So the final final is out of the way, I have a bit of a head cold, I’m writing (in my head) this month’s #1000Speak post which I need to put to paper tomorrow, & I find that I don’t want to think too much about anything that will disrupt the compassionate thought flow.

But, being a generally sentient soul, I did want to share some idle philosophizing. There is a trend, at least in the Northeastern US, for churches to use their outside signs (those magnetic letter things that used just announce service and study times) to have cute pithy sayings, and apparently less often, biblical quotes, that are meant to get you thinking. Presumably about going to church. One of the signs I pass by occasionally (the physical church is not on my route, only the sign), is on a main road and always has a different message for northbound motorists than for southbound ( this is unusual, in my experience). I should start by noting that I’m not sure what specific denomination this church is, but that they did promote Harold Camping’s May 31, 2011 end of the world prediction with an actual billboard along the same road, so I’m guessing not entirely ‘mainstream’.

I should also note that I found most of their words of wisdom to fall short – occasionally too cutesy and sometimes just nonsensical (although I suppose that if you ignored the meaning of the words, the phrasing sounded nice). I recall, though, a few weeks ago one really did resonate with me – but sadly, that one didn’t stick & I just can’t recall what it was. Today, though, I somehow noticed the northbound sign proclaiming “Fear is a dark room where negatives are developed“, and I thought well, okay. Maybe. But no, not really. Certainly fear and negativity work hand in hand, but I suspect that the quote is backwards – negative thoughts, negative views, are what drive our fears. Fear feeds off of negativity, not so much the other way around (we can view things negatively without fearing them, but we cannot normally be positive about things we fear). It seems to me that the sign would have been perfect if they’d reversed the thought – Negativity is a dark room where fear is developed. But of course, that would have completely ruined the word play, so I guess that wouldn’t work very well, after all. Which is, of course, why many of these pithy sayings fall short.

So I leave you to ponder the relationship of negativity to fear – and whether we can ever really overcome an innate fear and distrust of the ‘different’ so that we can search for the positives.



3 thoughts on “Ponderables”

  1. Thanks, yeah – glad it’s done, but now I have to figure out what (& when) I want to do with my newfound skills.
    The problem with all of those little sayings & word plays is that – beside often making no sense at all – they are just wrong. Sometimes because the underlying assumption is wrong & sometimes because of the incredible logic leap required to make them make sense.
    And yeas, fear may be rational or not – and honestly, FDR made little sense with that comment, but it certainly served as a combination rallying cry and soothing of frayed national nerves – which is what was needed at the time, I guess. But then I overthink pretty much everything…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad the final final is over for you. That has to be a relief, of sorts. As for fear, negativity, darkness, etc., the real issue is blinding generalities of overly simplistic remarks like the one on the sign. Fear has to be taken in context. Is fear a bad, dark thing if it keeps you from putting your hand on a hot stove burner? Fear of the sound of footfalls behind you as you’re walking home in the dark? Fear that if you quit your job without another in hand that things might not work out brilliantly? Fear of your neighbor because they look differently from you? Perspective and context. “All we have to fear is fear itself” sounded great but was it really that wise? On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot more obnoxious church signs than that. 🙂

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