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The Death of Tough-Minded Optimism

“There comes a time when all that remains for us to do is to surrender to the idiosyncrasies of our nature.” -Floriano Martins

This blog is no longer titled “Tough-Minded Optimism.”

Future posts will not be constrained by any commitments to express ideas that are categorizable in terms of “self-help” or “spirituality.”

As a thinker and a writer, it is time for me to grow up.

I am leaping out of my comfort zone and diving into a wider realm of ideas and interests that extend beyond my affinity for inspirational thinking.

Am I done with optimism? No, but I am done with limiting my posts to topics that fit within the boundaries of “that which is intended to inspire.”

I will share and discuss whatever turns me on philosophically and psychologically.

My new tagline says, “Ideas are my intoxication. Philosophy is my psychedelic.”

To me, an interesting idea is the most powerful drug.

The intentional and imaginative contemplation of such ideas is a distinct form of “mind-tripping.”

Using ideas as my Stargate (that’s a shout out to any SG-1 fans out there), I’ll be taking exploratory trips to and through the various conceptual, archetypal, and meditative worlds of inner space.

From the familiar to the fringe, I intend to investigate all that fascinates me.

This is the death of Tough-Minded Optimism and the birth of T.K. Coleman.

If you’re a fan of the musician Prince, you can just call me “the artist formerly known as the Tough-Minded Optimist.”



P.S. For as long as I feel inspired, I’ll continue to post self-help related updates on my Tough-Minded Optimism fan page on Facebook.

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  1. I thought that you had lost your motivation….now I understand. Thanks for some inspiring ideas:) I will continue to visit your site because my husband and I use it as a springboard for some very interesting discussions.

    1. Thank you, Louisa. I’ve always been motivated (although my best writing doesn’t show up everyday), but now I am motivated to play in a broader space. Because optimistic thinking is part of my core, I couldn’t imagine myself ever writing from a pessimistic perspective, but I feel moved to explore broader things as well. For instance, I have a deep interest in philosophical questions about math and, although I see no connection between math and optimism, I need to give myself permission to write about it. That’s essential to my evolution. This blog started as an experiment in personal development and I want to make sure I keep that aspect at the forefront. I am honored to know you have found stimulation in some of my posts. Thanks for sharing that with me.

  2. I am actually quite excited by this news. Expansion is always fun! Good for you TK.
    Oooo, new topics to contemplate……. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Although I have loved your posts to date, im delighted about this change and eager to hear what you think! Will you start a new blog or continue here – it would be nice to refer to past posts on occasion. Or, you could do a compilation??!!! Always enjoy your perspective! Diane

    1. Thank you. All the old TMO articles will remain right here on this site. I also plan on compiling some of my favorites into an eBook at some point. I am also certain that the optimistic spirit will continue to shine in future writings. I just won’t censor myself from writing about things like aesthetic theory or economics just because there is no obvious connection between those subjects and optimistic philosophy.

  4. We are more than words and actions.

    We are of stardust and the universe.

    We are multiple. (Walt Whitman)

    Our chief aim is to live firsthand. Self-directed. Autonomous.

    We may mourn an ending, and celebrate a new beginning.

    And when doves cry in the purple rain, we rejoice.

    To the start of a new adventure.

    1. Your “when doves cry” reference is among the most brilliant linguistic moves I have ever observed ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers, indeed, to new beginnings, Alana. Thanks for all your support and stimulating comments and thoughts.

  5. I am in the last 1/4 of my life. You are in the first 1/3. of yours.

    There were times in your more recent posts when I had the most powerful urge to
    jump at some of your posts and challenge you.

    Then I would stop myself. The urge would pass.

    A quiet passage in a book I read over 25 years ago would flood my mind:
    “Teach me to care and not to care. Teach me to be still.” (Thomas Harris)

    I was observing an ideological evolution. Didn’t want to insinuate myself.

    The power of Ideas. Thinking of Archimedes ‘ statement: “Give me a firm place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”

    The mechanics of a philosophical fulcrum to launch into this new world.

    What a journey to contemplate! Gives one goosebumps.

    And how does one explain the passion and excitement of all this.? Ah-h-h that is
    the quest ion and the quest.

    Oscar Wilde one wrote : “Most men deserve the face they have at 50. ”

    Don’t lose that beautiful smile.

    To infinity and beyond………!

    1. Thank you for these kind and inspiring words, Alana.

      I needed to take a hiatus from reading and replying to comments here for awhile. I’m glad I did, but now i have much catching up to do.
      I appreciate all that you’ve been sharing.

      Of course, when you say the following my interest is piqued:

      “There were times in your more recent posts when I had the most powerful urge to jump at some of your posts and challenge you. Then I would stop myself. The urge would pass.”

      I’m curious as to what you’re referring to.

      I admire and respect your choice to not “jump at me.” Just know, though, that I am welcoming of challenges. Dialogue sparked by disagreement/diversity is one of my most cherished catalysts for sharpening my mind and stepping outside of my own worldview.

      Cheers to ceaselessly evolving ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. I will definitely do that, T.K. I keep some of these posts in a separate folder.

        With the proviso that I don’t mean to jump at you. I separate the man from his
        words. Therefore, “jump at some of your posts.” Perhaps I should explain that
        words jump off the page at me when they get my mental juices flowing. So I reciprocate by having my words jump out.

        As a preface I will just throw a broad observational hat into the ring: . Impressions.

        At times, your posts were sounding very New Age-y and esoteric. So open-ended
        that some of the thoughts were in jeopardy of losing gravity and disappearing into
        the ether zone. Was fearful that your “firm place to stand” was losing its footing.
        I was thinking: Oh, oh. California’s overtaking T.K.

        Again, just impressions open to your challenge.

        I was balancing all that with your enduring sincerity, often richly thought out posts and search for the truth. And trying to figure out where your anchor is.

        So if all right with you, will respond to some of your points in the very near future.


    2. Alana,

      Your proviso is understood and appreciated.

      The ability to separate the person from the philosophy is a rare but noble attribute and I am glad to know that it finds home in you.

      With regard to your general observation, I would love to hash some of those things out. I think it would make for fun discussion.

      I love your description here:

      “At times, your posts were sounding very New Age-y and esoteric. So open-ended that some of the thoughts were in jeopardy of losing gravity and disappearing into the ether zone. Was fearful that your โ€œfirm place to standโ€ was losing its footing. I was thinking: Oh, oh. Californiaโ€™s overtaking T.K.”

      I may need you write that as an endorsement for a future book on esoterica. lol.

      Well, what can I say about all of that….hmmm. Here’s a general response for now. I suppose we can get into specifics once you start pointing out specific things that gave you this impression.

      You’re partly right! I have much more room in my worldview for mysticism, esoterica, religion, mythology, and so-called pseudoscience than the average skeptic. In my everyday thinking, I move seamlessly back and forth from a Richard Dawkin’s styled empiricism to the very sort of New-Age “woo woo”, as Sam Harris likes to call it, that he despises.

      But I can’t give the state of California any credit for such an in-depth epistemology.

      In a nut-shell, here’s a not-so brief summary of my personal theory of knowledge:

      I regard all concepts as being inherently metaphorical in nature. I consider the very act of forming a thought or judgment as a process of metaphor-construction or conceptual map-making.

      While some metaphors may be more useful (in relation to certain goals) than others, I do not regard one set of metaphors as being objectively truer than any others. I believe that Science, for example, is a highly useful, logically coherent, and aesthetically symmetrical network of concepts (metaphors). I believe that it does a better job at helping us predict events, make sense out of the universe, invent helpful technologies, etc. than let’s say Greek Mythology. But unlike most advocates of science, I am not a believer in science. I am a skeptic who finds most, if not all, scientific ideas to both useful and interesting. But I do not equate the success (ie. pragmatic usefulness) of a concept with rationality (true justified belief). And I do not treat Science as anything special in this regard. I adopt that same attitude and approach towards all ideas. This is why my particular brand of optimism has always been rooted in skepticism rather than belief.

      I make heavy use of fictionalism. I treat all ideas as fictions with varying degrees of usefulness. So, for me, the philosophical adventure is about finding the metaphor (or set of metaphors) that is most useful in dealing with various situations without getting caught in the trap of mistaking the usefulness of our beliefs for truthfulness or objectivity.

      Sometimes, New Age Woo Woo can supply us with useful ways of engaging reality.

      Consider the following description of a book by occult writer Ramsey Dukes entitled “Uncle Ramsey’s Little Book of Demons: The Positive Advantages of the Personification of Life’s Problems.”

      “This book opens with an intriguing premise: Our brain is not large and powerful because we are `toolmaking creatures’, but because we have such incredibly complex social relationships. So, when we interact with `life’s problems’ as thinking, feeling characters with a personality, we are using more of our brainpower. The demons that Ramsey Dukes writes about do not necessarily manifest as green goblins and tentacled ghouls; he writes about personal habits, attitudes, and behaviours that motivate us, such as addiction, self-sabotage, racism, bully/victim relationships, etc.
      Dukes presents a very innovative way of thinking about our everyday events, to approach the deeper roots underlying our motives and behaviours.”

      Now, I suppose that one could just go ahead and posit the existence of malicious demons who attempt to stop us from achieving positive purposes. That is precisely what many religious people do. One could also argue against that idea by dismissing the notion of supernatural entities as an antiquated empirically unverifiable doctrine. I’m too skeptical to believe either position. Moreover, I’m not interested in figuring out what to believe. I’m interested in knowing if there are any useful or fun ways for me to play around with that idea. To me, Ramsey presents a cool idea. It doesn’t work for everything, but there are certain kinds of challenges that I am able to more effectively navigate when I engage reality AS IF his theory were true. That doesn’t make me a believer. That makes me a user. I’m very philosophically promiscuous in this regard. I will make love to any concept that strikes me as interesting or useful without a sense of loyalty to dogma or a belief in what George Lakeoff calls the myth of objectivity.

      I’ve never really had a firm place to stand and I can’t say I’ve been unhappy without one. I’ve been surfing wildly in the unstable seas of skepticism for a long time now.

      I’m such an ecclectic user of ideas that I get associated with all sorts of ideologies. But that’s what comes with the territory. Whatever I write here is not an expose of what I believe. It’s a creative expression, however confidently asserted, of ideas I am using/exploring at that time in order to support my agenda of creating an enjoyable blissful experience of this thing we call “life.”

      This is quite lengthy and there is much more that can be said, but I’ll await your comments, questions, or objections.

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