Positivity? Or foolishness?

"Positivity."  That word has come to have an almost mystical quality to many.

"Think positive!" we are repeatedly told, and not just in words, but in endless posts with pictures on social media.  A lion snuggling a baby lamb.  A rare story of a homeless down-and-out giving his last dime to a lady who needs it for her parking meter.  "Think positive!  Think positive!"  Therein lies our hope!

We generally prefer not to know what went into that cute photo of the lion and the lamb.  How careful the image-maker had to be to make sure that the lion has just had a full meal, and even then, the timing of the shot was critical – that the satiated lion really just wanted to sleep and was in fact rather snappish even toward its skilled handler, to say nothing of the little lamb.  Or that the ever thankful dime recipient, who later to great fanfare set up a "fund me" account for the homeless helper, actually used the funds collected to purchase for herself a BMW.

No!  No!  No!  "Think positive!" we are told.  Why even bring up such things?

Maybe because as much as we may not like it, such is not the way our universe functions.  Maybe the key word is not "positivity," but entropy, the natural order of gradual decline into disorder.  It is the "law" that equally makes even the hardest struck ball fall quickly back to earth – that makes even the hottest of fires burn out.  Embers cool.  Houses and cities and entire nations crumble back into nature's apparently preferred state.

Is knowing and accepting the universality of entropy a call to inaction?  No, hardly that.  We need just look at the lives of people who have thrown up their hands in despair to know where such would lead, or what befalls families where no true adult provides an energetic and thoughtful guiding hand, or at the quality of life in communities that do not do likewise.  Cities fall into ruin.  And consider what happens to even mighty empires that fail to energetically defend their borders.

There be "the Huns." 

There be degradation. 

There be hopelessness and degeneracy and despair.

But "positivity" is not our saving grace.  Active and energetic realism are.

"Positivity."  That word has come to have an almost mystical quality to many.

"Think positive!" we are repeatedly told, and not just in words, but in endless posts with pictures on social media.  A lion snuggling a baby lamb.  A rare story of a homeless down-and-out giving his last dime to a lady who needs it for her parking meter.  "Think positive!  Think positive!"  Therein lies our hope!

We generally prefer not to know what went into that cute photo of the lion and the lamb.  How careful the image-maker had to be to make sure that the lion has just had a full meal, and even then, the timing of the shot was critical – that the satiated lion really just wanted to sleep and was in fact rather snappish even toward its skilled handler, to say nothing of the little lamb.  Or that the ever thankful dime recipient, who later to great fanfare set up a "fund me" account for the homeless helper, actually used the funds collected to purchase for herself a BMW.

No!  No!  No!  "Think positive!" we are told.  Why even bring up such things?

Maybe because as much as we may not like it, such is not the way our universe functions.  Maybe the key word is not "positivity," but entropy, the natural order of gradual decline into disorder.  It is the "law" that equally makes even the hardest struck ball fall quickly back to earth – that makes even the hottest of fires burn out.  Embers cool.  Houses and cities and entire nations crumble back into nature's apparently preferred state.

Is knowing and accepting the universality of entropy a call to inaction?  No, hardly that.  We need just look at the lives of people who have thrown up their hands in despair to know where such would lead, or what befalls families where no true adult provides an energetic and thoughtful guiding hand, or at the quality of life in communities that do not do likewise.  Cities fall into ruin.  And consider what happens to even mighty empires that fail to energetically defend their borders.

There be "the Huns." 

There be degradation. 

There be hopelessness and degeneracy and despair.

But "positivity" is not our saving grace.  Active and energetic realism are.