The Power Of Positive Thinking

This Sunday’s Newark Advocate (3-8-15) brought to mind an unsourced quote “the state considers as living only that which it can kill.” Quite a paradox! One can’t kill concrete so it must not be alive. Once, being alive implicated agency (intent, choice, etc.). The last horse to be sentenced to death by hanging came at the turn of the 18th to 19th century. At one time the very real war time existence of the enemy as a threat was verified by body count. Today, too many wars to count. It also brings to mind the last wolf killed in the great Granville (Pataskala?) swamp hunt of the early 1800’s. The obvious irony of all this is that if it is killed, how can it be recognized as living? Part of this may have to do with negative logic or thinking (thought process). Since the “positive” of creating or maintaining life or living can not be accomplished (tradition leaves that in the hands of the Almighty) then knowledge of this dynamic wonder can only be achieved on the basis of the trace and residue of its absence; hence, negative thinking. On a more mundane level, expert job creators (not to be mistaken for the Great Creator) continuously stress being positive on resume’s and in job interviews. Just the same, relying on the criteria of the destruction of something as valorizing its inimitable and irreplaceable life sustainability is, well, rather Orwellian. Kinda like blowing up a suitcase to say it was a bomb. In the end one is left with nothing more than the satisfaction of having destroyed something. Worth mentioning during a job interview? Newark’s Director of Public Safety seems to thinks so (at least for his boss’s sake). In an op ed column he expands on the wonderfulness of using Moving Ohio Forward funds (originally Homeowner’s Mortgage Settlement money?) for the demolition of 50 structures (one of which was the historic Children’s Home). Analysis found this to be incredibly negative, both in narrative as well as thinking. The column obviously could not go positive. That would require stating that 50 new residences were created for people to inhabit safely and securely. Rather, Mr. Spurgeon chose to state that 50 cases of blight were destroyed (which once were inhabited. Like the last horse hung, what determined the final occupancy?). It is no coincidence that this same paper headlined 5 aspirations (“goals”) for community building in Newark, er, “in order to thrive long term.” One deals with the absence of job skills coupled with the absence of adequate education, another with the absence of getting through the day without mother’s little helper. The last three are a kind of interlocking composite consisting of the absence of new commercial development in Newark itself as well as residential property ownership within Newark (The old real estate saw of “Location, location, location!”). Analysis finds these to be rather negative statements, something a job creator would not accept (though the Great Creator might). Would it have been so unacceptable (or impossible) to state these positively? Insisting that workers educate themselves, on their own dime, without the historic assistance of union apprentice training, may have left some jobs on the table unfilled. But hey, profits are up. It is a good and successful business strategy. Today education itself is big business. This success helps skill facilitating centers as well as lending institutions thrive. What could be more positive? Much as highland laborers in the Andes chew coca leaves, sweatshop workers chain smoke cigarettes, etc., central Ohioans rely on Aleve, Bayer Back and Body, Nyquil, and prescription pharmaceuticals (“That same year [2013], Licking County physicians prescribed opiates at a rate of 61.3 doses per resident, up from 59.4 doses in 2010.”). That’s positive. Saying that the denigration and submissiveness of precarious employment should be endured stoically, without pleasure, is a real downer (negative). The real estate location, ownership and development trio likewise could be stated positively. The creation of private business “campuses”, with their tax credits, abatements, incentives, etc. and their reliance on publicly funded infrastructure has contributed to profits being up for the landlords, developers, as well as the corporate tenants of these previously backward rural areas (the stock market is at all time record highs). Not being located in Newark itself is a blessing by freeing up areas for more residential rentals, facilitating a bedroom community for the precarious employment that these corporate “campuses” provide. Profits are up for residential landlords, developers, auto dealers, and financial lending institutions. Win Win! (“Rentals account for 44 percent of the city’s total occupied housing units, compared to 32 percent statewide, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Add in all the vacancies, and homeowners occupy just 51 percent of housing in the city.”) Every cloud has a silver lining. Analysis finds positive implications in Mr. Spurgeon’s negative thinking. The director’s enthusiastic presentation embraces these bedroom community entrepreneurs. Seeing through the negative logic, the message becomes clear: build it, profit from it, exhaust it, and we will clean up the mess.


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