Thursday, January 13, 2022

Optimist, pessimist or other?

As someone who was a year ago diagnosed with a rare dementia, I have been told when stating a fact - that death occurs 2-20 years from diagnosis - that I am being negative. If being negative is looking facts square in the face and accepting them, then I am guilty. My condition is the elephant in the room and I have to live with it. Mindless US-style positivity rings hollow in mine and most British ears, "Have a nice day!" from an American shop worker sounds unerringly upbeat. In a British accent the chances are the tone is more nuanced, more sardonic or even grim. It is not in our nature to be relentlessly upbeat. The positivity industry (for that's what it is) sells a lot of books and is a result as James points out, of a rare pocket in history of comfort and denial of others' suffering. The most egregious example is probably Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret'. 

Pessimism is ok if you always expect the worst, as at least you will be pleasantly surprised from time to time. I prefer stoicism myself. 

The brilliant James Marriott elucidates better than me:

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