Positive negatives

Discovering content in the modern world is strangely beautiful and terrible

Positive negatives

We need a word for experiences that are positive, but their undertones are negative. The situation that happened to me feels a little like this:

I discovered a new song on Spotify that resonated super deeply with me through my Discover Weekly. Looking at the two collaborating artists, I thought to myself "Who are these incredible musicians?!"

Clicking on each of their names, I discovered that I not only added them both to my list of favourite artists, I had already added 3 other songs from each of them into my Spotify Library.

So why is this negative?

Because I felt a little sad that I didn't have any memory of doing this simple act of curation in the past. I was sad for the musicians who are almost invisible behind the giant wall of Spotify's interface which delivers music thoughtlessly into my ears.

But it's also positive because two musicians that I admire worked together, and Spotify's incredible recommendation algorithm sent it my way.

Some might argue that this experience is either all negative or all positive. All negative because the entire thing wouldn't have been possible without this monolithic corporation recommending it to me while simultaneously underpaying the musicians. All positive because forgetting things is a normal part of the experience and if it wasn't for Spotify these artists would have been forgotten forever or I may not even have discovered them in the first place.

I don't care about the "all negative" or "all positive" arguments frankly—not only in this context, but in all contexts. They are almost always unsatisfying, closed-minded, and untrue. Hence my desire for a word that captures this "negative positive"… Maybe that word is just "reality" but that's boring.