The Use of Rational Pessimism


Most people think that viewing or expecting the worst of things is a bad attitude of the mind – well, indeed it is, if this attitude is accompanied by indifference towards the expected outcome. However, this unproductive tandem of attitudes presents a question: Is it really pessimism that harms man or is it his indifference?

From a strictly earthly point of view, it is only indifference that hinders man from achieving his desires; a pessimistic attitude only affects a person’s inner-self but not the concrete objects and relationships that revolves in his life. Out of this conclusion, saying that pessimism is not a destructive mental attitude is acceptable, because a man may be able to do things efficiently while having such setting of mind, at least, theoretically.

If pessimism is not necessarily destructive, what then is the use of pessimism? So much as a person’s disappointment directly proportional to the height of his expectation, so is his/her expectation of the worst gratified equally by the better outcome that comes after. So relief is one of its purposes. Preparation is the other of the two answers. A man who prepares for the worst reasonable outcome is most likely to feel more fulfillment once is his tribulations are over.

Although pessimism has its own use in our lives, we must always maintain that our expectations be based on reason, for an unreasonable expectation of the worst is not pessimism; it is called paranoia, and one who suffers this has to attend a therapy session for his improvement.


Source by Vanessa Ann Lea