Friday, May 6, 2011
I adhere to the belief in practical pessimism. Or, as some of us describe it, realism. There is a quote I like: "The optimist says, 'things can't get any worse', and a pessimist says, 'oh, yes, they can!'" The true pessimist or true realist looks for the worm in the fruit, the tear in the cloth, the dirt in the corner, the fallacy in the story, and makes a plan for a worst-case scenario. Then, when the worm, the tear, the dirt, the lie or the disaster appears, they are prepared to do what is necessary. If everything's fine, they're delighted. Who wouldn't be? They don't want problems, they just expect them. The poor, poor optimists are so very certain that the universe is benevolent that they must spend a lot of time being disappointed and/or flailing around trying to grasp what to do. Of course, we are all a bit of each. Who of us doesn't worry, who of us doesn't want to expect happy endings? Santa Claus and all that. But I can't help feeling that if the ratio was about 80 percent pessimist, 20 percent optimist, one would be better prepared. I keep working on my ratio, and it's really hard to do so on a fine spring day.