Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Naivete and Negativity

Life is a great leveler of worldviews. Someone who comes in with a naïve outlook believing that people are good gets taken advantage of and hurt all the time, which eventually results in such a person becoming more wary and cautious. Someone who comes in with a negative outlook believing that people are bad on the other hand is often in for a pleasant surprise when he starts to deal with people who are genuinely good.

The mistake that the naïve person makes is failing to see the wrongs of which people are capable. The mistake that the negative person makes is failing to see the good in people. Often such a person would look at ways to portray anything that people can do as one or another way to do evil. If someone practices good conduct, they want to see it as a sneakier way to do evil. Whatever one may do, such a person will look for ways to portray it as being bad. You are kind to them, it's because you want something from them or are desperate. You are interested in the truth, it's because you want power over other people or whatever other form of nonsense. You do good things, it's because you have guilt or fear in your consciousness. And further on along the same line.

Whereas the naïve person sees everything as good even if it is not such a thing.

The negative person frequently makes the error of mistaking her negativity for intelligence. In fact such people can be just as stupid as anyone naïve. Intelligence is not a function of attitude. It is a function of learning and thinking things through. This is not found either in naivite or negativity.

The rational approach is neither to be naïve nor to be negative. The rational approach is recognizing that anything human is capable of choice, and anything capable of choice can be good or bad.

As the Bible says, don't go to the left or to the right. Do not err either in the direction of naivite or in the direction of negativity. Neither attitude state is the right one. The rightful attitude is the rational one. See people for what they choose to do.

Now there are some people who promote positive thinking as a way to become a winner. In some pursuits, positive thinking does in fact pay. If you are a salesman, being positive will allow you to reach more customers than would being negative. But there are other pursuits where it completely fails to apply. If you are an engineer, you cannot think positive. You have to think critically. You have to anticipate problems. An engineer who thinks positive will design products that do not work.

The solution is not to be either naïve or negative. The solution is using your brain. See people for who they are, treat them accordingly, and share your life with people who are actually good.


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