Thursday, July 14, 2005

46. pessimism/optimism/realism

About a month ago, a friend and I were talking about optimism and pessimism and where between the two reality resided. Which is an interesting question because life isn't all bad and life isn't all good. So then, should one be an optimist and always expect the best of life only to be disappointed time and time again or should one be a pessimist who always expects the worst but is occasionally surprised when things turn out well?

Put that way, it seems like pessimism is the way to go but the problem with being a pessimist is that it's like bad BO - people may not say anything for fear of hurting your feelings but it sucks to be around you. I suppose Buddah-mind would say to not have any expectations and to take things as they come, but I don't know, that seems like kind of a cop out...and that's just too hippie/granola for my city-bred mind.

So I've been kind of working through this optimism/pessimism problem in the back of my mind and here's what I've come up with. You need to be both. Oh, thank you very much. I'll be waiting for my philosophy award nomination from the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies in the mail...should be arriving any day now.

No, really. You need to be both in order to have a reasonably accurate view of life...because life is both joy and pain, hope and dread, sun and rain. But it's not that simple (and here's where my brilliance really kicks in). Are you going to be a pessimistic optimist or an optimistic pessimist?

Here's the difference. A pessimistic optimist (p/o) believes that things will normally turn out for the worse but is open to the possibility that things may turn out for the better every now and then. An optimistic pessimist (o/p) believes the opposite - that things will normally turn out for the best although sometimes, shit happens.

I like to think that I've become a o/p after years of being a p/o. And even though the switch took place recently, I can already say with confidence that being an o/p is light years better than being a p/o.

That's all. A short blog for a change. Just food for thought - bite sized.

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