Mamad Purbo

Negative Arithmetics for Losers

Simple negative numbers multiplication sometimes baffles children who first learn it in the elementary school. It is somewhat counter-intuitive that a negative number multiplied by another negative should become positive. There seems to be a violation of consistency: positive number multiplied by another turns into an even bigger positive number; so how come: negative times negative does not become a bigger negative number?

Obviously there are some obscure mathematical explanations for this, but what is more interesting is how this fact might be applicable for daily life of losers, pessimists, and other negatively inclined people in general.

Our society values optimism, progress, productivity as 'positive', while desperation, depression, pessimism as 'negative'. Let us try to use words as numbers and see if we can do the arithmetical trick for words:

Productivity with a dose of optimism begets even more productivity.

Apparently [positive] x [positive] really does = (bigger positive).

But how about negativity? Does negative attitude applied to another negative attributes might produce something commonly considered as 'positive'?

One very common trick that people usually do to overcome negativity is to compare their suffering with other people's misery. Remembering the starving children in Africa kind of crap to make our own life looks superior in comparison, thus feel better about it:

[Feeling bad] x [Thinking about an even worse situation] = [Feel better]

Arithmetics might work after all.

One of my favorite tricks to overcome negativity is to apply Frank Zappa's approach to composition, Kurt Vonnegut's approach to humor, and Gautama Buddha's approach to life: not taking things too seriously and have a good laugh at them.

[Feeling crappy] x [Not taking it seriously] = [Having a good laugh]

Negative arithmetics rules.