I've been seeing a spate of articles about the power of optimism, or gratitude, or whatnot as of late. On the flip side, I've been seeing people slamming others for "complaining" or "negativity."
There is something to a sort of "power of positive thinking"; however, I think that it is dangerously misplaced when it becomes the statement that the universe/God is really working for us, or that things really will turn out for the best.
The first problem is that it requires delusion. The universe is working for me, but it doesn't give a damn about orphans being sold into sex slavery, evidently. The amount of horror and suffering in the world is nigh-infinite; I'm not a special case that will somehow avoid tribulation or that won't end up misshapen by it. To blind myself by telling myself that things will work out for me and mine is mere escapism, a selfish flight into comfort by shutting myself off from the world at large.
Which brings me to the second problem: by shutting ourselves off from the world, we cannot effectively change it. When you deride someone for being negative, are you doing so because they are wrong, or because they are uncomfortable to listen to? Who really gives a damn about your comfort, though, and why should anyone? When I complain about the fact that I have to give up actually valuable activities (both to myself and to society) to earn a paycheck doing nonsense work, such that I pay my fee to society not by contributing to it but merely by throwing my life's thread in tangles on the ground, I'm told to shut up; everyone has to deal with this. But if everyone has to deal with it, and everyone hates it, why can't we envision a better world? Why can't we think of better communities, better ways of surviving and existing? Why am I told to shut up, when we could talk together about possibilities?
When I'm negative, I never get people stopping and asking whether I am correct. I get people irritated about the negativity, people who don't stop and think about how the world could be different. If you are reading this, you are using technology that connects vast regions across the world by manipulating electromagnetic energy, and are working within a society that ensures some sort of access to information and opinions - the world can change, and would do so a lot more if everyone could come together and think about their real possibilities. When things don't work out, they don't work out; let's face that together, because if we were to work together, we could do so much.
The point of the negative is to create room for a new positive. And this is why I propose a principle of creativity rather than of positivity by itself. The world may indeed be a terrible, shitty place. It probably is. But what can we make out of it? Even if we are adversaries with the universe and the rest of the human race, we can still stop and think about how to rework our situation. We are alchemists transmuting the lead we are given - what greater skill can we gain in making the most of our situations? This is not based on any beliefs about the universe or God or anything else working for us, but merely about how we will take our own stances in whatever world we've been thrown into.
Concerning previous posts - I have material to continue my series on atheism. I really want to put something out there which is better than the other arguments for atheism which I've seen, but quite honestly, I can't remember the last time I've had a halfway decent discussion on religious topics with anyone who actually interacted with what I said. So I think that I'll refrain from putting anything more online, unless I get requests from people. Also, I would like to write about more philosophical topics, and while I know that people do read those posts from time to time, it's been years since anyone's commented on anything or started a conversation about them. I'm kind of starved for intellectual conversation right now, and really, really want to get into an in-depth discussion with people, which apparently isn't happening IRL - so please, if there's any topics out there that anyone wants to discuss, put it out there, and I'll write a post about it.