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The Pessimistic Premise Is Essential For Optimism

The pessimist often fancies himself to be someone who is much too informed to be inspired.

“If people knew what I knew about the harsh realities of life, they wouldn’t be walking around with smiles on their faces and hope in their hearts,” reasons the pessimist. To the pessimist, the happiness and hope of the optimist is the consequence of insufficient exposure to evil or blatant denial of hardship.

For this reason, the optimist must take great care when communicating his message. He cannot merely say “keep your head up” during hard times because the pessimist would see this as evidence that the optimist has no clue. Instead, the optimist must say something like “life is downright terrible and cruelly unfair, but if you dedicate your entire existence to being productive in spite of the pain, you may have a chance at a freer life.” Then and only then will the pessimist allow the optimist to get away with any kind of talk regarding the brighter side.

This might be frustrating to the optimist at first, but the prejudices of the pessimist are useful here. Unless the optimist is overt in his recognition of what is wrong with the world, people might make the mistake of thinking that it’s actually an option to create progress without opposition.

The gift of the optimist is his willingness to work towards progress in any environment.

The gift of the pessimist is his reminder that there’s always an apparently legitimate excuse to stay in one’s place.

A person will never find the motivation to create until they settle down with this one simple fact: the harsh reality of opposition is not a negotiable phenomenon that we’ll one day liberate ourselves from, but it is part and parcel of every effort we will ever make towards creating anything that is worth having.

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