Thursday, March 17, 2011

Optimism vs. Pessimism

Atomic energy is a timely application of being uneasily hopeful about technology.

But this thought was first conceived in my post about the role of social media in the Egyptian revolution. I concluded by expressing my "uneasy hopefulness" about the opportunities that digital technology offers for societal change.

I began toying with the merits of embracing a psychological state that is pinned between the tension of optimism (hopefulness) and pessimism (uneasiness).
  • If one is overly pessimistic, they will choke out the positive redemptive potential in themselves and others through judgement and a lack of grace.
  • If one is overly optimistic, they will unleash the negative destructive potential in themselves and others with a lack of accountability and discernment.
It seems one must simultaneously hold an optimistic and pessimistic view in order to advance the cause of redemption.

I somewhat related topic (though I'm not quite sure how) this is why I appreciate Trent Reznors music. The moments of cacophony, of utter disorder, compliment and even amplify the moments of order and beauty. This simultaneous order and disorder stimulates and stretches both parts of my brain allowing a deeper/fuller enjoyment that would not be possible otherwise.

Maybe it's a stretch to apply this to music, but maybe not. In many areas of life I'm seeing this model of necessary stretching, or discomfort, in order to grow and experience fullness.

Where have you experienced this in your own life?

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