When I first wrote this blog post I was bombarded by people passing judgement on me for not conforming to their definition of a “positive” life. I don’t have a lot of qualms with an upbeat outlook on life, but I have qualms with it when it’s used to other people and live wrecklessly.
The truth is Ma’at is not always as loving as the presence of Het-Hert. There is a reason in Egyptian beliefs why so many goddesses with the title “Eye of Ra” are also intimidating. Sekhmet, in Her quest to uphold Ma’at, killed many people and was insatiable until She was intoxicated. After turning to Her form of Het-Hert did people restore respect for the gods. While some could argue the respect came from fear, I have to disagree; it was the gods Who saved mankind from Sekhmet in the first place. I’m sure fear played a part in it, but to say it’s the only reason is dismissive of other attributes the Ancient Egyptians felt for the gods and world around them.
If anything, the idea one must be positive at all costs is more fear-based to me than anything I’ve heard in a long time. When I hear people refusing to let any emotions or thoughts become negative out of a fear of manifesting a negative life I think back to when I was Christian. Before I left I found myself growing annoyed with how if I wasn’t a hundred per cent Christian in every way the church deemed acceptable then many thought Satan had won. I had to “be like Jesus” or else I was “like Satan”. That polarity always impressed me with a sense of undue hardship; I lived in fear of myself. When we live in such fear it has a lasting, negative impact on our mental health. Having since left that religion now I see this philosophy manifest in different ways. I’ve seen people resort to mental gymnastics in order to justify the extreme dichotomy.
Most of the time I see people manifesting this fear of negativity in the form of “karma”. Usually it’s a sense of how if I’m not acting in a way that is how they would act I’ll incur the wrath of an angry, Westernized form of karma. I disbelieve Ma’at / karma / etc. is an input-output machine, but I will delve into that point in another post. What I find a bit annoying is the sentiment of how one must polarize views and then only pick one side. How can one live positively if one must oppose himself to a concept within a concept? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of polarity in the first place? Or is the purpose of polarity to simply enforce our sense of exclusivity in the world (the “us” versus “them” mentality)? Why do people who reject the notion of a God versus Satan theology seek out different manifestations of the same view? I have no doubt this sense of “positive” and “negative” living is most likely a manifestation of our urge to form social groupings and hierarchies. That’s why some groups will label themselves “good” and groups they don’t like “evil”. It allows them to psychologically validate any actions against people that are reprehensible otherwise.
By the same token there is some precedence magically to manifesting something positive or negative. It’s why some make sigils so that one doesn’t negatively affect an outcome. I think it also influences sometimes how one shifts their focus of the world. If one sees the world as a dirty, evil-ridden place one will see only evil around them. However, at what lengths one should implement this philosophy in everyday life is debatable. One should definitely keep it in the foreground of their mind, but certainly not live in fear of a view that will summon all the bad things of the world to their doorstep.
Honestly, personal validation of our beliefs and actions may be the ultimate end of why I see the positive living or die mentality. We all want to believe the way we think or act is the living in accordance with our reality. Not everyone wants to be the bad guy; even those who claim to be the bad guy may not truly believe they are bad. We want to know, deep down, we are right. However, these things are so subjective that the only way one can objectify it at times is through validation culturally, morally, and socially at the very least.
Ma’at is Ma’at. The Divine Order does not behave in a way in which we personally would view as “positive” all the time. A sunny day doesn’t always mean it’s a lush, comfortable one; sometimes it’s a sweltering day in 100 degree weather. It doesn’t make the sun “good” nor “bad” because it’s just a ball of plasma. Our experience of that sun doesn’t make us “good” nor “bad” either because it’s just how we experience it.