February 13, 2008
Think positive. Be happy. These have increasingly become the mantra of our culture. New age guru telling us we need to vibrate on a higher wavelength. Reject all negative or depressing thoughts and only indulge your mind in positive, happy, optimistic ideas. That’s all fine and dandy for some. I’m tried of being looked down upon for dwelling in my sweet darkness, for brooding, or celebrating my pessimistic viewpoints. Life is a two sided coin: happy / sad, light / dark, life / death, etc. You can’t have one without the other. These New Age soldiers of positivity seem to overlook a key factor in the nature of “vibrations”. Waves rise and fall. Positivity and negativity create the pulse of life. This is denoted in the symbol ying and yang. You can’t have a one without the other. If you tip the scale of emotion so that you never allow sadness, that’s still an imbalance. It’s that disharmony which will lead to more suffering. I believe “everything in moderation” is a healthier maxim.
Arguing the Upside of Being Down
All Things Considered, February 11, 2008 · Author Eric G. Wilson has come to realize he was born to the blues, and he has made peace with his melancholy state.
But it took some time, as he writes in his new book, a polemic titled Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy.
At the behest of well-meaning friends, I have purchased books on how to be happy. I have tried to turn my chronic scowl into a bright smile. I have attempted to become more active, to get away from my dark house and away from my somber books and participate in the world of meaningful action. … I have contemplated getting a dog. I have started eating salads. I have tried to discipline myself in nodding knowingly. … I have undertaken yoga. I have stopped yoga and gone into tai chi. I have thought of going to psychiatrists and getting some drugs. I have quit all of this and then started again and then once more quit. Now I plan to stay quit. The road to hell is paved with happy plans.
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