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One aspect to highlight as a difference between optimism and pessimism is the way each filters and interprets the facts at hand.  It’s little secret that the way we feel about the wold has a tremendous impact on the way we see it.  There are plenty of studies that demonstrate how we can suffer from a varieties of cognitive blindnesses.  The ratio of optimism and pessimism that we bring to the table form a filter through which we see, or don’t see parts of the world.


Pessimism is defined as a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen.  That second part is more crucial than the first.  The first part of pessimism can be used to great good.  It can analyze for things that might actually be a danger or a worrisome risk, but to extend it to a belief that the worst will happen is to constantly try and see the aspects of reality on hand in a way that combine to make such things happen.  Being mindful of such things is important, believing such things are inevitable is a mistake.


Optimism on the other hand is the opposite.  It’s commonly held as a tendency that things will turn out well.  But this is blind optimism.  Good things don’t necessarily happen, but they are far more likely to turn out well if we work toward them.  This is the inverse of the issue with pessimism. Blind optimism is the functional equivalent of pessimistic filtration because both fails to see a third component, and that is how actual elements at hand can be most virtuously combined to create the most opportune outcome.  Blind optimism just has faith that these things will happen on their own, and pessimism is blind to such a combination of elements because without a belief that a good outcome is possible, it’s far more difficult to see the combination of actions and elements that’ll lead to that outcome.

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Podcast Ep. 946: Pessimistic Filtration

Tinkered Thinking

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