Ever considered optimism as a political act? Jess Lundie borrows this concept from Worldchanging’s Alex Steffen, and creates a guest post at Openly Balanced around the idea that the kind of optimism embodied in life at places like Dancing Rabbit is radical in this day and age.
Optimism? Radical? Jess looks at some of the major sources of contemporary unhappiness, and notes that very act of joining in community these days often flies in the face of contemporary culture… and that’s a big part of the declining life satisfaction experienced in some parts of the developed world.
A very thought-provoking post… thank you, Jess!
Feeling optimistic yourself? Why not act on it, and help the folks at Dancing Rabbit with their mission to teach others about community based in shared values, and hope for the future… make your pledge or donation.
Image credit: Dancing Rabbit
A number of scholars have suggested that, although optimism and pessimism might seem like opposites, in psychological terms they do not function in this way. Having more of one does not mean you have less of the other. The factors that reduce one do not necessarily increase the other. On many occasions in life we need both in equal supply. Antonio Gramsci famously called for “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will”: the one the spur to action, the other the resilience to believe that such action will result in meaningful change even in the face of adversity. Hope can become a force for social change when it combines optimism and pessimism in healthy proportions. John Braithwaite, an academic at the Australian National University, suggests that in modern society we undervalue hope because we wrongly think of it as a choice between hopefulness and naïveté as opposed to skepticism and realism.