Optimism

From Academic Kids

Template:Wikiquote Optimism, the opposite of pessimism, is a lifeview where one looks upon the world as a positive place. Optimists generally believe that people are inherently good. They have a "positive" outlook on life, believing that given time, things will work out in the end. A common example used to illustrate optimism is this question: given a glass that has been filled halfway, is it half filled, or half empty?

In philosophy, optimism is linked with the name of Gottfried Leibniz, who held that we live in the "best of all possible worlds," a theodicy for which he was famously mocked by Voltaire in his satirical novel Candide. Its opposite is philosophical pessimism. Perhaps even more optimistic than Leibniz was the anarchist philosopher William Godwin. He hoped that society would eventually reach the state where all violence and force would be replaced by calm reason, that matter could eventually be made subservient to mind and that the secret of immortality could be discovered. Some are surprised to learn that a freedom-loving anarchist like William Godwin disapproved of suicide, but this was due to his optimistic belief that suicide was almost always a mistake.

Overoptimism, or strong optimism, is the overarching mental state wherein one believes things are more likely to go good for them than bad. Compare it with the valence effect of prediction, a tendency for people to overestimate the likelihood of good things happening rather than bad things.

Optimism is strongly correlated with Self-Esteem, with our psychological well-being and with our health. Seligman is the most important researcher about this object. He criticises academics for focusing too much on causes for pessimism and not enough on optimism. He points out that in the last three decades of the 20th century there were 46,000 published psychological papers on depression and only 400 on joy.

A number of scholars have suggested that, although optimism and pessimism might seem like opposites, in psychological terms they are not. Having more of one does not mean you have less of the other. The factors that reduce one do not necessarily increase the other. There are many occasions in life when 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 becomes really powerful as a force for social change when it combines optimism and pessimism in healthy proportion. 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 being hopeful and naive or sceptical and realistic.de:Optimismus

Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools