“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” -Dale Carnegie
There’s more to being realistic than just honestly acknowledging the existence of the problem. A robust philosophy of realism also requires that we honestly acknowledge the possible.
Just as the desire for progress implies the existence of that which needs to be improved, the bemoaning of imperfection implies the power to imagine that which would bring improvement.
One cannot be fully truthful if he or she speaks of pain and suffering as if it were all that exists. There is truth in pessimism and there is truth is optimism. Realism, if it is truly rooted in the real, denies neither. To speak of solutions is not to deny the truth, but rather to tell the whole of it.
It never makes sense to lament over how horrible our world is without being open to our capacity to make it better or, at the very least, grow in our ability to make the most of it.
Many assume that it’s easier to speak of hope than of despair, but I beg to differ. Despair, in and of itself, places no demands on the human spirit. If believe myself to be doomed, what is there for me to do other than accept my fate? If I recognize that there are ways of coping and conquering, however, then I become accountable to what I know.
One can easily feel very righteous by pointing out all the things that are wrong with the world, but there is another kind of righteousness, a higher kind: it is the righteousness of those who work out the salvation of the world with fear and trembling; it is the righteousness not of those who are merely content with condemning society for being unenlightened, but of those who choose to take responsibility for instigating little acts of revolution everywhere they go.
The conviction that all is hopeless provides no challenge to our complacency. The belief that there is something more to our world, however, compels us to live in a way that demands more of ourselves.