I’ve noticed that some people who are not otherwise productively occupied, focus on events with a negative perspective and even enjoy attacking people in power. It seems to create a camaraderie with others who are similarly removed and antagonistic. I live in a condominium where many of the residents are retired, as such, after talk about, children, restaurants in the neighborhood and home furnishings has been exhausted. The conversation or the negative rants of some focus on the incompetence of the board of directors, who like these talebearers are also condo residents. Who are these people? Why are they so negative? And why is the non paid voluntary board of directors the target of their venom? As already mentioned they are not productively involved. But this revelation does not make clear why so many other retired individuals at my condo maintain a positive outlook given the same factual events.
I think that our residential naysayers share an entrenched and repressed anger. And attacking any power structure or leadership group gives vent to that anger. But how did this antagonism and irritation originate? Underlying it, I posit a sense of powerlessness and lack of control that most of us need to deal with in life. We know that there are powers that control our instinctual desires and our self interested decisions. These controlling influencers are our parents and teachers in childhood and adolescence and then our bosses, politicians and religious leaders when we become adults. These controlling influencers use the tools of guilt and the fear of losing love and acceptance to keep us in compliance. And we on a conscious or sub conscious level resent them for it.
For most of us adolescence is our time for rebelling against all controlling authorities. It is our opportunity to express our vexation and indignation against the powers that be and when its over and our resentment is spent, we as adults, can then recognize our need for appropriate authority and by utilizing our intelligence and education, are able to distinguish competent influencers from those who abuse their power. Adults who express animosity at all authority without distinction and feel controlled by all authority without distinction probably never had the opportunity to rebel or worse had their rebellion squashed. Not having a healthy period of rebellion is the key factor in explaining a persons repressed anger, but in my attempt to explain indiscriminate enmity toward authority,I posit, that a co occurring feeling of inadequacy must also exist. Inadequacy is determined by disappointments in life that are attributed to unfortunate circumstances, bad luck, bad karma or intemperate people. Its the belief that you are a victim to situations and events, that you do not control. A belief that in and of itself creates outrage and resentment but when combined with the repressed anger of a trampled rebellion, assures negativity.
In a related situation both positive and negatively directed people share the realization that life itself is unpredictable and scary. But they deal with this perplexing reality in different ways. Negative people frequently accept religious dogma as their coping mechanism to explain, good and evil and life and death. Since they have never rebelled and see themselves as victims, they trust and defend, nationalistic, cultural and religious dogma without critical insight. Positive people believe that although there is much in life they can’t control and are not responsible for there is much that they do regulate and oversee. They often recognize the complexity of most situations and struggle with partial, humanitarian based answers that accept their lack of total control in many things, as a fact of life.
Poem : “Negativity”
To be alive is to know you don’t control the big stuff
But neither does god
So control what you can
And make friends with uncertainty
When Ego survives at the expense of truth
And critical thinking becomes subservient to conformity
Suspicion, distrust and disapproval seeks companionship
And outrage is the song of the day
Disapproval does have its place in the war against evil and wrong headedness
But it must be controlled in the ordinary affaires of men
Hurting others in the name of truth is not truth
It comes from an unrealized anger formed in youth
And supported in comfort by other like minded lambs to slaughter
With no way out