Sometimes people think that my work leads to a form of negativity in which we find ourselves lost in a sea of melancholia. The death of the idea that there is something that can render us whole and satisfied sounds, for some, like it sustains and supports a type of eternal complaint against life. But the point is the dialectic opposite: those who constantly complain about their lives are not too negative, rather they have failed to be negative enough.
To clarify, I am talking here of a type of negativity that is insatiable. The type of negativity found in those who are never able to enjoy their existence, regardless of what happens. Those who find it all but impossible to experience depth in their material circumstances (as opposed to legitimate protests against concrete injustice).
In these situations the problem is not that there is too much negativity, but rather that the individual has failed to fully enter into negativity. For behind the claims that ones life is unsatisfactory lies the notion that there is a life, just out of reach, that could offer that satisfaction.
By redoubling this failed negativity to the point where one is freed from the idea of a satisfaction-just-out-of-reach, one is able to enter into a type of material affirmation of the world that exists beyond the superficial nature of both optimism and pessimism.
The individual who is able to loose themselves from the notion that there is some ultimate purpose to their life frees themselves from the negative melancholy that comes with being unable to find that purpose (or the naïve optimism that comes from thinking that they will).
The secret, as John Caputo would say, is that there is no secret. Instead the challenge is to discover and deepen love. For love not only affirms the world, it produces a surplus in that joyful affirmation: acts that enact liberation.