Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Original Posting

Optimists are wrong, this is my conviction. The idea that life is a good ride that's just going to keep getting better seems to be based on excluding a lot of available information. Of course, not every optimist exists at the blissfully ignorant extreme of the gradient, but, in my experience, the more optimism in a worldview, the more wishful thinking and less realism.

But that's not what this Bullshit is about.

This one is about the other extreme, which I've come to find we're just as likely to compromise realism for. Pessimism. There is a part of us that wants to believe we live in a world of shit, surrounded by monsters wearing human skin, and believing that wherever you turn something malicious is waiting to consume you. This too, it seems, is not the case.

What's the point here, apart from the fact that I need to bullshit something in the next 80 minutes or this blog will fail before it gets started?

It seems, however, that we tend to give pessimism a pass; someone who says something cynical is more likely to have their statement accepted at face value whereas someone who says something optimistic is more likely to meet skepticism and accusations of naiveté. Perhaps this is because we don't imagine people wanting a bad situation, so we presume that someone who sees the world as poorly sculpted shit is not basing his worldview on his biased desires. Is this really the case, though? Don't we really want to believe that the world is a terrible place, perhaps even just for the fact that we've managed to thrive in the world regardless of it's difficulties?

Single cells that turn into men in a terrible world are more glorious than cells that turn into men in a world made for our happiness.

Now, I haven't included any arguments for or against an optimistic or pessimistic view of the world, I leave that for you, dear reader, to examine for yourself. My only concern here, is with the fact that we seem to consistently hold pessimism to an lighter standard than optimism. This matter can only be solved, it seems to me, with a little internal reflection. Do you find anything within you that would prefer an ugly world? Do you find yourself tending to agree with pessimistic assertions based on the same evidence as optimistic assertions you would disregard?

So ask yourself, when you sit back and talk about how corporations are raping the world, no one cares about anyone else, humanity is going to bomb itself out of existence, and/or politicians are all self-serving crooks, are you describing the world as it is, or have you let your thinking succumb to a pessimistic bias?

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