Chicken or the egg. Evolving our vocabulary evolves our thinking and also evolving our thinking evolves our vocabulary. This is yet another benefit of making Positivity a study, rather than just a passing thought.
The heart of the matter
Many of the words we use today have “baggage”. They have history, culture and many other weighing factors that go into their meaning. All of these factors can often lead to negative interpretations or emotions depending upon how the words are taken. Some of the changes are often due to language evolving. No longer does the Christmas carol Deck The Halls have one interpretation with the line “don we now are gay apparel… have but one meaning.
Ego is yet another factor in communication that will often bring a specific interpretation to what is said either by intent or interpretation especially when there is a certain innuendo put upon the conversation. My supposition will shake up a few wordsmiths and long time English teachers for sure, but I am going to now ask you to rethink two comparisons of adjectives we use every day. Good – Bad and Right – Wrong. My conclusion will suggest we replace them in many cases with Positive and Negative.
Good vs Bad
As old as history is, the idea of good vs bad often paralleled between good vs evil has been the major plot throughout the telling of stories, in books and movies. Indeed many cultures include these biases as part of their history and culture. Some of is is changing, some of it is not. Take for example the Americana aka John Wayne epics of Cowboys and Indians. I grew up on that culture, and it was a pretty simple story. Cowboys = good guys, out to protect their families and land, and Indians = bad guys out to steal and kill white men. As a teenager the movie Billie Jack, changed that story for me in a little over an hour as I gained a rapid understanding that the stories I had been fed were sheer and utter nonsense. Over the past couple of decades there of course have been several movies like Dances With Wolves, that have told a vastly different story than the 1960’s John Wayne movies where there was only one truth to the story.
Right vs Wrong
It is the same situation when we use right vs wrong. While history can point out certain wars where one side was fighting tyranny or against and aggressor there are many more examples where there was no one side that was right and no one side that was wrong. Both sides going into battle or professional teams playing sports often think that “God” is on their side, as they pray before the conflict. This illusion is often done based upon biases that cause one side to be unwavering in their belief that their side is the side of truth and righteousness. The greatest loss in American History saw a civil war where both sides believed in its causes and were prepared to fight to the bitter end. There were many different reasons why people enlisted on one side or the other. For the North some fought for the abolition of slavery, others fought to end internal conflict by dictatorial means. For the South some fought to keep their way of life and others fought for self determination, the very cause all American’s had just fought the British. In the end both sides believed they were 100% right, and the other was just as wrong.
Arguments upon arguments have been based solely upon the polarity of opinion, but not just the opinion one posses, but also the context which of course is if they have a good opinion it is the right opinion because it’s the truth. It stands to reason then that the other person is wrong and had a bad opinion and once you buy into party politics you now have partisanship which dictates, that you no longer have to think each issue out, you only need to know what party you are aligned with, and then you spend the rest of your efforts making it right and justifying it’s ideas, and moreover discrediting the other side and making them wrong.
Subjective interpretation will always present biases, however as we try and evolve our thinking and constructs to outcomes and not ego, we can begin to think in terms that in many cases there is not just one truth, there are often two or even many truths about a situation and take on the PosiWord of Empathy and Stephen Covey’s rule from 7 effective habits from highly successful people and first seek to understand and then be understood.
Positive is Constructive and Negative is Destructive
With that paradigm shift comes a different focus. When you are outcome based you no longer think in good and right vs bad and wrong but rater is it the most Positive outcome and does it have the least negative impact. Will there still be a difference of opinion? Absolutely, but it will be based upon the issues and less upon the ego where many of us are predisposed to the position of “NOT BEING WRONG” and will do almost anything to avoid that scrutiny. If you are looking for the most positive outcome it will be weighted evenly on all the input with the criterion being what is the most constructive / positive out come if we do this considering all sided versus what is the most destructive / negative factors to avoid. This makes the “intent” and nomenclature positive in nature and issue focused and no ego or person focused by it’s thinking process. Thus we evolve the world one word and thought at a time.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Please don’t get your mind in a tizzy thinking, “what I can’t say you’re a good dog any more” or that saying “he’s a good person” is now wrong. We’ve had hundred if not thousands of years of using these words and that’s not about to change tomorrow nor under those terms should it. However I am suggesting we be “Mindful” of the context in which we use these terms, and realize that when we make an innuendo of comparisons, IE. we practice the good religion or live in the good country or we have the right way of life, or the right way of doing things, think about the context and consider of using the word Positive in lieu of the comparative and consider that indeed it is a perspective that in our communities will bring us one step closer to harmony and that that in the bigger issues of the world will bring us one step closer to peace.
I truly am not sure if I have done this conversation justice, as there are many aspects to consider in order to convey the proper balance of subjective input on the rationale of using all of these everyday words into proper context. I welcome your insights and input to evolve the conversation.
Positive Imperative / Positive Music Imperative Founder