Humans contain attitude. We can turn a positive or negative attitude off and on like a faucet. But more often than not, we get stuck on one outlook more than the other.
And both postures backfire.
Tell someone to think positive, and the ‘try’ yields a negative outcome. In fact, the harder we try to inculcate a system of upbeat attitudes based on motivational hardiness, the more it becomes a vapid motivational platitude.
Tell someone to think negatively, and they’re more likely to concoct a more darkly artful perception.
The tension between the two opposing life forces is at the heart of who we are.
The hyper-aware neurotic struggles with the think positive-negative dialectic as a first-alarm system; the genius accepts the role paradoxes play in the broader lookout of personal and world complexity. Instead of letting the mind tug the awareness, they put one foot in front of the other and get on with it.
The focus on external reality keeps the philosopher grounded. Humans need more than theory to wander freely; they need instruments to cope with the real and serious possibility of a failed imagination.
Life never happens how we wish to see it. That would be too easy. If the daily experience weren’t such a mess, we’d get lulled into the abyss of complacency. And nothing exciting nor challenging would ever happen.
A type of neutrality is needed to insulate both the positive and negative thinker from the ravages of anxiety.