Why you should be pessimistic
Do you know what makes me depressed? It's not reading pessimist literature, I don't care. It's reading 100-year-old very well analyzed social critic and improvement suggestions not yet addressed today. Sometimes, we figure something out ourselves and ask "why doesn't x work like y?" and get upset that nothing seems to change. So, we tend to see our generation as discoverers, and the one that will change everything. But then, how does it feel to learn that this thing has been already figured out 100-200 years ago or 100 years before Christ sometimes? How does it feel to realize that people could have learned this since a long-long time and nothing seems to have changed since!
Generation after generation, we are fighting the same battles over and over again. So the problem is not the people, but society construction, which is so difficult to change. And it feels like I won't be alive to see a minimally healthy and happy society and perhaps nobody will ever be. I like to take Kinsey's books about sexuality (1935) and Darwin's theory of evolution(17th century) as examples. Here we are, 2014, and there are still people around saying homosexuality isn't natural, polyamorous are wicked, HPV vaccines will take little girls into promiscuity and that the theory of evolution is "just a theory". And they are so numerous that Fox has to create a TV show to explain to people why it isn't "just a theory". C'mon! Are you kidding me?
I understand pessimistic writers. It does sound like the optimistic literature of yesterday generates pessimism today. It is extremely devastating to see that wisdom has been around and nobody seems to care. This is partially the reason that, although I prefer calm times, that I trust the power of fights, demonstrations and action! I'm not saying that I despise all the book writing and the quiet and peaceful attitudes, that would be way too hypocritical, as you see, I'm writing in a blog! But I do think something else needs to be done, it's not enough, almost as information needs marketing. And we can compare that to the same way disinformation has been doing this since forever to circulate money into their pockets. So why not use marketing positively? This is a tricky thought, as some people are used to see lawyers and people who work on publicity as devil incarnations. But hey, we are all for progress and openness, right? So if you are included in this group, I advise to give them a second chance.
Back on the subject, general optimism can be dangerous and political pessimism can be necessary. It's okay to think thinks will get better and have hopes on progress, but we shouldn't avoid pessimism because criticism moves changes. Please note that I'm saying well developed criticism with thought, arguments, counter-arguments and not empty shaming and blaming (that takes nowhere). And it's necessary to interfere, roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty. If we have any progress at all that's because we have few firmly believing we will be granted nothing unless they do the hard work themselves, and that's the real deal. We can't hope without those who don't.