Essay: Why So Negative?


I forget what she was talking about, but when I brought up reality, she said I should not be so negative. In her thinking, reality was bad. It was negative, and anyone who talked about it was likewise. In her defense, her life with a non-supportive alcoholic who eventually drank himself to death was certainly a negative reality. We were not discussing any specific topic, but even the term was a turnoff for her.

When I think about what she said, which basically shut me up, I always get philosophical and default to the line from Hamlet: “Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison. Well, then it isn’t one to you, since nothing is really good or bad in itself—it’s all what a person thinks about it.” I can’t say the line applies in every case. But sometimes it is precisely what we think about some reality that defines it for us.

I agree that reality is relative. And what isn’t? The thin line between one’s perception of reality and imagined non-reality, such as dream-based events, is the conscious choice between what is and what isn’t. But does any of that mean the one is negative and the other not? Is either reality or non-reality truth? Imagination is real. If one hears voices, the voices are really heard in the brain even if the source of a voice is either unknown or assumed.

I also agree with my friend who saw my broaching of reality as negative or dark for her, even if not for me. Much of reality sucks. Her experience was not mine. We make the best of life if we can make anything. But some might say the reality is that we can move on and find another, conceivably better, life.

Time and reality are relative to the individual. While the reality of the passage of time should be the same for each of us, that is seldom the case. Memories of the same event differ between individual witnesses. Experiencing current events is the same. When I walk out of a building and it is raining, I’m usually delighted. Then I hear others complaining about the nasty weather. It’s the same reality: a rainy day.

My response is to ask, what is non-reality? Why do I insist that it is necessary and okay to deal with what is real? Either it is what it is, or it’s not. Depending on the individual, the same real (or even imagined) event may be seen as either good or bad. The truth should be reality, but black or white is too often gray. So then, even truth becomes relative and based on outlook and experience.

If we see reality as negative, does that mean we conversely see non-reality as positive? And what of truth? If truth is negative, is untruth then positive? Maybe some think so.

9 thoughts on “Essay: Why So Negative?

  1. I seek to live in gratitude and practice it daily, multiple times a day. I personally know I am a much happier person because of it. I do believe gratitude is a useful tool and it changes my PERCEPTION. It does not change reality. Reality is a sorta logical place where reason reigns. My feelings are my reality, but certain aspects of reality are true even when I ignore them. If you were to elaborate on the negatives in my life, however true, I would go right back to gratitude 😉

    I love rain. Love it. HOWEVER, since the pandemic, I have been saddened by rain in ways I can’t define, which I believe is what people have been complaining about my whole life and I’ve been shrugging in response. I crave sunshine lately. Has it been gloomier lately? I don’t actually have the stats. I simply feeeeel that way. Can’t verify it, so it may not be reality, just my own perception. If it’s actually been gloomier, I’m perceptive. If not, it’s my own crap and I’m blamin it on rain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For years I have had the feeling that I am a defender of reality. Sort of like being a champion of the obvious. I agree 100% that grateful people are happier. I think I am too. For now, my family seems to be virus-free (except for the 380 trillion okay ones), I hope yours is too. For all that, I am grateful. But I don’t feel it is necessary for me to deny reality. 🙂

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  2. I think perception can be personal. Reality? Well, I’ll bet my ladle of molten steel against anyone’s belief. Magic has never been shown to work, not for thousands of years. I do wish it would be. I love playing a cleric in role-playing games where gods do answer prayers.

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  3. Thoughtful post…
    Well there’s perception of reality and perception of reality.
    I think, say nature and being outdoors is beautiful and fulfilling emotionally.
    Someone else doesn’t like to be outside and thinks it’s full of bugs, heat or cold and dangerous animals.

    So this is perception of reality, but is there an ultimate reality or is it all truly relative. In this, because it’s mostly emotional, perhaps not.

    But the fact that certain birds mate for life is a reality whether someone else disagrees or not. And it’s believed to be reality because of research and observation and this is much different than emotion.

    And there is positive, negative and realistic attitudes or perceptions of life issues that are again mostly emotional. I’ve always felt I don’t want to be a Pollyanna because I want to see life as “real”, which some interpret as negative. And all that is a matter of emotional perception as well.

    Science, research and years of observation are the only things that can turn perceptions into reality and yet still, some people deny it.

    You might check out a Utube channel called Closer to Truth that covers not only physics, but many abstract ideas such that you mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary,
      I was smiling reading this and your comments about nature. I have a poem posting tomorrow on Our Literary Journey that speaks directly to what you said (ESP? Real?).
      I also recently read an article about truth in memoir: fact based or emotional truth (?). I write things like this because for most of my life I have been a defender of reality. But if we each have our own, can we all be right? Thanks for jumping in. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know you’re not into the metaphysical world, but I think we agree on reality. It is what we think it is. Of course there are facts and they are filtered through the prism of our belief system. Hence, truth being relative. I see it this way, you see it that. As for non-reality, I’m not sure there is such a thing. Just because someone doesn’t see what I see doesn’t make it any less real to me. Reality, which should be a sure thing, is a perplexing topic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sue,
      That depends on what you mean by “into.” In a way, this blog is supposed to be my thoughts about metaphysical issues, which are from “the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.” (dictionary) I am an atheist precisely because of such things, add science and logic. We may not agree as to what is and what is not. But there is ample common ground, IMO. 🙂 Thanks for reading and responding.


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