The strange tides of time bring us strange forms of malevolence, and if we are not careful some forms of evil can be so well concealed in all things nice. No other text may have put this better than the Bible when it said “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mathew 7:15). The dire need for us to start calling out people for using “positive things only” to silence others and enforce apathy has never been greater.
While the extreme cases of this behavior are rare they are not nonexistent. These men and women tend to often represent themselves as extremely compassionate and sensitive beings who at a call of duty would be willing to sacrifice anything and launch to save the world. However, people who deal with them often find it extremely offending and at times deeply hurtful when they suddenly deflect or attack others for presenting harsh truths and calling other's attention to the issues with phrases that range from “let us not be so negative”, “I want only positive things here”, “take your complaints elsewhere, we are trying to stay positive here”, “no negativity is allowed” or “shut out all negativity and focus on the positives”.
While a certain amount of this drive to focus on what is turning good is what maintains our sanity and helps us perform with renewed capacity in the face of failures, the behavior becomes extremely counterproductive and harmful to the cause at hand when they use this to prevent people from speaking up about issues conveniently shutting down an intellectual discussion that might be calling out them for the wrong that they or their concerns are doing.
To control a common forum
The individuals who tend to exhibit this behavior are often associated with groups or forums which is supposed to be actively having an open, scientific and inclusive discussion of sensitive topics. They extend from NGOs, online discussion groups, etc where the sensitive topics such as racism, politics, social injustice, civil rights, rights of children and the age-old heavyweight champion of it all – women's rights.
Whenever the discussion in these forums tends to step on the toes of the political, social or personal ideology of these individuals they respond aggressively by silencing others and demanding that the speakers stop continuously pushing negativity.
This is painfully counterproductive as this allows very important discussions to terminate abruptly, the forum to fall silent and for the decision and understanding of the forum is left at half capacity. This works very effectively because nobody wants to be the one disturbing the peace in a social setting and it tend to be much easier to just let go. Time and again this silences some of the most passionate people from being able to make their case.
This is also an absolute misuse of power when the person who does this is at an administrative position as they can bully the forum into silence and enforce their often corrupt, un-scientific, apathetic or broken ideas instead of allowing due space to discuss out the matter. In matters of concern such as those mentioned above, this can mean the difference between making the situation worse and solving it.
To silence dissent
There are forums where dissent is permitted, such as in a debate or in a democratic process, and there are forums where it is not permitted, such as the military. Dissent by itself is the simple most important factor in allowing a healthy and respectful discourse of ideas which is one of the reasons why model law fights with tooth and nail to protect our right to dissent.
However, the 'posiopaths' (yeah) tend to facade the forums they run as dissent friendly open forums while hiding their thirst for absolute authority in a charade of communications calling for elimination of negativity and to stoppage of discussion of disturbing topics.
The depth of malice in this can only be noticed when we take time to observe that the topics considered “negative” are often just ideas presented that are against what they themselves believe is the truth. Their inability to comprehend anything beyond their belief and the childish tantrum they pull to silence that often points to a narcissistic tendency.
To hide hypocrisy and privilege
Nowhere is this more visible than in discussion that concern some of the most fundamental ideas that deal with our society. They often come in mixes of other tendencies that are as venomous including extreme nationalism.
When someone was ok with the discussion of how great the economy is but can't last five minutes on why minimum wage needs to increase is an excellent example. Women's rights are another area this is often very visible. When someone loses it all when someone brings up the dark reality of how women are still denied their right in the majority of the world and calls for positive only comments; is not just a hypocrite but is someone who is too immature to understand what privilege is all about.
To cover irresponsible or unproductive work
This great weapon used by the 'posiopaths' also serves as a critical tool to hide incompetence from their side or of their concerns and to push the fabricated image of efficiency and quality.
This can be seen in individuals ranging from your next-door neighbor to world leaders. The call for positivity allow them to hide the actual message “I do not accept criticism” in socially acceptable packaging.
Everything else is an agenda
Like how the people of the land always call their leaders the noble kings and the ones from the far land as the lawless barbarians, these 'posiopaths' tend to project anything that is not on their list of to-do as an unwanted agenda someone else is trying to inject into the discourse.
They refuse to acknowledge the fact that when people have to work towards the betterment of society it is not the stubborn idea of one, but the collective feedback that produces results.
The negative impact of this kind of attitude only gets darker as we realize that change of heart and change of plans are a function of our perception of the situation and by preventing the presentation and discussion of alternate perspectives one loses valuable vision of the reality of the situation.
The positive only attitude is not just dangerous and borderline sociopathic, allowing them to often enforce an attitude of apathy towards those who need our compassion the most.
Being selective with your compassion is not the course of someone who is trying to do good but of someone who seeks to progress their idea of what the world is and should be like. In other terms fascism.
It is high time that we start calling out these narcissistic behaviors and helping ourselves and them correct this. One way or the other we would all walk a billion miles more in the right direction without them.