Posted by: Chris­™ | January 15, 2008


Intermittently, I am confronted with a large debate on the residuum and necessity of positive thinking. Being that positivism/optimism (which I will differentiate shortly) is a popular methodology with many in our society, I resultantly muse on what exactly it accomplishes for us. Largely, I associate positive thinking with positivism, not optimism, in accordance with the slight difference; that positivism refers to a constant state of positivity, whereas optimism is just a tendency to take favorable outlooks on various situations/occurrences, etc. Therefore I’ll refer to positivism hereon.

In any case, there is noticeably no shortage of those who believe that positivism is the absolute of healthy and productive attitudes. Thus, they presume that anything less than this attitude is perverse and detrimental. If one should stumble upon a dilemma in life, then it is expected by this group that the individual will not falter in its face, but rather smile sincerely and allow this problem to pass over them. If the individual is a little more progressive than this, then they will utilize this efficacious outlook to labor and mend said dilemma.

Whether or not this is plausible for any one human being to follow at all times, I am not so sure. We are too much creatures of duality, and as such, I don’t consider it possible for us to be positive constantly with any real sincerity. If we do not assess the negative, then we will not understand the positive. If we spend too much time mulling over the positive, we will not see the entirety of the situation. Realism demands that we not take to fancy, but rather that we understand.

Obviously, being too negative is also a detriment. One who is always negative will never find reason to do anything, nor will they ever be satisfied with anything in life. Thus there would be no growth, no love, and no purpose. Whereas the constantly positive person spends his/her life in ignorance, the negative person will spend their life in desolation.

Neither is a desirable situation, but the solution is relatively plain. Balance is a necessary fundamental within life. To be positive in the face of adversity will give you the depth necessary to move forward. To see the realism of a situation will give you the understanding necessary to making the best decision. Subsequently, the most prudent way to reconcile positivity and negativity is logic.

By itself, logic can be a cold, calculative tool. However, when placed as a support in the midst of emotional reactions, it is the most prudent guideline and creates a process that is more probable to lead to satisfying results. Not only does logic prevent one from falling into despair, but it also allows one to make the hard decisions. It illuminates moral actions and discredits naive or detrimental ones.

On the whole, I suppose I would say that while positivism is beneficial, one should never undermine the truth simply to be contented. And consider, how can one actually feel happiness when ignoring the truth?

Or something like thattttttt!

Thanks for reading. words



  1. may I ask your opinion for those of us who consider ourselves optimistic pessimists, where we hope for the best yet plan for the worst?

  2. Cathi: Actually, you’re pretty close to my ideology, except with an actual title applied. It’s important to have hope, because it keeps you going. And it’s dually important to plan for the worst as a precautionary measure.

    My difference in opinion might lay in how much hope you should have. If you aim unrealistically high, then you will inevitably be letdown, no matter how much preparation you have done. I think it just boils down to moderating your ambition and keeping an open mind for all outcomes.

  3. “What I dream of is an art of balance.”- Henri Matisse

    One of my favorite quotes, and it relates to how I live. I consider myself an optimist, but we’ve all had our share of adversity, and in understanding what’s bad, we can appreciate what’s good.

    I think that appreciating and learning from the contrasts in life is literally what it’s all about. Toeing the line, if you will.

  4. Good post, reflects alot of what I myself have been trying to express in the matter. Although you did it far better. 😛

    I actually just got back from BC. Was in Victoria for about 5 months. 😀

  5. Sinja: Yeah man, it’s all about balance. We have really long memories, buy they seem to dramatically shorten when it comes to experience memories. Thus we need to keep reminding ourselves in order to maintain perspective

    Patrick: Thanks buddy! I appreciate the compliments a lot. Victoria is a really nice place, especially in the summer. What were you doing there anyways?

  6. Studying at UVic, but mostly just slacking and drinking…as usual 😛

  7. Whoops. ^^ that one was mine 😀

  8. Pat: Haha, sounds most excellent. UViC is a pretty renowned place to study around here. Beautiful campus too.

  9. Yeah, all the bunnies are awesome. Apart from the ever increasing amount of rabbit poo everywhere towards the end… 😀

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