Saturday, November 5, 2011

Zero Negative Space

For the thousandth time my friend walked up to me and started complaining about me not having a Facebook. "Tina, why don't you have a fb??!!" I started the usual response by listing all the evils of the internet, but that left me so unsatisfied. My reasons for not having a fb have always been, up to this point, because my parents said no. There have been many times where I complained to them about being deprived of an internet social life. But, I really saw the wisdom in what they said. Not having a fb has left me free of so much misery that I see in other friends. This is not true of every person, but I know that for some people fb has left them tied in knots emotionally. I would love to go into a discussion about that, but not right now.

First, I want to think through exactly why I don't have a fb. I have thought and thought about it until it hit me this morning. The question is,

"What does fb have to offer me that I don't already have?"

Well, nothing at the moment. I have a fine social strata, a phone that I text on all the time, a blog, an email, ect...

The honest reason I don't have a fb is that I don't need one. For me, if I don't need it I don't have it. I mean, I intentionally cut it out of my life. In order to better explain this, I need to dig a little deeper into a different discussion. Believe it or not, it's a discussion of negative and positive space.

In art, we call it negative or positive space. Positive space is the area in a piece of art that contains the subject matter. The rest is called "negative space." My dad calls it "wasted space." In art, it's not really "wasted" but it also doesn't contain any subject matter. Lets just say, if there were no negative space, it wouldn't matter. If there were no positive space, there would be no painting or drawing. So, negative space, by definition, is unnecessary but always present unless purposefully taken out.

I started to see negative space, not just in art, but in real life. In life, there is a lot of wasted space, especially with respect to your time and resources. If you own a boat and it is just sitting by your house doing nothing for you, that boat is wasted space until you either use it or sell it. If you get in your car and drive to the store to pick up a can of beans for dinner and your kid calls you up to remind you that you already have one at home, that is negative space because it didn't help you get dinner on the table.

This is not true for everyone, but I know for me, right now, fb is negative space. Negative space is negative until you convert it into positive space. Fb is not always negative space. It could be positive space if you are using it to keep up with your best friend, husband, or sibling who lives miles and miles away. It could be positive space if you have absolutely no other way of communication. It could be positive space if you are in a fb group discussing a shared topic of concern. There are lots of ways it could be positive space for you, but to tell you the truth I have fulfilled all of those things in other ways in my life.

So, believe it or not, my response to why I don't have fb is that it is negative space in my life. It doesn't have anything to offer me that I don't already have.

As a person, you really need to have a grasp on what negative and positive space is. You really need to think about your life. My life is really, really simple. I wake up every day and just go through my life, throwing things away. I throw away junk around my house, I throw away memories that drag me down, I clean out my life of relationships that aren't getting me anywhere.

Really, I'm a very selfish person. I'm selfish of my time and resources. In a good way, though! You should really give this a good think, because this is really what life is all about. Life amounts to us converting negative space into positive space. When I think about life and where I'm headed, I think about one day finally succeeding to have zero negative space in my life.

We will never reach a point where we perfectly achieve zero negative space. It's more of an asymptote. We get closer and closer and closer, but never actually reach it. However, we can get so close that negative space becomes imperceptible. To me, that is where life is supposed to be going. That would be, for me, the greatest achievement of all.

As a kid, you have lots and lots of negative space. Fb friends you have just to have them. Brand new shoes because you're depressed. Going into debt because of an unnecessarily expensive car. Highschool. Old boyfriends/girlfriends, ect... As you get older, you lose this negative space. When you die, none of those things will matter.

So, right now, start working on the negative space in your life. Start turning it into positive space by getting rid of old junk and replacing that with stuff that really matters.

What's positive space for me: Writing on my blog, spending time thinking about life, fencing, going to college in highschool, listening to good music, reading, reading, reading good books, going steady with my good job, travelling to as many other countries as I can, learning math, history, writing, biology, chemistry, physics, studying hard for my ACT, working on my hobbies, just to name a few.

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My quick report
Your tender rebuke
Three wise-men