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Possibility of Optimism


Possibility of Optimism

Optimism is not a cheerful and light-hearted attitude. It does not mean that one should ignore all that is painful or fearful, and, like Browning's Pippa sing-

"God's in his Heaven All’s right with the World."

Optimism is. a creed that faces evil and pain and takes notes of chance and fate. Yet, by weighing the evidence of good and evil, it concludes that the good in the world outweighs the evil. If there is a dark night now, it will pass away and melt into the glory of the dawn. If clouds overcast the sky they will, sooner or later, be broken up and dispersed by the sun and wind. To see the sun behind the cloud, to hope for the dawn in the darkness of midnight, -that is optimism. The pessimist throws up their hands and cries, 'Life is not worth living.' The optimist fights on and says, have hope, have faith, all will be well in the end.'

Human Life is a mingled yarn-good and evil mixed together. No one can deny that many aspects of human life encourage the attitude of pessimism. Chance plays such a large part in man's life that man often concludes bitterly: 'Man proposes. God disposes of.' Our noble efforts meet wretched and undeserved ends. 'Captive Good' in Shakespeare's language, is made to serve' Captain 111'. We behold 'desert' a beggar born while 'needy nothing' is trimmed in Jollity. That this often happens must be admitted.

 

So, it must be admitted that man, after centuries of civilization, has not proved himself to be a noble and rational animal. He seems to be as cruel, selfish, and foolish today as he used to be in Prehistoric times. Who can take an optimistic view of human nature in the face of the devastating war that is raging in Iraq and Afghanistan these days? Man's selfishness is behind. it, his love of domination, his innate cruelty, and blood lust, -all these are behind it. The so-called civilized nations of the world like America are crushing the Muslim countries in the name of wiping out terrorism. In the human world, the poor are getting poorer daily, and the rich, richer. While one man rolls in luxury and does •not know what to do with all, the wealth he commands, another roll in the gutters and dies for lack of bread!

 These are hard facts; how can the optimist deny them? But these are not all the facts of human life, not even half the facts. There are many other things, cheerful and beautiful things, to be thought of before we can come to the right conclusion about human life.

In the first place, if chance plays such a large part in man's life, chance helps man as much as it hinders him, if there is Jude’s, there are also Counts of Montecristo’s if there is Oedipus’s there are also David’s. And it is not always chance that matters. A man of ability is bound to make his mark sooner or later. Poverty may hamper him, but it may also sharpen his powers and inculcate useful habits in him.

As for man's selfishness and cruelty, no one will claim for man the purity and perfection of angels. But man has certainly progressed. He is unselfish in his family circle and is capable of great sacrifices for a noble cause. Whatever motives there may be behind the war, think of the millions of young men who faced it today not because they were selfish and cruel, but because they were inspired by certain ideals.

 

And man has not always been fighting. He has practiced the arts of peace so well that in the healing sciences, civic amenities, culture, and education we are much superior to our ancestors. Man has not ceased to be an idealist. He has his lofty dreams. He dreams even amid the clash of arms. These wars are a symptom of the death-throe of an old order and of the beginning of a new era in human history such a tremendous result cannot be achieved by words; we have to pay a heavy price for it.

Indeed, optimism is the most rational attitude to life. It is not a kind of blind faith in the goodness of things: It has a great effect too, he has the patience to wait for the final issue. He does not for a no: on the human mind. An optimist fortifies himself by high hopes in disaster, forgetting that an occasional setback means little or nothing. He does generalize his own failure into a theory of life. -If one ¯fails many succeed. He takes the most obvious, the most logical, and human view of life-

"How good is man's life, the mere living, how to fit to employ All the heart and the soul and the senses forever in joy!"


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