Cautious Optimism

Sunday, April 12, 2020 – Cautious Optimism

Optimism – the doctrine or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly. ~ Ambrose Bierce

One of the cafés had that brilliant idea of putting up a slogan: “The best protection against infection is a good bottle of wine” – which confirmed an already prevalent opinion that alcohol is a safeguard against infectious disease. Every night, towards 2 a.m., quite a number of drunken men, ejected from the cafés, staggered down the streets, vociferating optimism. ~ Albert Camus, The Plague (1947)

He who despairs over an event is a coward, but he who holds hope for the human condition is a fool. ~ Albert Camus, The Rebel (1951)

Many of the qualities that come so effortlessly to dogs – loyalty, devotion, selflessness, unflagging optimism, unqualified love – can be elusive to humans. ~ John Grogan

Optimism means better than reality. Pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist. ~ Margaret Atwood

What passes for optimism is most often the effect of an intellectual error. ~ Raymond Aron

Optimism is inevitably the last hope of the defeated. ~ Albert Meltzer

When you’re still too young to shave, optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure. ~ Stephen King

The man who is a pessimist before forty-eight knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little. ~ Mark Twain

Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it – because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. ~ Stephen Colbert

An optimist is a man who has never had much experience. ~ Don Marquis

A pessimist is a person who has had to listen to too many optimists. ~ Don Marquis

I find nothing more depressing than optimism. ~ Paul Fussell

For myself, I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else. ~ Winston Churchill

Optimism is the opium of the people. ~ Milan Kundera

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. ~ Vaclav Havel

The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism. ~ Oscar Wilde

The basis of optimism is sheer terror. ~ Oscar Wilde

Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable. ~ Voltaire

One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything’s fine today. That is our illusion. ~ Voltaire

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power. ~ William James

Pessimism, when you get used to it, is just as agreeable as optimism. ~ Arnold Bennett

If pessimism is despair, optimism is cowardice and stupidity. Is there any need to choose between them? ~ Francis Parker Yockey

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. ~ Woody Allen

Optimism is not inherently a superior way of viewing the world. Certainly doctors will say it might be better for one’s physical health to be an optimist. But, morally speaking it may not be appropriate in certain circumstances. ~ Todd Solondz

By four o’clock, I’ve discounted suicide in favor of killing everyone else in the entire world instead. ~ Warren Ellis

The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum. ~ Havelock Ellis

If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others. ~ Philip K. Dick

Keep a light, hopeful heart. But expect the worst. ~ Joyce Carol Oates

God surely did not create us, and cause us to live, with the sole end of wishing always to die. I believe, in my heart, we were intended to prize life and enjoy it, so long as we retain it. Existence never was originally meant to be that useless, blank, pale, slow-trailing thing it often becomes to many, and is becoming to me, among the rest. ~ Charlotte Brontë

In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning. ~ Carl Sandburg

Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts, exercises, even over the appearance of external objects. Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the somber colors are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision. ~ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

I’d love to try to sell a blank white canvas to an art dealer. And when he asks what it is, I’d tell him, “It’s a landscape painting of Key West, from the perspective of an optimistic blind man.” ~ Jarod Kintz

Optimists think badly, but live well. ~ Marty Rubin

I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will. ~ Antonio Gramsci

Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child’s play. ~ Thomas Hardy

Pessimism is only the name that men of weak nerves give to wisdom. ~ Bernard De Voto

Optimism with some experience behind it is much more energizing than plain old experience with a certain degree of cynicism. ~ Twyla Tharp

Post-modernism is modernism with the optimism taken out. ~ Robert Hewison

I don’t think in terms of optimism and pessimism when writing a story. I am telling a story. ~ Doris Lessing

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. ~ James Branch Cabell

I like to see the glass as half full, hopefully of Jack Daniels. ~ Darynda Jones

Pessimism is as American as apple pie – frozen apple pie with a slice of processed cheese. ~ George F. Will

There is nothing so well known as that we should not expect something for nothing, but we all do, and call it Hope.” ~ Edgar Howe

Hope itself is a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords; but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain. ~ Samuel Johnson

When hope is hungry, everything feeds it. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook (1960)

Hope deceives more men than cunning does. ~ Vauvenargues, Reflections and Maxims, 1746

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence. ~ Lin Yutang

Hope and belief, on some level, are really just brutal acts of psychic violence we commit against ourselves and those we love, in the name of deities that mock us as we weep. ~ Raphie Frank

Once I was at the Atlanta airport. I was taking the train between terminals. It’s a smooth, quiet train, and it was jammed when I walked in. But it was absolutely quiet except for a mechanical voice calling out the stops. The doors were about to close, a couple rushes in and the mechanical voice says, “Because of late entry, the train will be delayed for 30 seconds.” People were staring at the couple, they were angry, and I yelled out, “George Orwell, your time has come and gone, things are so efficient we’re losing our humanity and our sense of humor.” Now there are three miscreants: The crowd is staring at me and at the young couple. Sitting nearby was a baby on a mother’s lap. I asked the baby, “What do you think about this?” She laughs, and I say, “A human voice at last! There’s still hope!” ~ Studs Terkel