Optimists

Every one of the great revolutionists, from Isaiah to Shelley, have been optimists. They have been indignant, not about the badness of existence, but about the slowness of men in realizing its goodness.

G.K. Chesterton

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12 comments on “Optimists

  1. BeeHappee says:

    Wonderful quote, Bill, just what I needed today. I was just thinking the other day about Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, who wanted to change the world, and who surely did, and I doubt they were believers in the goodness of humanity.

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  2. Laurie Graves says:

    An interesting coincidence. Today, on my blog, I’ll be writing about optimism and the environment, about how in the face of so many problems, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and pessimistic. Yet, in this world terrible problems have been resolved in unexpected ways—South Africa comes to mind.

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    • Bill says:

      Thinking about environmental degradation can be despairing, but I try to remind myself that the fact that so many are thinking about it (and acting to do something about it) is reason to be encouraged. When my wife was growing up in Los Angeles the air pollution was so bad that often they would have “smog alerts” in which children weren’t allowed to go outside for recess. Today, thanks to clean air initiatives and lead-free gasoline, the air is clean (relatively) and smog alerts are things of the past. We are facing some very demanding environmental challenges, but I believe we’ll do the right thing, however reluctantly. I look forward to reading your post.

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  3. Bill, Good things are every where in life. Unfortunately, not very many make it to the news media. It seems the public has a thirst for seeing the bad things in life. I don’t really understand that but it’s been proven that less people will watch the news when only positive things are reported. Of course the TV ratings drive what will be reported. It’s one of the reasons why I haven’t watched TV news or read newspapers for decades. It’s not that I have isolated myself from what happens locally or globally but I just don’t need to know all the details of a situation over and over again. Most of my news comes from short news reports from the radio as I’m driving some where or from conversations with friends, neighbors, and family. I choose to dwell on the positive side of things. Some would say that I have a don’t care attitude about bad things in life. Lord knows that I have had my share of bad things happen in life. I have been able to press through those times and still keep a positive attitude. It just seems to be in my nature to be drawn to the good things of life.

    Have a realizing goodness optimistic day.

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    • Bill says:

      The way I see it, the reason horrible events are newsworthy is because they are rare, and therefore sensational. For every crazed murderer who gets a headline, there are thousands (probably millions) of Nebraska Daves, quietly and humbly going through life, and helping make the world a better place. As hard as it can be sometimes, I try to focus on the positives and the goodness of this beautiful world, without ignoring or being indifferent to the tragedies. Reality is a lot better than the things the news reports. I remember reading about a study done a few years ago, when there were a lot of news stories about abducted children. A poll showed that people in Europe (who were watching a lot of CNN) believed the abduction and murder of children was a common occurrence in the U.S. It wasn’t of course, but that’s what the news had caused them to conclude.

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  4. avwalters says:

    I’m an optimist. An eyes-open-wide optimist. I’ve seen the dark side and have decided it doesn’t work for me. That doesn’t mean I’m any better than a pessimist, we all end up in the same place (though my journey may be a little more pleasant.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Eyes-open-wide optimist. I like that.

      I don’t want to be naive or pollyannaish, but neither would I want to go through life always expecting and believing the worst about the world. My preference is to try to honestly recognize the problems, while holding to an optimism that they can be overcome. As you say, it makes for a more pleasant journey.

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  5. I totally agree, Bill. You have to go beyond feeling that change is needed to believing that you can and should make change happen. –Curt

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