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Pessimism---Crushing by Its Own Weight
What if We've Been Duped by Experts?
In my intimate school of life there have been a few paradoxes which must have helped towards my graduation---the one that I still keep pushing further ahead like a mirage in a desert. One of them was about my becoming an incorrigible optimist---not nearly as much by getting inspired by other optimists being right, as by seeing all those pessimists being so wrong.
In that process I was increasingly becoming amazed by the seemingly universal human trait to build a whole worldview upon a wrong assumption, never bothering to question its correctness. One example comes to mind involving our previous family doctor who twice misdiagnosed my wife's persistent cough and splitting headache that wouldn't stop.
First it was a whooping cough, to be replaced after next couple of torturous weeks with a bronchitis. By the time the poor woman thought she was going to go insane from pain and coughing, a specialist finally discovered the dangerous inflammation of head arteries which, if not immediately treated, could have resulted with her losing eyesight.
O.K., I understood, everybody is bound to make a professional mistake or a number of them during their working career---and yet, my mind started questioning the reliability of so many of the world's experts of high education. Could they actually be terribly wrong without us never knowing it? Have we, by any chance, been told a mountain of lies that are obstructing our clear view on life and the world, on our innate potential and power?
Is the global warming a fact or a hoax? Are the terrorist really crazy enough to use a nuke and trigger a nuclear world war? Is that "planetoid X" really speeding in our direction? Is that black hole really expanding to swallow our universe? And, long before it opens its horrible mouth, is Donald Trump really going to cause an economic crush making everybody go bankrupt?
Now, wait a minute! What ever happened with all those doomsday predictions that were due last year, and year before, all the way back to that "sure" one at the turn of the millennium? How convincingly did all those alarmists present their cataclysmic predictions.
One question: Why are people still reading them, instead of letting their stories disappear for a lack of views?
Really folks, are we getting some masochistic pleasure from tormenting ourselves with those morbid outlooks? Of course, it goes without saying, the mainstream news media and some of those sick, sadistic online alarmists are playing a number on our sanity; but what about those past ages with historical records clearly showing the same dark passion for the same crap.
Nostradamus was not of these recent centuries; and please, stop me from going to the biblical times. You see, at one point, this matter of optimism-pessimism is not about our hearts' favoritisms, but a terrible lack of an open mind in an absence of any conclusive evidence.
Prompted by an almost standardized collective negativism people form all kinds of nonsensical beliefs that are not far from that ancient pantheism with a god assigned to just about anything in life. Indeed, there is hardly an aspect of life where we don't see a potential threat.
Let us remind ourselves that fear is much stronger emotion than love, since it's directly attached to our survival instinct; hence this bigger popularity of pessimism over optimism. Unfortunately, love has to be cultivated to a point where it would overshadow fear and deserve its divine status of the "biggest force in the universe".
Yes, preserving our ass is way more important than loving our neighbor unconditionally, beside the point that he would seemingly need to work a lot on his looks and acting to qualify for our unconditional love. Also, what would we do with all that carefully collected arsenal for survival if we had to junk it, just to allow love to dominate in our heart's repertoire.
Anyway, is there an explanation that could help in understanding this pandemic of pessimistic worldview enjoying such a popularity, if we are to judge it by the blooming media business feeding on it.
Adulthood---a Crappy Business
In my opinion, pessimism has its roots in our poor preparedness for the gamut of demands and challenges of adulthood---after enjoying the carefree times of parental protection.
In a retrospect we might think of some hardships back there, maybe even some traumatizing experiences, and yet when we go honest about it, we were spared of so many things to worry about on a daily basis, that were giving headache to our old folks.
So we got a sort of caught by surprise the moment we finished our schooling, with our rosy expectations never turning out that way. Youth was the time for dreams, and the cruel world of realism didn't waste any time to wake us up from that dreamy state.
Now having to join the work force with all adjustments involved, managing our money between all those have-to's and want-to's, figuring how to go about our romantic life without changing beds all the time...and no end to it. Thinking, adjusting, correcting, and what not---before the next round hit us with marriage and parenthood, household demands and navigating through job advancements, and competing with friends with our possessions.
Could you be willing to accept that a secret part of us, deep down, kept crying over all that which adulthood was dumping on our plate? Even those most courageous by looks and acting must have had their own little pool of uncried tears---but they just decided to march through life despite the fear, not in an absence of it.
So, this kind of thinking brings me to the very explanation of the place inside us from which we are drawing all that gloomy inspiration for our pessimism, so eagerly turning into experts on the theme of "why the world sucks".
Spirited by Birth---Not by Choice
What I have been doing so far in this article is pointing at the fact that all our pessimistic tendencies have absolutely no justification, because they are exclusively based upon our selective assessment of the world. This cherry-picking tendency metaphorically makes every sneeze the beginning of a pneumonia.
I have said so many times in my different articles that it could be named my favorite mantra, but here I go saying it as if for the first time: our mind is playing tricks on us, folks. By "mind" I don't mean our conscious, thinking mind, but that most of it that we never know what it may be up to.
You may find it interesting like I did upon reading how neuroscience has proven for the fact that even our free will is not really "free". Namely, moments before we consciously decided to make any move in life, big or small, it has already been "cooked" in subconscious and served to our thinking brain.
It somewhat reminds me of a philosopher's argument, that---"if a tossed pebble could think, it would believe that it is deciding where to fall". O.K., that must have been a treat to those believing in material determinism, which is not my cup of tea.
And yet, I must say it that even our spirituality doesn't get cultivated if it hasn't first emerged from our depths as a drive that begged for its unfoldment. Yes, that crucial part in our mental assembly of forces which is to detect our mind playing tricks on us, including pessimism---has to come out from the unknowns of our essence, we can't "order" its appearance.
If that was possible then every average Joe reading spiritual literature and practicing yoga and meditating would become spiritual---which is not true. Indeed, folks, at least some of you must have noticed this peculiar truism, that with some folks no amount of talking spirituality (not religion) to them will make them spiritual.
People attracted to titles like the one of this article are certainly much more spiritual than those who are fishing for something more "juicy", like "who is the bigger liar in the political arena", or "are we all about to go bankrupt"?
What in You Attracts You to Titles Like This?
This question of optimism or pessimism is all about our spiritual (not religious) unfolding into something the seed of which we carry in ourselves. Can a pessimist turn an optimist and the other way around? Not really, unless we had that in ourselves but were deceived in a way to believe opposite to our nature. It's something like changing the color of our eyes, we can put on colored lenses, but our real eye color stays.
You can prove it to yourself or have already done it---some folks are impossible to convince that things are not as gloomy as they see them. Try it on an anti-Trump hater. Try it on a religious fanatic. Try it on a woman who has been dumped a couple of times. There is no open mind there, no spiritual overlooking over their mental processes which dictate to them what to think.
Yes, it's about that at times sweetly-painful breaking free through the thick layers of doubt, fear, and basic biological arrogance of life that wants to secure a status in the tribe. So much is at play, and only those who get touched by their spirituality stay afloat of the game. The rest of them are just voluntary pawns in the collective drama of pessimistic survivalism.
So here we come to the end of my story which hasn't given a glamorizing treatment to optimism, but by trashing the nonsensical nature of pessimism at least pointed at the life-promoting truism that thinking big about life is the next best thing to do after breathing.