AssignmentIdentifying the elements of positive psychology in Al Gore’slife through the documentary – An Inconvenient TruthSubmitted by Anjani Raja Manuri-EPGDBM-04 D02
An Inconvenient Truth is a passionate and inspirational look atformer Vice President Al Gores battle to halt global warmingsdeadly progress by exposing the myths and misconceptions thatsurround it. In this intimate portrait of Gore and his "travelling globalwarming show," Gore comes across as never before in the media -funny, engaging, open and intent on alerting citizens to this"planetary emergency" before its too late.Intertwined with the bracing facts and future predictionsis the storyof Gores personal journey: from an idealistic college student whofirst saw a massive environmental crisis looming; to a young Senatorfacing a harrowing family tragedy that altered his perspective; to theman who almost became President but instead returned to the mostimportant cause of his life. With an emphasis on hope, AnInconvenient Truth ultimately shows us that global warming is nolonger a political issue but rather, the biggest moral challenge facingour civilization today.As much about the man as about greenhouse gases, this candid,powerful and informative documentary illuminates some of themyths surrounding both of its subjects equally well.A long-time advocate for the environment, Gore presents a widearray of facts and information in a thoughtful and compelling way.Al Gore strips his presentations of politics, laying out the facts for theaudience to draw their own conclusions in a charming, funny andengaging style, and by the end has everyone on the edge of theirseats, gripped by his haunting message.
This documentary also evidences some of the aspects of positivepsychology which are either reflections seen in the movie or areindicative from Al Gore’s life.FLOWFlow, or a state of absorption in ones work, is characterized byintense concentration, loss of self-awareness, a feeling of beingperfectly challenged (neither bored nor overwhelmed), and a sensethat "time is flying." Flow is an intrinsically rewarding experience,and it can also help one achieve a goal (e.g. winning a game) orimprove skills (e.g. becoming a better chess player)According to positive psychologist MihályCsíkszentmihályi, what youare experiencing in that moment is known as flow, a state ofcomplete immersion in an activity. He describes the mental state offlow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. Theego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thoughtfollows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Yourwhole being is involved, and youre using your skills to the utmost."Al Gore became interested in global warming since his student daysat Harvard where he was associated with Roger Revelle one of thefirst scientists to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.He was in his best spirits while he was advocating the ill effects ofglobal warming. This was a thesis that fetched him the Nobel prize.He was found to be “in the zone” while he did this presentationacross the globe. It is said that Al Gore presented this documentaryAn Inconvenient Truth at least 1000 times so far and this wassomething that he enjoyed the most and it was not an act which wasforced upon him.
AltruismActing with an unselfish regard for others doesnt always comenaturally, even though many psychologists believe were hard-wiredfor empathy since cooperative behaviour allowed our ancestors tosurvive under harsh conditions. But most of us realize that when wemake the effort to give without expectations of reciprocity, we feelfulfilled and energized.We can say that Al Gore was extremely altruistic. He selflessly tookup the cause to fight against global warming. This is a voluntaryaction on his behalf and not something that was forced upon him bysomebody. He has taken up this act for the larger good of ourmankind without any expectations from anybody. We can say that hewas truly altruistic.Signature StrengthsThe author of Authentic Happiness, Dr Martin Seligman, has beenpromoting the field of positive psychology through the study ofpositive emotion, positive character traits and positive institutions.He believes that happiness occurs when a person identifies asignature strength and uses it towards something larger than theself.A ‘signature strength’ is a personal strength such as playfulness,kindness, honesty, critical thinking, and the role of positivepsychology is to help a person identify and develop their signaturestrength. Our signature strengths can be nurtured throughout ourlives, with benefits to our health, relationships and careers.The meaningful life is "using your signature strengths and virtues inthe service of something much larger than you are" says MrSeligman.
Al Gore sought to pursue a self-less mission of fighting against globalwarming. He spent every waking moment of his life in spreading thismessage across to a wider audience across the globe. The very factthat he is contributing to the larger good of the human race will givehim a sense of satisfaction.