Saying No in a Yes-world

Retweet, share, rate, join, check in, like: we live in a time of constant affirmation. But what does all this “yes” mean without a little “no”?

At the Schlingensief Seminar held at Hebbel am Ufer 3 on Monday, Johannes Hoff (a Catholic theologian with whom Christoph Schlingensief shared a “lively exchange of thoughts about last things and last questions”) and Carl Hegemann (the friend and dramaturg who put the two in contact) talked about Schlingensief’s search for ways to come to terms with death during his struggle with cancer. Acceptance is loss’s clichéd little brother, a familiar trope in discussions like this, but a different spin on this idea of acceptance also kept popping up between Hoff and Hegelmann: To be ready to die, you have to consider everything to be egal, the same –- life and death, traditional notions of good and evil, what makes a good life or a bad one. And you can achieve that egalitary perspective by saying “yes” to everything.

A simple enough statement: Always say “yes.” It’s a word that comes easy in a world that seems to want nothing more from us than yes, yes, yes. From the “Like” function on Facebook to the yes-I-am-here mentality driving foursquare, we seem to be in a constant state of affirmation: seeking something to affirm, hoping that someone else will affirm us. Continue reading Saying No in a Yes-world