Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Optimism

Where does it help us? When things are going very well, optimism, is useless and often detrimental. It blindsides us to potential pitfalls along the way. Optimism seems to develop a feel-good blood flow all through our body and we tend to look at every development as a good sign. A Habitual optimismistic approach makes 'optimism' a reflex. The trigger that goes on when you see danger approaching is overwhelmed by these waves of 'optimism'. You think the wave that you are riding is getting bigger, but you could get knocked down by a cliff. On the other hand, by pure virtue of not perceiving every development as a positive effect, you risk being called cynical. You are a cynic, if you tend to respond to 'danger' triggers and believe that such lack of optimism is essential for survival.

So optimism becomes more relevant to unfavorable situations. When things are bad, positive action is like a natural reflex. It is there anyway. Nobody wishes and hopes to die (at least most of us). All of us react in a ways that attempts to improve bad situations. The effectiveness of such attempts depends on our 'ability' and 'intelligence'. So 'optimism' boils down to performing those improvement related actions with a mental feeling of hope as opposed to a fatalistic/negative approach. It is regarded by many that this subtle mental orientation has invisible control over the effectivesness of our actions and influences outcomes. 'Confidence' shares such similar attributes and at this point is liable to be easily confused with 'optimism'. Separate 'confidence' aspects of this mental feeling and there is little left to celeberate optimism.

I have had, what I perceived as, optimistic feelings and in a perverse way I feel good to know that I can resort to it during bad times. But dissecting mental experiences to isolate optimistic impulses have often frustrated me. It is beyond the boundries of what I perceive as 'logic'. So is optimism a function of someother emotion or a incorrect reading of a some other mental experience? Is it a science that is mutually exclusive from logic, like astrology, that offers a mental comfort during distress that tries to tell us that things will become better?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

optimism -logic = religion, no?

T.

Hawkeye said...

one of the many possible solutions provided you put "logic" under quotes and multiply religion with a fraction.

garuda puranam, according to shankar, can do mean things to you.

Hawkeye said...

also many would disagree with you implicit suggestion that 'optimism' contains 'logic' to allow such a subtraction.

Nilu said...

1. Nobody wishes and hopes to die (at least most of us)
enna scena??

2. Optimism = masturbation. Nothing good, bad or logical or emotional about it. arayatha...anubhavi.

3. You last paragraph has gaping holes. Revist it.

Hawkeye said...

enna scena??

pottalum thappu podalainaalum thappu. LOTR style undead bloggers like u are changing the meaning of 'politically correct'.

arayatha...anubhavi

ada paavi! u wrote countless blogs on pomblai pullai o r g - a s m. blog title'in magimai.

You last paragraph has gaping holes

u r correct. i saw it. then wrote a p.s about axioms and then took it off as it seemed too geeky.

Anush said...

I have had, what I perceived as, optimistic feelings and in a perverse way I feel good to know that I can resort to it during bad times. But dissecting mental experiences to isolate optimistic impulses have often frustrated me. It is beyond the boundries of what I perceive as 'logic'. So is optimism a function of someother emotion or a incorrect reading of a some other mental experience? Is it a science that is mutually exclusive from logic, like astrology, that offers a mental comfort during distress that tries to tell us that things will become better?

your right brain is responsible for all the intuitive, artistic, emotional feelings which don't necessarily follow logic. the left brain is the analytical/logical part, which in a typical person (and more so for an educated individual), wins over the right brain when it comes to deciding what actions you perform. The societal conditioning mostly affects the left brain. However, such constant suppression of the right brain results in unrest. During times of distress, when you are unable to explain everything with logic and decide to listen to your right brain for a change, it seems like you have a moment of peace - that actually results in your right brain letting off some steam and trying to recalibrate your actions based on intuition. That's what seems like a comfort.

PS: I'm sorry if this didn't come across clearly - I am not too good with clear and concise writing.

Regarding your first paragraph: optimistic people need not be complacent. it is possible to stay alert and even be paranoid within an overall context of expecting good things to happen. wouldn't it be called optimism even then?

Anonymous said...

The Australia Vs. Brazil match is scheduled in a few minutes.
Am in Melbourne watching their local TV. Australia have qualified in the world cup after 32 years, they've played only one match against Japan which they won by scoring 3 goals in the last 7 mins.

There are 10000 fans gathered at Federation square Melbourne and it appears that not one of them think that Australia is going to lose.

Coming back to the entry : That is optimism and it looks impulsive to me. Got the impression from what you wrote that optimism is a practised act.

While it might have been made to look like that way.., I don't beleive it is. There are people who are naturally positive and optimistic and some who are not. Not all of us are optimistic every time and the same is(should be) the case for pessimism.

You say :
"All of us react in a ways that attempts to improve bad situations. The effectiveness of such attempts depends on our 'ability' and 'intelligence'."

Well, being negative ( pessimistic ) have made intelligent/able people underachieve. Eg. Italy Vs. USA yesterday.
And optimism has achieved the converse. Take the Sri Lankans coming back against England in the Test Series and now leading the One Day Series.

The above statements are not generalisations and will not work every time.

But my point is : Optimism is or atleast should be impulsive and that's when it works best.
It need not be mutually exclusive of logic, if that's the case (and making a sporting point agan..) we wouldn't have had so many Davids beating Goliaths right ?

Optimism appears to be an outlook to me.

Hawkeye said...

anonymous from australia,

'Confidence' shares such similar attributes and at this point is liable to be easily confused with 'optimism'. Separate 'confidence' aspects of this mental feeling and there is little left to celeberate optimism.

:-)

Anonymous said...

mate, further clarification :

The Australian team may be confident..
The Australian public is "optimistic"

I reiterate :

optimism is an impulsive outlook,

Confidence is more often than not "not inherent", it takes a while to build and lingers on sometimes unecessarily..