The word “no” is a declaration of the speaker’s intent to be creative. No is what we say when we decide to decide for ourselves. It is a word used to reject the realities of situations as presented or explained to us. No, means “it’s not this way”. When a mother in a store tells a child he can’t have candy, he analyzes the situation and may see that “no” that’s not true, he can have the candy, and he will attempt to creatively construct that reality.
When we think no, we are insisting on new possibilities. We are allowing ourselves to shine a light on the knowledge available to us. This grants us creativity, and the ability to see, and recognize alternatives. We use no in a variety of ways. Our diets are “no” structures. Vegetarians for instance eat no meat. They say “no” to meat, creating a search for alternatives foods and sources for nourishment. Searching leads to a discovery of knowledge for the benefit of the seeker and the benefit of others.
Until we learn to use the power of “no” in our lives we will not be able to control our creativity. In drawing, creativity without control is called scribbling, it has much the same value in life. In our society we say no to many things as a group. We say no to murder, if you want someone’s husband, you’ll have to create other ways of getting them, which isn’t hard.
When a person learns that they can say no to anything they want they can change their world. It takes more than just saying it, or thinking it, to really use the power of no; it has to be present in as many areas of your life as possible. If one learned to truly deny poverty as a concrete part of life we live, they’d create a way of living that did not accept poverty as something they had to live with.
They would realize that deciding to live with something as a perpetual fact is the same thing as causing it. The woman from before had said no to murder so completely that she had to find a way to accomplish her goal that did not include it. Likewise if we individually say no to poverty completely, we can live lives that do not include it. For the woman it was easier, because she lived in a society where it had been long since decided that murder was a no. The ways to achieve her goal through other channels were already well thought out, numerous, and therefore also obvious.
We do not live in a society that has said no to poverty and a large number of other humanitarian and global tragedies. Which brings up the issue of saying no, when all or most of those around us, before us, and even us ourselves have always said yes. The answer is knowledge. If you refuse to live in a world where something exists, and refuse to take any actions that would perpetuate that sort of world, you will have to find alternatives. If you want to end foreign child labor, it’s not simply enough to tell your friends it’s terrible, or vow never to open a sweat shop. Even though those are two ways of saying no, you could still be saying yes in so many ways.
The power of no isn’t just about boycotting either or having to stay away from things you like. It’s about saying no to the situations necessary to get them. It’s about finding new ways to get the things you want. It’s about deciding to live a life that does not produce things you do not believe in. “No” is the light of creativity. It’s about living as a part of a community instead of a product of it. Your ability to deny, to be different, is an essential and unavoidable part of being human. It is because so many people are unaware that they are artists, that we are painting such an ugly, painful, separated existence on this earth.
It probably seems hard to say no to so many of the terrible things in this world, when so many of the things we do contribute to them; but we can. The task seems overwhelming mostly because of how much knowledge we’d have to have to know when to say no and look for a better alternative. A few ways are being a good consumer, good citizen, and being aware. It’s important to know which companies you are buying from, and what they do to the world. Maybe there is a better way of getting the things you need. Voters should focus on the task of deciding which candidates or initiatives will shape the world better. If you look for information you will find it, but it’s also important to be critical and to look for accurate information from multiple sources. Being aware means being ready to find the right path.
If you turn on the no light in your mind, you will find whole worlds of alternatives.