Positive News: Not ignoring the weeds but looking past them

I was sitting this morning and scrolling through news about my homeland Zimbabwe. It was dismal; arrests over trumped-up charges, fights between soldiers and the police, squabbling…basically a fiasco of epic proportions, and that is said with the full knowledge that fiascos inherently are epically proportioned. And then I thought about the USA and the Mooch and other news and just how dismal it all is around me. I needed positive news, something to uplift my spirits. No, I did not need a certain practice or to meditate, no, I simply needed someone to tell me something good. Not in that feel-good let’s make a video to restore your faith in humanity. I wanted permanent gains in the progress of the human condition. I wanted progressive developments in the human psyche. I wanted something that would assure me the world is not going to sh*t, not that the world has good spots but that the world is good in some big way. And as I write this I am aware of the critical tone I have. A critical tone towards the evil in the world, and a critical tone towards the feel-good videos and articles. And as you read on you will see I also have a critical tone when discussing all the critical articles out there.

 

Concerning the evil in the world, let’s throw it into the back of this truck as we head to the dump.

 

What’s tough about being positive in the world is not news about the evil in the world. That is always a given. It’s those well-intentioned people who criticize these various evil people. Those good intentioned people who criticize the proffered solutions to the evil. People like me. People whom after you read what they write you feel your blood boiling because well, what I am saying makes you angry. Partly because it is a somewhat relatable observation but also because I am unintentionally baiting you into seeing reason as I fixate on a problem. I say unintentionally because intentions are the most difficult to govern, understand, or explain. If you are educated you would know that there is that thing called the subconscious mind. And that even though you can explain your conscious intentions you cannot explain your subconscious ones away. Because the subconscious is an autonomous part of the self which can make you do something whilst hiding the true reason from your conscious mind. And there begins my confusion and bewilderment. I am told that I grew up being criticized too much and that when I am criticized I feel loved. What do I know? I cannot even say I am writing this to help the world…I know I love arguing so maybe I write critically to scratch an itch. No, not to help but to scratch my own itch and argue with the world. Maybe I do write to help the world…what do I know? So, when I read the article on race, on political correctness, on how horrible the president is (here and abroad), on gender equality, on war…how many of those articles are written by people with mommy or daddy issues, people with self-esteem challenges who want to bring others down, people high on some drug who feel invincible so they write on their feeling great? How many are written by confused people, by paranoid angry scholars? How much of their bitterness sips into well-intentioned pieces? How many are objective enough to actually better the world with their criticism? You can criticize and say maybe feelings should be involved in writing. The thing is if I am left angry, sad about the way the world is, driven to change it not by a love for it but a hatred for my fellow human beings how is the world made better?

 

Don’t even get me started on the need to get clicks and the desire to make money as a drive for the media and other writers like myself.

 

I was laughing as I read that the scientist who first discovered gluten sensitivity was now going back on his discovery suggesting its wasn’t really what he thought it was and gluten may not be the cause. There is definitely good reasons for his backtracking but I still found the headline amusing. I was laughing as I read how Zuckerberg was now wondering if his dream of a more open and connected world was right for the world. I mean you take something you don’t understand well – the world – and you decide to dream on its behalf. Very audacious but getting dangerous as more people get nucleated; liberals unfriending conservatives, extremist forming groups etc…the social platform has resulted in worldwide connection of like-minded people and hence a lack of diversity in thought in some cyber-spheres. I rest my criticism. I am simply pointing out how untrustworthy a lot of what is out there truly is. Especially if it is backtracked every now and then, and at the same time I am getting some things off my subjective chest. This is so hard, I am trying to make the world a better place with this piece as opposed to simply achieving my ulterior motives of criticizing which I so enjoy doing.

I did not know that Zimbabwe enjoyed reality TV that much. I am talking of local reality TV not foreign. Who would have thought that the political sphere would provide such entertainment for the millennials? In fact, maybe entertainment for everyone. While the officials pocket this and that and oppress this person and that person the Millennials are tuning in and commenting like it’s a Facebook video. Believe it or not, Zimbabwe has a system of government that begins with a D, you would never guess it, Zimbabwe is a Dramacracy. I simply had to build up to that punch line but now back to the positive news. – this is so hard.

 

Laughing aside just how can we make the world a better place? Someone once said to me that the world is too big for one person alone to change it. But you can make an impact in your part of the world. And another person said that to think global is to do violence to a world too big for one mind to encompass. It is to flatten the hills, level the valleys and bunch up the oceans in one section. It is to remove the face of each individual and replace it with something far less human. And, I believed these people. I was depressed from the anguish of seeing the world fall to pieces. The weight of the world’s problems was definitely on my shoulders. Once it was lifted I found I could laugh at a joke even though someone somewhere is starving. Once it was lifted I found that I could tell a joke and enjoy a meal even though a family out there is hiding from the rebels trying to kill everyone in their town. And these are just human problems, don’t get me started on the nearly extinct whales and the endangered wolves.

 

So how can I wake up and feel challenged to make the world a better place out of a love for it and not a hatred for those destroying it? After all, I am not sure my writing is making it better. So, by hating those making it worse I may also be including myself. And maybe, just maybe my subconscious does want me to hate myself so it creates a righteous anger that sips into my writing. An anger that ends up destroying my relationships, leaving me alone, and leaving me hating myself so that this objective is achieved while my conscious mind is oblivious. That is why I think it is important to change the part of the world you are in out of a love for it, not some righteous anger or a dislike of others or their methods.

 

So how can I wake up in the morning and read something that will make my love for the world deepen and my desire to add to its betterment growing? How can I read and watch something that helps me to see the triumphing good in the world? Pain and suffering will always be there, how do I live and love without them being the highlighted and magnified things in the world? The weeds exist and I don’t want to merely ignore them, I need help to look past them. Sadly, I do not have the answer. I hope someone out there can help. And I hope that when they provide a solution, people like me will not jump to criticize how it marginalizes so and so, and how it conforms to traditional roles and so on. I hope people like me will consider it and try it out and keep trying these imperfect solutions out. How can something perfect come out of something imperfect…and I mean imperfect human beings. Oh, there I go again, criticizing.

Allen Matsika

Born and raised in the small town in the land of milk and honey in south central Africa, I moved to the USA to study philosophy. The hope was to understand where humanity had lost its way. I took a historical perspective on the trajectory of western thought and was especially struck by Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The memorable description of human nature in that book contributed greatly to my understanding of the human condition.

Life is a misery to be endured until we die. Even those with terminal illnesses find times of respite and laugh and enjoy their lives. So too is mortality a terminal illness. We will all die, I for one am glad this is so. But before that day I will define myself, I will not go without giving everything I have got, and I will love with all my heart.

I am proud to be an Afropolitan; a world citizen of African descend. I am called Allen and I love writing, eating, and singing in the shower!

Allen Matsika

Born and raised in the small town in the land of milk and honey in south central Africa, I moved to the USA to study philosophy. The hope was to understand where humanity had lost its way. I took a historical perspective on the trajectory of western thought and was especially struck by Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The memorable description of human nature in that book contributed greatly to my understanding of the human condition. Life is a misery to be endured until we die. Even those with terminal illnesses find times of respite and laugh and enjoy their lives. So too is mortality a terminal illness. We will all die, I for one am glad this is so. But before that day I will define myself, I will not go without giving everything I have got, and I will love with all my heart. I am proud to be an Afropolitan; a world citizen of African descend. I am called Allen and I love writing, eating, and singing in the shower!

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