Addicted to negativity?

Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene 5.

Another Part of the Forest.

Enter AMIENS, JAQUES, and Others
SONG
Ami.   [sings...]
Jaq.  More, more, I prithee, more.
Ami.  It will make you melancholy, Monsieur Jaques.
Jaq.  I thank it. More! I prithee, more. I can suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs. More! I prithee, more.
 

Right now it seems to me that this entire country is sucking melancholy out of absolutely everything. The news is bad in Ireland of course, but as a nation we seem determined to make it worse still. The entire national discourse is stuck in a groove, endlessly repeating pessimism, fatalism, blame, indignation, cynicism, negativity. We put on the radio or open our newspapers determined to find more of all this.

Yesterday I was talking to some visitors from the United States. They are frequent visitors to Ireland, but this was their first visit in 15 months or so. They simply could not believe the amount of negativity and pessimism they were encountering everywhere. Apart from wondering how on earth we are still managing to get out of bed in the morning, they were observing that, with such an attitude problem, we would probably make our way out of the recession two years after everyone else, by which point also we will have ably persuaded all potential investors that they should look elsewhere.

Yes, we have had a bad fall, and yes, there were reckless and crazy decisions along the way and some reprehensible people. But hey, enough already! We need to snap out of it and start looking to the future, and that’s only of benefit if we do so with a can-do spirit of optimism. We need to stop looking around for people to blame; it happened, and in some measure we were all fellow-conspirators. After all, didn’t we willingly buy the over-priced goods and services and calmly accept the inflated real estate values?

There are ways out of this mess, but all the negativity is making us focus on the past rather than plan for the future. It’s time to move on.

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3 Comments on “Addicted to negativity?”

  1. John Faulkner (BBS1998) Says:

    Well said Professor! It is remarkable that you wrote this blog on the same day that I had a conversation with a stranger about exactly the same thing. It was an elderly gent, Joe, who I met at a service station in Tallaght when on my way to Carlow for the day. Joe, a very nice man, was shocked that I would pump his tyres, check his oil and water, and also take time to converse with him. In our chat, we agreed that the media is obsessed with negativity, and that it is very one sided indeed. I mentioned that we don’t hear enough good news, an example the hundreds of babies born every week in the Rotunda hospital, where my baby son was born recently. Joe agreed, and informed that he was born there himself 74 years ago!
    I have been a keen listener to talk radio for all of my adult life, but must admit that now I cannot bear listening to Morning Ireland as it is all misery and doom. Q102 and 98FM it is for me now.. a bit of escapism on the drive into work..

  2. Jayshree Says:

    Agree!Perhaps it’s high time to look for solutions- after all this mess was also self created.

    Incidentally there is an interesting website that is specifically dedicated to recession victims.It offers help and discusses all issues related to recession-www.angstcorner.com. It’s worth a visit!

  3. Jilly Says:

    Hmm. I think we have to allow for some fairly big cultural differences here; the expression of doubt, cynicism or pessimism is much less acceptable generally in the US than it is here, and our expressions of it are often misunderstood and taken too much at face value by Americans, I think.


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