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Is it possible to be an optimist without being an idiot?
I have been participating in several discussions, (and I swear I will find a way to reward anyone who can tell me how to link to other posts within a post.  I am not technologically simple; why is this small thing eluding me?)  and I am beginning to feel like anybody with experience and knowledge of the world feels obligated to be pessimistic - about other people's capacity for good, about whether the people in the US can find a way to make their voices heard in our government, about whether people actually occasionally put others' welfare before their own. 

Am I an idiot to think that there is goodness and hope and purpose to be found somewhere?  Does it say something about my intellectual capacity (or lack thereof)?  Are we as human beings so far gone that it's not worth trying to resist all of our collective bad habits and misjudgments and try to make something good of ourselves (not as individuals, but as fellow human beings)?
I get to reward myself.  Turns out, if you look at the help menu you learn all sorts of important things.  And just to prove I know what I am talking about, post

(If you didn't know, apparently while you are composing, you can find any other post on the site and it will have a button that says "Refer to this message.")  Beautiful.)
Jackie, it will seem awful simple minded in this land so infatuated with thinking, but there is something that cures both pessimism and optimism.  Both attitudes are utopian.

Generalizing about the nature of the world prevents the world from appearing.  Utopian pessimism and utopian optimism prevent living.  Living, as in the midst of the real; the physically presented, complete with all its riches. 

Although while living-pessimism can manifest as musculature tension, fear, the very nature of embodied life is optimistic.  The air, atmosphere of life, heals like washing. 

We must think, yes.  We must evaluate, place things on the scale between good and bad.  But it must remain only a periodic activity.  Thinking is essentially pessimistic.  It can’t help to be, because it has abstracted its contents from the flux of life as specimens on a slide. 

The goodness and hope and purpose you mention are the very fabric of the act of life.  The are living itself. 

Goodness and hope and purpose are always available to refresh us. That they can’t be spoken has been said so many times that it sounds trite, but that truth is so close that we can experience it at any moment in time.  Goodness, hope, purpose are always at the core of life, even when we are thinking optimistically or pessimistically. 
Ted - Your response is very thought-provoking to me.  Thinking vs. acting.  I hadn't looked at it that way.  It doesn't seem simple-minded or trite to me; it seems like paring away all of the layers of judgment and fear that block a person's ability to act based on what she thinks.  Oi, I have a feeling that didn't make sense.  I guess when you are thinking you are busy pointing out to yourself (or your conversation partner) all the obstacles and trouble and things you have to fight.  It's necessary to do this to some extent, like you said - badly-thought-through actions get a person into trouble.  (Don't I know that.)  But then once you are acting you are so busy -doing- that you don't have time to stop and worry about whether you are doing it wrong.  It's when we spend too much time hemming and hawing about whether what we have thought about doing is the exactly right thing that we never move into acting, and get mired down in pessimism.

So my conclusion to myself is, stop talking so much and get to work! 
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Latest Post: June 3, 2012 at 12:13 AM
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