What’s wrong with this picture?
Well, I guess that all depends on how you look at it.
If you look at the world from a negative perspective maybe you’re going to think that everything is wrong with it. But if you look at it from a position of happiness maybe you’re going to think that there’s really nothing wrong with the world at all. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that life is either beyond repair or beyond reproach, it just means that these kinds of observations and judgments are pretty much subject to one’s internal influences. As much as we might like to think of ourselves as impartial, or at least capable of impartiality, we, in fact, are not. We are always at the mercy of our physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual state of being.
If I have a headache, maybe the world looks a little bleaker than if my head didn’t hurt like hell. If I’ve been intellectually lazy of late, maybe the world looks too complicated to even give it much thought. If I’m sad, or forlorn, or feeling rejected by someone that matters to me, maybe the world feels very unwelcoming, or too uncaring. If I’m feeling spiritually disjointed, confused, or lacking in faith, maybe I just don’t care about the world at all.
And, on the other hand, if I feel great physically, the future may look bright. If I’m been exercising my mind, maybe I understand the world just a little better than had I been indolent. If I’m happy, maybe I experience the world with its arms wide open to me. And if my faith is strong, maybe I see the majesty of God in the world around me.
We don’t like to think that we look at things in black and white, but in fact, black and white thinking asserts itself independent of our own intentions. We credit ourselves as liberal assessors of any given situation, as conscious evaluators, as contemplative thinkers, as sensitive appraisers of the world around us, but in any plausible judgment of life in and around us we fail in our thinking to compensate for the influences that affect those same judgments.
The only way I know to remain positive about the world around me, however, is to put myself, and keep myself, in the best physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual condition that I’m capable of. It, in and of itself, tends to produce an attitude of gratitude that enables a positive connection to life and living. If I’m going to err in black and white thinking, at least I know I’ll be erring on the constructive side of things, and that always seems to do better by me than the alternative.
Only then can I be confident that I see things as alive and regenerative. Only then can I truly count on understanding what’s wrong with this picture.
And what is right with it as well.