Friday, January 13, 2012

Equating love with positive thinking is erroneous …

It is one thing to have positive reactions about a thing or person and quite another reality to love that thing or person.

Positive thoughts about ice cream or chocolate, or chocolate ice cream, do not equate to love of that.

The world would be so simple and overflowing with love if it were true that positive thinking equates to love, or love to positive thinking.

For some, a default assumption equates acknowledging negative realities in conversation or writing as evidence that the reporter is negative-minded, a person for whom a glass is “always half empty” or even one of those urban-mythical creatures called “a hater.”

It follows that those who acknowledge negative realities in this world such as hunger, political or economic corruption, or hidden agendas to further nefarious quests for unlimited power do not deserve to be labeled “haters.”  If so, all priests who hear confessions would be “haters.”
 
Love embraces suffering.

Love embraces those who mourn, including those who mourn the loss of freedom for themselves or others.
 
Love embraces the weak and the powerless.

Love embraces those who are disadvantaged in this world.

Love embraces those who live day by day without love in their lives.

Love embraces those in pain, especially those in self-inflicted pain. 

Love seeks to comfort all who endure negative circumstances in life in ways unattainable through “positive thinking.”

There is a consequence of equating love with positive thinking that allows for indifference towards all negative circumstances. A door opens through which one tries to “shoo away” all negative realities as if they don’t matter, or as if negatives exist only as a result of one’s thinking.

This simplistic view, that positive thinking equates to love and thinking about negatives equates to being “a hater”  invites those who hold that view to ignore suffering in this world, suffering by other human beings and by extension, all other forms of life.

Had I not become acquainted with proponents of this belief it would be impossible for me to comprehend its implications: those who shut their minds and hearts to real circumstances of suffering in this world escape through inhumanity…

“Indifference is the essence of inhumanity". George Bernard Shaw

 

Being an exclusively or habitually “positive thinker” does not make one a lover. However, it can easily lead one into a trap of becoming indifferent to the dynamics of this world and the lives of others. I am reminded of a scene in a documentary about fresh water, its present and future availability. Somewhere in Africa, a community had no water except a privatized tap that required payment to access. A busload of United Nations representatives visited the facility, proud of the dubious achievement of “providing water” to the villagers. The people of the village had little or no access to money, so they could not use the tap. A concerned realist pleaded with the United Nations agent to see that the monetized tap was preventing access to water rather than providing it. The UN representative was insulted that the villagers were not grateful for the crude pipe and coin-operated tap, calling the pleading villagers and human rights advocates “rude” for voicing their complaints.

 

Adherence to a belief that “love is positive thinking, positive thinking is love” is to reduce love and indifference to a light switch. When the switch is "on" one is full of love as positive thinking. Those who are not on are simply negative people, or “haters.”  For the villagers above, this is a devastating philosophy.

 

My basic premise for this blog series is that we need a new paradigm or definition of a healthy society, based on how well the least among us are faring rather than the current one based on metrics of economic life.

·         If a city has homeless or hungry persons, it is not successful…

·         If a county has residents with untreated illnesses, it is not healthy…

·         If a school district does not educate (nearly) all its students to read and balance personal accounts, it is failing…

·         If more than a small percentage of children in a region have no father in their lives as a positive influence, then its social structure is in a process of self-destruction...

·         If more than a very small number of residents are taking mood-altering prescriptions, that society is detrimental, and a dismal failure.

 

All these negative conditions, and many more, have in common an inadequate infusion of love – a love that embraces those who suffer avoidable conditions along with actions committed to alleviate suffering’s causes.

 

The following report shows that economic metrics such as wealth within a community will not determine quality of life within that community. Miami is the “wealthiest” city in America, yet sadly ranks last in this 24/7 Wall St. report: Best and Worst Run Cities in America 

 

It is no coincidence that Miami has a long-standing reputation for rudeness among its residents and visitors, despite a dependence upon tourism as a major segment of its economic life. Being positive-minded about material asset accumulation has left a dearth of love there.

 

It’s all about love. 

 

This is the basic intent of these pages, to extend an embrace of love to those who understand or who are negatively affected by circumstances written about by this humble scribe.

 

It’s about love as a comforting embrace for all readers, because we’re all participating in this journey together. An example: that NDAA “indefinite detention law” and it’s inevitable use; people will suffer who should not. Indifference under the guise of “positive thinking” about the NDAA will say, “only terrorists will get what they deserve, and I love my country enough to support this.” Nevertheless, real love for humanity asserts that indefinite detention or death without trial should not happen to anyone.

 

In a similar way, Indifference will put a positive spin on our present corporate system that produces joblessness, homelessness, chemical illnesses, drug addictions and scattered starvation because a stock index goes up in value or another metric goes down. Love embraces the afflicted and a need for systemic change.