Henry David Thoreau spoke on the dangers of superfluous negativity: on reliving things that are dark and tragic.

“If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned…One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications?”

Well put.

Everybody is guilty of this to some degree. We revisit an ugly topic more times than is necessary. We read about a particular war six times, instead of two. We read about a corrupt individual five times, instead of one. And so on and so forth.

To quote Kenny Rogers: “You gotta know when to hold…know when to fold them.”

See Related Article: On the Dangers of Sophistry

 

3 thoughts on “On the Dangers of Superfluous Negativity

  1. we seem to have this bizarre theory that if we don’t learn about something tragic and become emotionally engaged with it, we’re not sympathetic to hurting people. and it’s a lie.

    it does no one any good if we drown ourselves in the negativity of this world.

    there are people who are able to handle certain difficult things better than others – i believe God gives them a gift to do so. my husband deals with one of these kinds of things almost daily, and it doesn’t bother him at all. he can’t tell me about it because i can’t handle it, at all, and it will upset me for extended periods of time. but him? it’s not a big deal. it doesn’t mean he’s not compassionate when he needs to be, it means he has a gift to be able to handle it.

    not having the gift or ability to handle a lot of negativity or tragedy, i avoid even knowing about a lot of things. or, if i must know, i stick to as few details as possible. the less drama of any kind i allow into my life, the better i am. the better i am, the better i’m able to be who i need to be for my husband and my kids and my life.

    1. “it doesn’t mean he’s not compassionate when he needs to be, it means he has a gift to be able to handle it.”

      Very true. Everybody handles their own struggle in a different way than we might.

    2. “…not having the gift or ability to handle a lot of negativity or tragedy, i avoid even knowing about a lot of things. or, if i must know, i stick to as few details as possible.”

      You’re probably better off for this, no doubt

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