Friday, August 1, 2008

Thinking Positive

Among many other things, I'm polyamorous. I'll talk more about this and other sexuality related matters in a future post, but the point here is that I used to define myself as nonmonogamous. When I came upon the term 'polyamory', I decided that I liked it better because it spoke of what I was, rather than what I wasn't.

After this I started looking at other aspects of my life. For example, I used to describe myself as a nontheistic pagan and a strong advocate of nonviolence--and an anarchist as well. I noticed that all of these terms define what I am not, rather than what I am. Even anarchism means against government and hierarchy.

I've made a decision to define myself by what I want rather than by what I'm against or don't do. Instead of using the term nontheistic, now I call myself a naturalistic pagan. Rather than seeing myself as an anarchist (and, of course, the term antiauthoritarian is even more clearly negative), I talk about being egalitarian--an egalitarian communitarian seems to be the current version of what was called a 'communist anarchist' a hundred years ago, before the Soviets ruined the term 'communism'. (I like the term 'eco-communalist' even better.)

Nonviolence seems a trickier term to replace. What is the opposite of violence? There are people who espouse love and justice who believe that killing may be necessary to achieve that. (I don't.) I have started talking about loving-kindness, compassionate action, generosity of spirit, and revolutionary forgiveness. I find it also important to talk about aligning actions with the goal--if you want a world that is loving and compassionate, you need to act in ways that are loving and compassionate.

Some hypnotists claim that negatives often contain 'embedded commands' within them that are the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. For example, statements like "Don't bomb the Middle East!" and "Don't destroy the planet!" (often seen on protest signs) actually contain the countercommands 'Bomb the Middle East!' and 'Destroy the planet!' and while our conscious mind hears the first two statements, our unconscious mind absorbs the countercommands within them, thus sabotaging exactly what we're trying to achieve. How much better to say things like "Create peace in the Middle East!" and "Work with the earth!".

Dwelling on what we don't want to see happen, only gives power to those things. Let's focus on what we want to see happen. While it is important to stop or limit the destruction that's going on now, it is even more important to begin to create and build the alternatives.

Quote of the day: "A man [sic] is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes." - attributed to Gandhi
Word (or phrase) of the day: Polyfidelity
Hero(es) of the day: The Zapatistas

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