meeting House on an OL4C(4) training day in Birmingham (England) only last week that I chanced upon the following greats of Quakerism(5) -

It must be said that all were (and still are) much celebrated in history books as agents of change, people of their time who were ready, willing, and able to defy convention to support a cause in which they passionately believed.  Whether that was (a) a call to form a religious movement: George Fox, (b) a call to invest in a new American State: William Penn, or (c) a call to become a prison reformer: Elizabeth Fry - all demonstrated altruism, that is, kindness above and beyond the call of duty.

Someone else who speaks on behalf of the ancestors, but a man very much of our time, is Thich Nhat Hanh(6).  It was Thich who wrote these beautiful words of poetry to remind us to live in the present moment, recognise peace is every step, and turn the endless path to joy:

'People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognise: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes.  All is a miracle.' ~  THICH NHAT HANH

And, finally ...

'As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate.'  That I and other older people from around the country are in a good position (and in good shape) to debate the issues of the day (at length and together) gives me hope for the gradual framing of an agenda for positive change in relation to older people. That said, I can now safely bring this blog to a conclusion by saying most definitely:



Soon, I will take time out to read and comment on Mary O'Hara's recently-launched book, Austerity Bites(8). Mary is both a valued friend and a respected colleague. I am already aware of an extensive research programme which has taken her to far-flung corners of the realm to reveal the pitiful state of existence for so many British people - young and old.  Mary's book is not called Austerity Bites for nothing. So, look out for SPARKS!  

See you next time.




(1) TED is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan "ideas worth spreading". TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event. The annual conference began in 1990, in Monterey, California. Wikipedia

(2) Positive Psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose is to use scientific understanding and effective interventions to aid a satisfactory return to normal life, rather than merely treating mental illness.  Worked for me!

(3) Elwin Brooks White (E. B. White) was a leading American essayist, author, humorist, poet and literary stylist and author of such beloved children's classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan.  He authored over seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1973.

(4) Older Leaders for Change (OL4C) is for all those individuals of a certain age and disposition who aspire to live with passion and purpose and have an earnest desire to become all they can become. Older people with diverse experiences in mental health problems lead the work. 

(5) Quakers are members of a group with Christian roots that began in England in the 1650s. The formal title of the movement is the Society of Friends or the Religious Society of Friends. Quakers believe that there is something of God in everybody and that each human being is of unique worth. This is why Quakers value all people equally, and oppose anything that may harm or threaten them.

(6) THICH NHAT HANH is a Zen Master and a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered throughout the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings.

(7) NDTi is the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), a not-for-profit organisation which works to promote inclusive lives for people who are most at risk of exclusion and who may need support to lead a full life. NDTi exists to make change happen - change that leads to people having better lives.  

(8) Austerity Bites is a new book by social commentator, Mary O'Hara. "Mary O'Hara’s mission is to give voice to those experiencing hardship or injustice who are rarely heard. She travelled the UK for a year to bear witness to the effects of Austerity Britain and we should all pay attention to the result.” Janine Gibson, Editor in Chief, Guardian.  Austerity Bites is published by Policy Press and is available at Amazon and other book retailers.  A must buy.




Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides, wrote

No story is a straight line. The geometry of a human life is too imperfect and complex, too distorted by the laughter of time and the bewildering intricacies of fate to admit the straight line into its system of laws.


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