Sunday, February 10, 2013

Staying Positive in Negative Spaces

I have struggled all my life with depression, yet I have come to realise that I am – at my core – an open and optimistic person. I have learned that life is easier when you focus on the positive in me and in others. I approach the world with a spirit of openness and honesty and I tend to expect the same from others.

But I live in a country which – at its core – has a jungle mentality. Kill or be killed. Eat or be eaten. Here every social, moral and institutional structure has been stripped away, leaving only the most basic instincts of survival. It’s like the Zombie Apocalypse out here: There is no law, there is no order, no morality beyond what we can present to others, there is only might and who has the most gets the most.

Perhaps that is why we are so critical of each other. If the world is a zero sum game where the winners take all and the losers end up with nothing, then in order for one to get ahead others must be taken down. If you need to go to war, fine. But if you can avoid open battle and win through subtle sniping designed to erode the self esteem and self confidence of the other, even better.