Last weekend I attended a blues dancing event in Minneapolis (video to come soon!) – a weekend full of great friends, great dancing, great workshops and competitions. I’m always extremely happy when I get back from such events; they’re good for the soul.
Over the weekend and for a few days thereafter, I found myself avoiding my blog subscriptions, mainly because there’s so much negative stuff in there. Evil corporations, human rights violations, conflation of church and state… I just wasn’t in the mood for it. For a few days I also avoided posting about any controversial issues on Facebook, or starting any “fights,” as it were. Again, I was simply in a happy mood and didn’t feel good about the negativity.
This got me thinking. How can we demonstrate concern over issues we care about without getting bogged down by the negativity of it all? How can we fight against things that are bad without unpleasantness filling our minds? My answer – when I was ready to post again on Facebook – was to focus on affirming what I wanted the world to be like, rather than focus on denying the negative state of affairs I’d just read about. Instead of just saying “This is bad and wrong and stupid,” I said “This is bad, and this is what would be better!” I think it made a difference in my attitude.
Atheists often tout humanism as a logically positive complement to atheism. Whereas atheists spend so much time denying the claims of religious people, speaking about humanism gives us a chance to make positive statements about what we value and what we care about (not to say that atheist = humanist, but there is much overlap). I haven’t always put much stock in the importance of making logically positive statements, but I’m beginning to think it’s an important thing to do, for one’s own sanity.
What methods do you have for fighting the negative while still staying positive?