Just be positive


#1

i just had a conversation with my brother and my mom where my brother was telling us how miserably he felt about the bullshit monotony of daily life and proceeded to beet himself up by saying that he knew that his feelings were “his fault” because all he’d have to do was think happy thoughts and life wouldn’t be so terrible. i made the point that civilized life will make you feel crappy anyways and that he should feel like shit, and that that’s a natural and healthy reaction to have. needless to say, by saying that i had pretty much pushed the big red button and blew up the conversation. my mom’s a buddhist and my brother has similar views, so both tried to make the point that any negative or painful situation shouldn’t have an effect on your well being because how you react to a situation is completely up to you. according to them, all we need to do to change our situation is “be positive”. i told them to tell that to someone in a nazi concentration camp and my mom responded that she would. fuck that. these kind of conversations (which occur pretty regularly these days) REALLY piss me off.
i’ve decided that the next time someone pulls this argument, i’m going to shove my fingers down my throat and puke on that person. seriously.


#2

Man that sucks… that must be frustrating… :-\

I think the whole “be positive” thing is skewed, and should mostly be directed inward, as in “don’t blame yourself”. It’s so backwards that someone would feel crappy about life because of the situation civ put them in, and then on top of that blame themselves for not being positive enough. This culture has made people afraid of claiming victimization when, in truth, many of us are victims. “Just be positive and work a little harder, you can be anything you want!!!” Bullshit. Compromise yourself, your family, and your landbase, and maybe you’ll make an extra digit more on your income than your parents made…and probably be a whole lot more miserable too. That’s what they should tell you.

Sorry… is it obvious I’ve been reading endgame for the first time?

hope you don’t have to throw up on anyone anytime soon

Brian


#3

How very selfish.


#4

I really like Buddhism, in a lot of ways. But I’ve followed that whole non-attachment, think-positive shit to its natural conclusion. In many ways it feels to me now like a complete rejection of life, for to live is to be attached. If you’re not at least attached to clean air, clean water, and good food then you probably don’t have a pulse. The doctrine of non-attachment has lessons to teach western culture with its focus on the static eternal, but the rejection of all attachments, of all love for places and people strikes me as absurd.

I had my moments of flirtation with the buddhist viewpoint. I certainly grew as a person studying it. But I knew something was terribly wrong when I returned from Japan to find the woods I grew up in cut through and did not, could not, react emotionally. The sound of the god-awful stump grinder coming through every morning thereafter to finish the destruction and erase any memory of the trees that stood broke the hardpan over my heart and planted the seeds of rage.

It’s not a reaction. It’s living. I live, and so I feel and feel deeply, even if it is sorrow and anger. Not a damn thing wrong with that!


#5

Hey Thunder Thighs,

That’s a really sad story. I’m so sorry about that.

If you do decide to puke on someone, please video tape it and put it on youtube. Maybe you’ll start a movement. :wink:


#6

Somewhere on here I have an anti-Ken-Wilbur rant for exactly these kinds of reasons. Even Buddhism apparently requires you to become more than just a human being. My condolences.


#7

I don’t know squat about buddhists or how they approach things. Not really interested either. My take on the “positive” thing isn’t so much about “don’t worry be happy” as it is about spending our lives being the people we want to be instead of spending all our time trying not to be what we don’t want to be.

Those feelings you refer to that come up for us are more of a wake up call that urges us to do something than a place to dwell in.


#8

This isn’t really Buddhism as a point of view, it’s kind of superficial. As antidote I recommend this blog:

Buddhism is not what you think… that is it’s not WHAT you THINK. Buddhism cultivates states of attention and equilibrium not so different from a hunter’s awareness.


#9

so i’ve managed to grab some internet time on the road. whoopee. :slight_smile:

Those feelings you refer to that come up for us are more of a wake up call that urges us to do something than a place to dwell in.

Sure, and I’ve also experienced the need to fully digest that kind of sorrow. Actually, to do more than that - to never stop, to keep grieving, keep it moving, to keep it liquid so it doesn’t turn into a hard stone and start destroying me and mine. This idea that grief turns stone-like unless you keep it liquid really has helped me stay sane, and not fear sadness, sorrow, feelings of failure, and so on. So to hear someone say “stay positive” when I have a lot of hurt to keep moving would incite me to violence. :slight_smile: Or, more seriously, to not share myself in that way with that person ever again.

Buddhism is not what you think.. that is it's not WHAT you THINK. Buddhism cultivates states of attention and equilibrium not so different from a hunter's awareness.

A conversation about Buddhism probably belongs in its own thread. Let’s keep this one for the grief and praise. :wink:


#10

“I’ve also experienced the need to fully digest that kind of sorrow. Actually, to do more than that - to never stop, to keep grieving, keep it moving, to keep it liquid so it doesn’t turn into a hard stone and start destroying me and mine. This idea that grief turns stone-like unless you keep it liquid really has helped me stay sane, and not fear sadness, sorrow, feelings of failure, and so on.”

Oh yes. I hear that. I’ve cut myself off from those emotions in many ways and suffered because of it.

I struggle with the victim identity. Yes without a doubt we have suffered from the oppression of mainstream society. Some of us much more than others. Even so, I just can’t identify myself a victim. I don’t want to wear that.


#11

For me, It’s not so much about identifying with victimhood. It’s about fearlessly acknowledging when myself and alot of the people and things I care about are victims of some sort or another… an acknowledgement that you seem to have made, too.

What I think is important is to make sure that you’re grieving/acting on your terms rather than on Civ’s terms.

