08 December 2014

Negative Space

Some things can't be fixed. Sometimes, there's just no going back, no reset, no do-over.

And sometimes, when things break or get broken, when we encounter irreparable damage, we feel sad or angry or disappointed.

I might be moved to make a sad or angry or disappointed expression in such situations.

"Oh, what's all this negativity?" a well-meaning friend might say at such a moment.

"I'm expressing a feeling," I might respond and the well-meaning friend might then launch into a mini-sermon on the power of positive thinking and how there will never be Peace on Earth until we all learn to accentuate the positive.

What I want to say to my well-meaning friend is that there is power in both "positive" and "negative" thinking. I want to say that the Positive can only be accentuated where the counterpoint of Negative exists. I am opposed to the abolition of all negativity. I find "all positive, all the time" environments to be flat, disorienting and boring.

I want to ask:  Did I miss a meeting? The one where it was agreed that, no matter the existence of misfortune, malady or disaster, no comment will be made about the misfortune, malady or disaster?

It seems a dangerous arrangement. Bullies, dictators and tyrants, for example, would applaud such an arrangement, comforted by the assurance that no one will criticize or complain about their behavior.

It seems an anti-social arrangement as it restricts intimacy, the sharing of the full spectrum of human thought, emotion and experience.

It seems an unholy arrangement as it denies or suppresses the rich and variegated sensations of the human experience.

Some things cannot be fixed. Things break. Isn't it better to acknowledge the shards on the floor than to risk injury, walking on broken glass with a smile on your face?