The author and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips tells us that “we have to imagine a world in which celebration is less suspect that criticism” and, continuing from this, that we should begin to imagine “a style of relating in which praise and blame are not the only currency, but in which praise is preferred – in which we praise whatever we can”.
This may at first reading sound like a typically effusive instruction from a positive psychology handbook, but this it is not. It is certainly not an injunction to look on the bright side or to reach for a pair of rose-coloured glasses. What it is is more like a directive to adopt a more nuanced perception in which we drop the critical ‘mask’ (self- critical or otherwise) with its allure of rationalism and implied intelligence. Perhaps we may even take this to suggest temporarily suspending thought altogether whereby we might enter the exclusive domain of the sensorial and possibly (re)discover the lost lands that this form of appreciation affords us.