The nature of pessimism

Pessimists are happy dreamers.  They make the world in their own image and so always manage to feel at home.

That is from Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet.

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One who thinks pessimists are secretly happy must be an optimist.

Indeed, and reading this brings me joy.

You both are reading this wrong. Pessimists suck because they make everything around them suck to put it in less than 140 characters. Book of Disquiet is a melancholy collection born of solitude and heavy weariness of life. Here's a taste:

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/983806-livro-do-desassossego

I was joking... At least, retroactively.

Retroactive joking is a good idea, dan1111. I might steal it.

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haha, in a more serious tone, the solitude and heavy weariness of life were authentic, the guy drank himself to death.

He's a cuck.

Possibly, it was Heinlein that wrote something along the lines of optimists see the doughnut, while pessimists see the hole - and it is the pessimists that have a clearer view.

Anybody else think Trump is being a bit of a pessimist now? He's so scared that he wants to juice the money supply with either interest cuts from the Fed or payroll tax cuts. He has little faith in his own actions and policies. But then again the government revised its jobs number back half a million and the American people, 80% of whom live paycheck to paycheck, continue to complain about pay.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-created-500000-fewer-jobs-since-2018-than-previously-reported-new-figures-show-2019-08-21

Please, the Chosen One remains a very stable optimist when it comes to the Chinese trade war that should have taken place years ago.

Which only makes sense when our president knows that 'trade wars are good, and easy to win.'

At least compared to buying Greenland from a nasty woman that blew off the U.S. under him. a leader who apparently has no fear of insulting the USA by saying the idea of Denmark selling Greenland is 'absurd.’

Can you believe that these events cover about 72 hours of the Chosen One's life? At this rate, he will be bigger than the second coming in the ratings.

I remain an optimist that the pure entertainment level of the Trump Administration will continue, at least for another 72 hours.

Pessimism is the default condition for humans. Optimism requires effort. The lines in Cowen's blog post remind me of the expression misery loves company: miserable people aren't happy (or happily unhappy) unless they make the people around them miserable. The lessons of pessimism come early in life. I remember my grandmother telling me to eat everything on my plate because there are starving children in the world. I'm not sure how my full stomach would help starving children, but it succeeded in making me a pessimist (that there are starving children).

I understand that many tech billionaires are pessimists, so miserable they have joined forces in what's known as the Dark Enlightenment. They want the rest of us to be pessimists too. Many white males are pessimists, so miserable they have joined forces in what's known as Trumpsterism, coming together from time to time with their leader to rant and rail about people who aren't as miserable as they are. Religious people, who should be pessimists because so many good people in the world suffer inexplicably, are often the most optimistic. Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are optimists because the End Time will arrive at any time: they are optimists both because they will be God's elect and experience eternal peace and because people unlike them will experience eternal fire.

Sally Rooney is a much acclaimed young writer whose main characters in her novels are self-loathing pessimists, happy only when their lovers beat them. Karl Ove Knausgard has written an autobiographical series of six novels that chronicle his miserable life. Six volumes! Published in 35 languages! Do people read such books because they are optimists or pessimists?

Investors are in a class by themselves: they are optimistic that asset prices will rise forever, but only because they are pessimistic that there's always a bigger fool. Austrian economists are optimists: they are optimistic that markets will have their way with inflated asset prices and collapse, signaling (optimistically) that better days lie ahead. I will end on that optimistic note.

Brevity is the soul of wit. The more one writes, the more one is a pessimist. Or, sumthin.

Not sure whether pessimism and clinical depression are the same.

I find this post half-empty.

"Magnificently unprepared/ For the long littleness of life."

Happily the bloke died young.

"Life is a long preparation for something that never happens" — W. B. Yeats

The world and humanity is how it is. There is great wisdom to be found in truly appreciating flawed humanity in all of its flavors, and the flawed world that humanity has wrought. Change is always very difficult, and fraught with unintended consequences. Even positive change often starts with negative effects. Hence a wise pessimist, one who sees the world with great clarity, is most often correct in his assessment of the world and of our immediate future. He will correctly predict the failure of most ventures, most reforms, most new ideas. He will order his life based on his presumptions, and will profit from his wise cynicism. He will receive acclaim as a modern Machiavelli from those more easily led astray by optimism and hope as the voice of wisdom in a world full of false prophets and proselytizers of all sorts.

But the pessimist has achieved nothing but the wisdom of playing with the house odds when making predictions about the future. Yes, change is difficult, the direction of progress is uncertain, the complexity of the web of life is impenetrable, the odds are always in favor of failure. But only the optimist can bring change. Only the optimist can ignore the odds to challenge the status quo. Without optimists we would not have an economy that grows; in fact we would still be living in caves. So it is wise to reject optimism, to suspect that any optimist is either a fool or a shyster trying to take your money. But it is wiser still to pick and choose among the many hopeful fools and support a few, for only along the paths laid by optimists will we pave a road to a brighter future.

You do Machiavelli a great disservice. He was always an optimist in his ploys to return his political faction back to prominence in Florence.

Pessimism: the new name for "progress"? --the new name for "realism"?

Pessoa seems to continue to emerge into contemporary consciousness almost as slowly as the Comte de Lautreamont: hoorah hooray for our attentive translators.

Pessoa, we should remember, was a follower of the teachings of Prophet Bandarra. He has predicted the coming of the Hidden One (O Encoberto), will lead the Portuguese-speaking world to victory.

otoh
we think the smith college church ladies
rebranded objectivity as pessimism

Pessimism is built into our DNA, a default sentinel, as Freud called it, that helped us survive. German Jews used to joke that that the pessimists went to America and the optimists went to Dachau.

that’s lovely :(

Pessimists are rarely disappointed, but often pleasantly surprised.

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