I wonder how much of the optimism/pessimism divide is owing to nature vs. nurture.
I’ve often felt that most optimists are molded from a young age, and after receiving a steady stream of auspicious feedback from their environment, come to expect the good to preternaturally outweigh the bad. These people are usually more conventional in thought and behavior and perhaps this sense of “average” is the reason they tend to trigger pleasant reactions and treatment from others. This would make sense given that “normal” is the primary leverage of evopsych and that deviations from normality tend to be met with withdrawal of congeniality and commiseration, thus leading to isolation, abandonment, and ultimately, lack of survival resources. But those blessed with absolute normality foster the greatest measures of good will from others. These people are most likely to be optimists. How much of that optimism is innate? Is innate optimism a precursor to “normality?”
Conversely, pessimists are also molded from a young age; they tend to receive copious amounts of negative feedback, even as far back as childhood. This feedback loop of disappointment and despair cultivates a gloomy, doomed perspective which then laps itself and begins to create its own negativity, and as the circle of pessimism closes in on the subject, it strangles all life and hope right out of the poor fucker. Pessimists, as they grow older, experience less inviting interpersonal experiences than displeasing human reactions, and thus, find little in the way of learned confidence, aggressiveness and optimism. Pessimists experience the full swath of negativity from a young age, and this soon inculcates a learned negativity which predominates as the person becomes older and eventually, the pessimism usurps all free will and begins to trigger ill fortune and inauspicious deconstruction. Once again, I must wonder: is pessimism an innate character trait that accompanies “abnormality” and hence, alienation? Those who cannot enjoy conventionality soon learn to expect nothing from society…but is inability to enjoy conventionality a precursor to pessimism?
I was in a Ralph’s supermarket with an optimist last week.
We were at those horrendous self-checkout lines, she in one, I in another, across the way. We both became stuck. She with an avocado, me, because I entered the wrong Gala apple code.
The attendant was cruising the area. I called for an attendant with my screen option. An audible beep issued from my checkout machine. Around the same time, he went to my friend who was having troubles, without her having to select the assistance button, and asked her if everything was OK. Totally unsolicited! He was watching and noticed she was having troubles. He helped her solve her problem and I expected him to visit me afterwards, but instead he began walking around, oblivious to my Gala crisis.
Once again, I clicked the assistance button, once again, the tone, once again, he didn’t come. I waited. I had no idea how to cancel out my faulty swipe…this is all the help I needed. I hit the assistance button again, the tone beeped loudly. Again. Nothing. My friend was wrapping up and I was stuck here with some fucking Gala apples that the machine was overcharging me cause of my error.
A fourth beckon for help. This time the guy came and dismissively helped me. It was like pulling teeth. I felt typically deflated.
The pessimist soon learns that kindness is not a natural law, whereas the optimist learns to expect kindness so blindly as not to even realize its preciousness.
Only a pessimist could write this shit.