It is important to remember the difference between negativity and telling the truth. People like negativity and invented negativity--gossip and bemoaning, but I mean a manufactured bemoaning. Bemoaning without due. It's what people want in the media. On social media. On sports radio. It's what people wanted in ninth grade when some scurrilous rumor was concocted to make the rounds. Or when that person at the lunch table left and those who remained trashed them in hushed tones.
We rarely outgrow that. And those who did, I've found, have been pulled back into that form of behavior by what culture has become. It can be hard to have anyone, or have any form of external validation, if one is not this way, because that's where it usually stems from now.
We will allow this into our lives. We will make it a large percentage of the portion of our lives. We may call it other things, apply concomitant tags when we indulge in this behavior, such as, "do better." But it's a form of passive hate, real bile, cravenness, with a "juicy," voyeuristic quality. It's an indulgence that, in time, becomes a prevailing mode. It becomes a go-to and a need. It's the "fun" part of the end of the phone conversation, a verbal version of recess.
It's also a means of success. Financial reward. Popularity. Followers. A platform. A brand.
People have brands in their basic, circumscribed, "average" lives, too. This is the kind of brand that many share; it becomes a form of nomenclature, a lingua franca that connects--but faux-connects--people in the limited, hollow, passive ways they're now connected. Which is mostly the only form of connection--a non-form--that exists in this world for just about everyone in it.
There is a disturbing--I would say tragic--irony that this negativity for negativity's sake is countenanced, is favored, is what is made and what is sought, but saying what something actually is, if that thing is not great, not ideal, or is in truth awful, is looked upon as a transgression.
Sometimes it is called "drama." And it will be used to negatively judge the person who has done the knowing and done the saying.
What is the issue? Reality is the issue. In this second case, reality is processed and understood for what it is. This is not about negativity, except insofar as that reality may not be positive. Can be dire, alarming.
But it's not recreational negativity or toxicity. Which people are more than happy to have, and often need in order to get through a day, have something to talk about, or get paid, in some cases. Flies will come to excrement. Humans, in some ways, are now much the same.
If you put on something like sports radio--to use a not-so-important example--you'll hear hosts saying statements they don't believe, which are negative, usually hyperbolically so, because they know that's what their listeners want. They don't want insight, humor, ideas, context, good, lucid, lively talk about why one player is having success, why this particular team is not, what this rule change really means for the league.
People want that ninth grade rip-fest. They want that negativity. They want to be in the gaggle of girls who says that Nancy has a body odor problem, after Nancy has left the lunch table, though Nancy has nothing of the kind, and can in fact smell like a meadow of flowers.
This is okay, though. No one cracks back against it. No one says "this is harmful," and it gets into the bloodstream.
It becomes the lifeblood of a society, a culture, the individual at what remains of the individual level, with the individual now having become obsolete in our world. There are not individual people anymore. There are hordes. They think the same, they talk the same, the express themselves in the same cliches, the same flown-in images. They all make the same errors with their and there, then and than, a an an. They all say "literally" when they want to assert that they're right.
I see these people, I see them all day long, I see virtually nothing else, and I think, "Why are you even alive?" That's what I want to ask them. I don't mean that to say it's mass suicide time, but: why be alive? What is the point?
But--and this is a big but--say the truth, and even if that truth doesn't have that much of a negative component, and one quickly becomes a pariah. Paradoxically, it is this person that becomes the "negative Nancy," the "Debby downer."
Here's something I know about a person like this, rare though they are: when they express such a truth, they don't want that to be the truth. Whereas, the gossip-monger, the actual hater, does want Nancy to stink to high heavens. They want all of the forms of that that they can get all day long, every day. It's their entire life now.
Recreational hate and toxicity is allowed, welcomed. A modicum of truth-saying, though, is beyond the pale. Verboten.
Conversely, one will see so much empty praise. It's all lies. Platitudes. It's as though we now come with some chip in our brains that alerts us to insincerity, and that's our comfort zone. That's where we will go. That is who we will be with. That's the group of people with which we'll surround ourselves. That is our secret--as in not officially stated--but highly public handshake.
But you should not condemn someone who says what something is, nor should you think they're some downer, some party-wrecker. You should probably understand that they'd do just about anything for that thing that isn't so good at all, and perhaps quite bad, quite destructive, to be something else, to be something better.
The irony is is that such a person, in reality, is the most positive person in all of the world, because they care that much more than anyone else does about a better result, a better, richer reality. And in some ways, they care too much about you--even as they might ask themselves, and you, in a manner, why are you even alive?--and about people in general, to lie to you. But you--and I mean the general you--will lie to anyone, and you will welcome people lying to you.
I don't think that's having any respect for one's fellow human, or for one's self. And it's hard for me to think of something, behaviorally-speaking, that's a great deal more negative than that.
I don't have respect for people typically because they're usually dumb, lazy, incurious, selfish, stupid, basic, bloated and gassy in every possible way, with no purpose to their lives, no empathy, no imagination, no integrity, and they have a say in all of this. All of this is a decision, a choice to some extent.
But with that being said, I still have a enough respect to not pander and lie to someone.
So what does everyone else really think of everyone else, then? That may be the ultimate level of negativity. It's simply not spoken of. Ever. Because that would be the truth.