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Negaholism, Polyanna, Optimism: Reality or Unreality?

By       Message Kathryn Smith       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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Instead of writing about a political situation, delving into research and suggesting what needs to be done next, I want to address a matter I am seeing frequently all over this forum.

That is, attitudes and beliefs. And these, perhaps, fuel our division and our arguments.

I see a steady pattern here in which authors posting hope and optimism are shot down as "unrealistic", and being asked questions such as "what planet do you live on?"

Those who think skeptically are considered to be "Reality"-based. Those who think positively are considered to be "unrealistic" and "polyanna types."

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I beg to differ. I think both points of view have something to offer. Skepticism looks only at the shadow side of life. Polyanna-ism looks only at the light. Healthy optimists can see both dark and light, make sense of the healthy blend, and foresee the best, based on both sides of life's coin.

Thus, neither "polyanna types" nor "negaholics" are seeing an accurate picture. Instead, they are focusing on only one side of reality. And this one-sidedness is a distortion.

To tell you the truth, I firmly believe, with my gut and not just my head, that we human beings are comprised of light in our core being. Certain experiences I had in life made it abundantly clear to me that the light within is a true beauty, inherent in every one of us. And it's also different with each one of us, which also is the beauty of it. And it's amazing too, when you consider how many millions of people there are, how many variations on the theme of beauty and goodness there are as embodied in each human being. We are all special and unique, each with our gifts and our strengths. These strengths contribute to society, each in their own different way. There is a reason why we are each gifted in the way we are, in order to contribute to the flow of good.

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The tugs of evil which all of us wrestle with come from wounded egos, wounded hope, weaknesses and temptations. They are all attempts to deal with life's challenges. But when we fall into temptation and go off our true path, we are not acting based on our core selves.

Most people naturally desire to do good. Most of us instinctively know that the truth is best, that respect and love are the right way to go, that we all deserve the best. Somehow we know it. The amazing thing too is that it's a universal instinct, to every person who is of a sound mind.

Which doesn't mean that we always live our best intentions. Yet the intention is always there.

That is, in most people.

Think about it: Do most people take joy in evil, murder, chaos, mayhem? Do most people deliberately whip their kids and trample passersby underfoot? Or do most of us seek to live with respect and in a truth-oriented way? Do most of us try to get the best accomplished for the sake of our kids, their education, for our neighbors? Do most of us believe in telling the truth, as long as it is safe to do so?

Cut-throat competitiveness and the desire to "succeed" may have us trampling on our natural instincts and blacking out awareness of the call of our hearts, to some extent. For some of us, more so than others. But if we think about it, the ordinary passerby on the street still desires to do good, ultimately. Very few of us would take delight in evil and doing deliberate wrong. And further, very few of us would love ourselves if we did such things with deliberation.

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What am I getting at? Back to the point that positivity is "polyanna-ism" and "illusion" and so on, I must say that I fervently disagree. In every pair of human eyes there is a spark of light which can be seen, if we only look. The universe is made of a weave of light and peace: Look up at the night sky and you will see it wrapped all around you! We can't escape it. Flowers grow fragrant underfoot, grass is soft and plushy, birds sing cheerfully, and the crickets lull us to sleep. The sun makes us feel positive and the moon gives us a feeling of poetic peace. Tell me the quintessence of life is *not* comprised of love and peace? Tell me it is *not* mystical and beautiful, somehow?

Given the light that is within, how right are we to doubt the good intentions of other human beings? How fair are we to those people even, in predicting that only the worst will be what they do?

In fact, in my experience, we usually *are* unfair to people in assuming them to be negatively motivated. Usually, in fact, people come through with their good intentions, on the ultimate level. Even if they aren't always perfect every step along the way, the good ultimately is their truth.

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This quote summarizes the nature of my concerns and the content of personal experiences which stir my activism: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement on human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves". --Paul (more...)

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