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Optimism and the absence of evidence

Carl Sagan wrote: the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.

That is, our inability to perceive or discover a thing must never be taken as proof that it doesn’t exist.

It’s always possible that the thing we’re looking for is beyond our current ability to imagine, understand, or detect. Furthermore, the failure to find what we’re looking for can also be an indicator that we haven’t searched for a long enough time or that we’re looking in the wrong places.

Sagan made his statement within the context of scientific inquiry. Today, I’d like to give it a philosophical and psychological application as well:

The inability to see goodness, beauty, or value in the people or events that surround us does not prove that goodness, beauty, and value are absent.

If you can’t see any evidence in your life for being positive, that’s okay. As long as you don’t equate the absence of evidence with the evidence of absence, you’ll always have a chance at discovering something interesting.

Whatever you do, don’t close your mind to the possibility of other possibilities.

Where optimism fails, an open mind succeeds.

At least that’s the way I see it.


T.K. Coleman

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    1. Hi Katherine,

      I just spent the last 10 minutes trying to remove you from my mailing list unsuccessfully. Because my site is hosted on the public version of wordpress, it doesn’t allow me to add OR remove subscribers from my end, BUT no need to fear. Here’s a fast and easy way to remove yourself from my mailing list:

      If you scroll to the bottom of the email for any of the blogs you’ve received from me, you’ll see a link that says “Unsubscribe or change your email settings at Manage Subscriptions.” Click on that link and it will take you to a page where you should be able to unsubscribe with one simple click. I just tried it and it took me less than 20 seconds. If, for any reason, you have trouble unsubscribing, please let me know and I’ll contact wordpress and get their assistance on the matter.

      Take care and have a great week.



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