An Experiment in Aggressive Positive-Thinking

by Joshua Foust on 7/13/2009 · 2 comments

I was going to call this “positivism,” until I remember that’s the philosophy that the only truth is that which you experience personally. Now that I think of it, a lot of reporters in Central Asia are implicit positivists who let their immediate experience crowd out all other knowledge and context that could maybe—just maybe—add an ounce of skepticism to what their official interviews tell them.

That, however, is a side-note. I’ve made it something of a hobby/sport lately to pick nits at various reporting in Central Asia, almost all of it in Afghanistan. But I want to try something: highlighting only good news for a week. Now, this is not highlighting “good news stories” like what one finds on DVIDSHub, but plausible and appropriately-researched stories that give reasons for hope.

Today, I’ve come up with nothing, but I’ve also not had a chance to look really thoroughly. If you guys find something—anything—beyond PAO releases about a good news story happening in Afghanistan, pretty please send it my way. I want to see if I can build a rosier picture of what’s going on there.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Ex 18A July 14, 2009 at 8:24 am

Just a slight correction; as a philosophical position, positivism stated that truth was the product of the scientific method, not just mere experience, certainly not personal experience. Personal experience includes intuition, the bete noir of the positivists and even professional science today, even though intuition certainly underlies most good science. It’s only recently in a post-modern world that scientists could admit to the use and value of intuition without getting thrown out of the club.

Positivism was reductionist scientific materialism to the nth degree.

Perhaps a better description for what you’re trying to get at is simply optimism in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is, hope.

In any case, this old soldier/current ecologist finds commentary on this blog to much more relevant and accurate to what’s going on with the Wars, such as they are, than other war blogs, including Abu Muqawama.


Martin O'Donnell July 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Recommend you check out theses links extracted from my Twitter page and CNN’s @AtiaAbawi on Twitter for some good news on Afghanistan that isn’t making the headlines. Afghan fibre backbone extended & connected to world; Save the Children receives grant from UAE charity to help Afghan kids You might also want to check out this story about Afghanistan’s first national park, which recently opened

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