Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Smile or Die. (AKA Optimisim)


          When I was young I always assumed that I was strongly incorrect about most things in life. Typically when I noticed things and then saw no one else pointing that something out, I kept it to myself and assume that I was wrong. I still do this for the most part, although now, instead of assuming that I am wrong, I put quite a bit of research into the subject. One such subject is something that I have combated with over and over. It is a virtue that my father often tried to instill and beat me to death with (not literally).


I know what you're thinking, "Whats wrong with thinking positively about things?" 

Well.. nothing, if they are in fact positive things. But that's not exactly the type of optimism I'm referring too.

What I am referring to is the type of thinking that urges you to ignore the bad consequences and possibilities of an event because realistically looking at something and weighing its consequences can be shunned as being pessimistic or negative.

A forced smile, doesn't negate reality.

Person A: My boyfriend and I  have been together for almost a year and decided to take it a step further! We've decided to have a baby! I know I'm only 21 but I'm just so excited.

Person B: Oh? Wow! That's a pretty big step. Are you sure you are ready for that? Don't you both live with you're parents, and not have jobs? It's pretty hard to raise a kid even for people who are well off.

Person A:  Uhg! You're not very supportive if I would have known you'd be so negative I wouldn't have told you.

It seems like a rather extreme example, but I'm from Baltimore and the amount of college age kids who never went to college, don't even have GED's but do have kids would probably make an anti-abortionist point and say, "fuck abortions, but someone should have aborted you"

The truth is, that being aware of negative consequences doesn't make you a negative person. Focusing ONLY on the negative consequences makes you a negative person. But you can be aware of the negative aspects of something and still act with a positive outlook. Knowing both the positive and negative effects of any decision or action makes you informed, realistic, better capable to handle those negative things when they do come.

They try to push this concept that being optimistic means being brave and responsible, but keeping your head in the sand just makes you ignorant of whats really happening around you. Not brave.

Too often I see it the ignorant paraded out as the heroes they are not. When in reality my hero's have always acted in spite of the odds, not out of ignorance.

                                                          Nigga's who knew the odds.

       I know, I know, over played, but the actual history behind the subject solidifies the idea of bravery. .

"Shh, we don't need to talk about negative things. Lets be optimistic!"

This especially holds true when it comes to businesses and jobs. The silent hush that falls over coworkers when higher ups pass down new initiatives and those who promote these new initiatives, and the demands of your leaders to be optimistic about this change.

I respect any boss who can stand up and say, "listen... this could be tough, this is what has to change and it could cause us these problems. But this is what is expected of us. Keep your heads up and support each other," Yet in the corporate world no one seems to find this virtue appealing.

While privately I lamented at this absurd reasoning, that everyone seemed to want to enforce, it takes all I can to not want to gag when someone begins to preach optimism in any means.

Luckily I came upon this video while reviewing the RSA site.  On the case against Optimism. Which broke me from my despair over the subject and sparked this post.

I told you dad.

The rather strange backwards expectation that you have to pretend that there are no negative consequences, and feel ashamed if those negative possibilities upset you, is an inhuman and even cruel assertion.

"You better be positive because it will get you further and smooth things out." "What you put out into the world, you get back!" "If you think about bad things, bad things will happen"

Screw that... we're adults..  and this is not the dark ages we don't live lives that need to be ruled by superstition. Don't talk to me like I'm a child. Don't talk to me like I'm an idiot. I know full well that you can walk down the street, smile at someone, give them a nice, " hello sir" and get punched in the face. Life doesn't have rules like The Golden Rule.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a human concept.

I'm not saying its a bad concept, There is no reason to act on the assumption that everything is horrible and that people should be treated like crap.  On the contrary, I'm a fervent activist for being polite and bright in your daily interactions. But personal experience has taught me that I can't depend on or expect the same of others... life is chaos (to most of us), you can endlessly promote nothing but positivity and still end up some Jane or John Doe, floating in Dru Hill Park Reservoir.

People try to feed all of that karma energy crap to me, as though its a science. I can tell you that if anyone ever comes up to you and starts talking about how being optimistic about something "cause quantum attractions in the universe," he's fucking lying. He may not know he's lying, but that still doesn't make it true.... just makes him ignorant.

I cringe anytime anyone starts to seem like they are going to talk about such nonsense.  It's the same shit I've  been hearing from people over and over since I was young. There is nothing like asking someone for advice or getting into a good conversation about life and having them slip into this preset automated speech that immediately turns you off  toward any conversation.

Look I'm not saying that you've got to shoot down every ones ideas, bum people out, and just generally be a shit. I know those people. Just don't be afraid to think realistically about subjects. Weigh the pros and cons and then act.

Keep it realistic

-We are Hell

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