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Saturday, February 4, 2017

A Nihilist, Two Pessimists, and an Optimist walk into a bar

Dinner discussion last night:

Is there really such a thing as positive energy vs. negative energy? And can people really change the world by harnessing positive energy, if such a thing even exists?

The absolute nihilist at the table said "No. Energy is just energy. You can't prove that it is either negative or positive. Nothing you do will make any difference, so why bother?"

The atheist who wavers between nihilism and optimism said, "Absolutely there is positive and negative energy, and I think that when energy is released from us when we die, it disperses across the universe and has either positive or negative impact wherever it lands. But I also believe that since in the end, we're all going to die and the universe will collapse into a black hole, nothing we do can change that."

The pessimist who has faith in God and a hint of optimism that shines through every now and again said, "Well, maybe if I did something really nice for some unfortunate person, that would be positive energy, and it might make the world a different and better place for them, but it would not absolve me of my wrongs, of my negative energy from my past."

If you know me, you would probably guess that I weighed in on the side of YES! Positive and negative energy are absolutes, and everyone carries both, it is up to us how to harness and use them. And YES! Absolutely people can, and do, and have made BIG changes to the world. Even just one person can make a change.  I feel that when you as an individual do something especially nice for someone who really needs a hand up, (positive energy) and you make their world a better, brighter place, no only do they become happier, but they are more likely to pay that good deed forward and make the world happier for another person, who will, in turn, make the world happier for another person. Cumulative positive energy. There's a chain reaction that happens. Not only does that do good for all those people, but knowing that you helped change the world for the first person, and knowing that you had a positive impact on their life will make you happier and more fulfilled, which gives you the strength and recharges your positive energy that you need to continue doing good and helping others. It snowballs. And even though we're on this tiny rock hurtling through space until we reach that cataclysmic event that annihilates everything in existence, it is incumbant upon us each to do what we can to make life while we're here, happier and better for those around us. We might as well enjoy this ride as much as we can, for as long as we can. At least that's my humble opinion.

This conversation led to the question, from the absolute nihilist of, "So you think that by being positive, that eventually everyone will be all good and happy and everything will all be OK?"

No. No, I don't think that at all. Why? Because there will always be people who can't or won't acknowledge that their negative energy has an impact on everyone around them, and so they will continue to spread negative energy about. But I still believe, with every fiber of my being, that we can strive to make the world as good as we possibly can, and that every improvement, no matter how insignificant it seems, is worthwhile because it could be monumental to someone else.

Both the has-faith-in-God-pessimist and the atheist-with-borderline-pessimist/nihilist-tendencies both of which also have some optimism that sneaks out leaned toward my view, but they both also said that in the end nothing we do really makes a significant impact, and so although they believed that we could make small improvements for individuals, they really wouldn't amount to much.

Fascinating conversation. Where do you fall in? Weigh in and tell me what you think.