My half-empty cup [Positive vs. Negative]
Posted: 08 December 2012 10:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I owe my skepticism to the cynicism I’ve gained from my personal realities. At least, that’s where it started from. But I’ve always had a problem communicating with some people that I’m not this pessimistic character aimed at depressing others. Some particular members of my family think I’m always angry at something. I might get heated about some discussion and then they might jump at me and say, “why are you so angry?” And then the conversation turns onto that and I’m trying to convince them that I’m not angry while I’m getting angrier by the moment as they assure me that I am!

    These particular family members are from the school of ‘positive thinking’ which dictates that if you discuss controversy or argue for something that you believe that differs with their belief, you’re being difficult, are wanting to make them unhappy, and generally, ‘negative’. I even have a hard time using the terms ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ in varying contexts without being interpreted as meaning either ‘half-cup full’ or ‘half-cup empty’. For instance, if I say that I’d like to put forth a positive argument for something, I get something like, “Why do you have to be so argumentative? Nothing positive can come from that!” And no matter how much you try to convey a different definition then what sits in their minds, they force you to bend to their use of the word leaving you with a loss of vocabulary to choose from without great effort.

    Although it may not be thought of as religion, to me it seems that a lot of the positive thinking movements are just that. I can’t say ‘but’ with one relative because she seems to think that it means “and contradictorily” rather than “and contrarily”. I probably overuse the word sometimes, but without it, I feel stilted and convey agreement when I don’t. When I was young, a friend and I attempted not to use the word, “should” in our conversation for the rest of a day and found it interesting and useful on the psyche. I don’t totally disagree with positive mentality if you impose it on yourself for practical purposes. But it’s hard to hear things from loved ones telling you that Amway or Stephen (Steve) Covey, or Anthony (Tony - like they know them intimately) Robbins warned them of the negativity of others and that they must close them out of their lives completely. And never, ever, can you dis’ their leaders!

  I think that much of today’s religions have learned to inoculate the flock by teaching this positive psychology and assuring them that people like atheists are simply useless to argue with due to their negativity and that the best course of action is to ignore them. Religious books against the “New Atheists” like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett are exemplary of this persuasion. Their arguments are encouraged to be overlooked for motives and personalities instead.

Well, my coffee mug is 100% empty now so I’ve gotta go for a refill. Anybody else have some insight?

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I eat without fear of certain Death from The Tree of Knowledge because with wisdom, we may one day break free from its mortal curse.

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Posted: 10 December 2012 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I have the exact same problems.  And my family still wonders why I avoid family functions and generally keep to myself when I do show up. rolleyes

By the way, I don’t especially care if the cup is half-full or half-empty.  It’s probably poisoned. wink

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 10 December 2012 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I find that if someone starts to change the subject to me being angry about something, probably the best thing to do is to say something like “yes, I’m sorry I’m getting angry. Now, about this point . . .”

Although, honestly, vocal conversations can get astray even faster than online conversations on a forum. The attention span required to really, truly stay on topic takes practice, and I’ll be the first to admit that mine is lacking.

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Posted: 02 January 2013 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I know your feeling. Some people incorrectly describe me as being negative or pessimistic as well. However, I consider myself to be realistic and most others to be overly and unrealistically optimistic. Though I don’t consider myself to be a pessimists, when I am accused as being so, I remember this quote, “The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.” -  George F. Will. I find that most people around me are more concerned with an unjustified pursuit of happiness and comfort, than a pursuit of truth. They are captives of the chase of course and are certain to meet more disappointments than one who bases their actions and beliefs of off evidence, probability, and realistic thinking. Ultimately and ironically, they suffer more, those who attempt to avoid suffering and realities of life than one who accepts it. They try to psyche themselves out through this positive movement but it only worsens matters. Certainly, one can “hope” for the best, but I think it a mistake to “expect” the best when the conditions do no support it. As for being argumentative, there is a difference between say a young identity seeking adult who is being rebellious and arguing for the sake of arguing from one who’s aim is to seek the truth in matters. Any statement, idea, proposal, or belief, that is so fragile that it cannot be challenged, questioned, or constructively criticized is a matter worth questioning. Do not let the barrage of media controlled sheep keep you down on your journey. Keep it real.

[ Edited: 02 January 2013 09:13 AM by morgantj ]
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