And I think this is kinda like the difference between concentrating on the internally stagnating feeling that you will be owed something for your attempts at positive thinking/behavior, as opposed to making the more outwardly motivating and angering acknowledgements that we’re all currently having things being taken away, regardless of (and sometimes because of) who we “try to be”.

I don’t think you have to “wear” victimization as an identity in order to keep those emotions alive, you just have to avoid philosophies that encourage repression of those feelings.


#12

William ~ Thanks for sharing the thought "grief turns stone-like unless you keep it liquid… " This is really helpful to me.


#13

My older and younger brothers have started taking this view point also. Whenever anyone gets even a little mad, they say something along the lines of “Please dont be negative around me” or “You dont have to be angry”. That closely resembles shit. One gets it from Gandhi, the other from the Dalai Lama. The wierd part: my older bro has feelings closely resembling rewilding. He has gone from closely identifying with shinto to closely identifying with buddhism. Pisses me off on numerous occations, though ai get along with him otherwise. (both of them also continuously preach nonviolence, to my constant frustration)


#14

I’m really appreciating this thread. Thanks, everyone. I’ve had frustrating conversations with Buddhists before, too.


#15

yup, my family thinks of me as the “negative” one as well and my mom really likes to point out when i’m being “aggressive” and “angry”. my older brother also has a lot of rewilding ideas and feelings, but i see him getting sucked into the self riotous pacifist attitude that a lot of new age/Buddhists seem to have. i had a conversation with him (actually during our thanksgiving family dinner) where he tried to convince me that anger was a “disease”. i just feel like if they actually thought about what they were saying… augh. it’s really frustrating sometimes.


#16

[quote=“Urban Scout, post:5, topic:1217”]Hey Thunder Thighs,

That’s a really sad story. I’m so sorry about that.

If you do decide to puke on someone, please video tape it and put it on youtube. Maybe you’ll start a movement. ;)[/quote]

yeah, i’ve actually thought about doing that, except doing it as a form of protest. you know how they have “die-ins”? well i think it would be tight to have “barf-ins”. or it could be done on bikes, like critical mass, except call it “critical barf” or something. i don’t know how i would go about organizing something like that though…


Participatory Performance Art
#17

Awesome idea! ;D ;D Some folks did just that in NYC. . . to protest the obscenity of this culture of consumption. After seeing that, I got kinda excited about staging some sort of participatory performance art type thing myself. So I saved this article about how to do it yourself–but regretfully no credits! Sounds like it came from the same artists who put on the vomitorium. Then I kinda forgot about the idea.


OK, this veers waaaay off topic so I decided this little nugget of the conversation deserves its own thread and moved the article here.


#18

I’m always being called a pessimist by my friends. As if I should blindly follow our benevolent ruler and he will save us in return for our/my loyalty. That I need to stand strong in the face of an adverse situation and be positive and keep working hard to be the best wage-slave I can be.
And it’s fucking bullshit and theres nothing that pisses me off more. I am a realist in most senses not including my idealisms of the post-apocalypse. I realize what state we are win and I see the resounding flaws of our systems.
I think positivity is a good thing but not all inclusive positivity that you build up more-less as a defense against all bad things. We as a community should exchange as much positive energy as possible. But being positive at all costs, and being positive while maintaining a totally realistic view point, are totally different things. I think positive energy is needed for any type of revolution or rewilding attempt.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that positivity is good for certain things, but too often are we told to be positive about negative things and it only serves civilization to do such a thing. We’ve got the “blame the victim” idea embedded so deep into peoples psyches that they themselves, as victims, blame themselves. The victim itself is now trained to blame itself for all negative action brought towards it.
One thing I must say, the system of mind control these people are under was amazingly well constructed and is highly efficient and very hard to undo in most people.


#19
Buddhism is not what you think.. that is it's not WHAT you THINK. Buddhism cultivates states of attention and equilibrium not so different from a hunter's awareness.

I think you’ve made a good point here, mojomike. And as pointed out by Willem, I realize this isn’t the thread to be discussing this, but I haven’t seen a new one started yet. For those interested, I just wanted to say that Paul Rezendes talks a lot about the relationship between cultivating attention and the hunter’s awareness in his book The Wild Within.

Curt


#20

My family treats me the same way. While I always try to not direct my anger AT THEM, they seem to have a hard time distinguishing that from me trying to share with them my anger at the death machine. The anger and grief I feel make up a fundamental part of my core self, and frankly I have grown very tired of suppressing/hiding that part of myself because it bothers people. It’s like they just can’t handle anything intruding on their little happy-bubble they work so hard to maintain in their lives.

I also think it has to do with this cultures’ demonization of “negative” emotions like anger and grief, fueled by the dominant religions. It amounts to a philosophical version of a happy-pill, like soma. It reminds me of the movie Equilibrium, where in order to ensure “peace” and order, the government mandated a drug to suppress all human emotions. Feeling emotions constituted a “sense offense”, and completely unacceptable (punishable by death).

And considering just how much rage I feel, and just what level of violence I feel willing to do (whatever it takes to stop the mass murders, and the sterilization of the earth), the fact that I act as civil as I do often amounts to nothing short of a minor miracle. If people expect me to pretend like nothing’s happening - and even worse, to pretend like I DON’T CARE about what is happening - they can go f*ck off. I am only willing to go so far to respect their sensibilities. The fact that they require more only shows their own pathos, and how much they have been influenced by the pathos of this culture.

In other words, beyond a certain point, they have the problem, not me.

Jessica