Innumerable are the times I run into or talk to people who proclaim to be optimists and, in reality, are quite the opposite. They remind me of the disciples of an unquestionable and unverifiable religion, who, as they convey their message of hope to the hopeless, wrap their prey in a warm, soothing blanket of ignorance to reality and manmade foolery.
You see, a real optimist is a critical realist determined we can, must, and shall do better. A grownup who takes the time and effort to keep asking the very question a 7-year old is known to ask his parents at least once into oblivion. The pertinent question of Why? Why do we do the things we do? Why is the sky blue? (It isn’t). Why do we stop at a red light, even when there is no traffic?
Not unlike the many questions I get from people around the world, from kids as young as 14 years old. From people who are also eager to understand how our manmade truths match up to reality. With questions of why we continue to build our manmade systems around a normalization of truth they, like me, suspect is losing validity and therefore deflating the very truths from which our many forgone consequences are derived.
The fact of the matter is, a real optimist is energized – not depressed – by the threat that the most intelligent major species on earth is now bound to live the shortest, and with manmade foolery in tow, is accelerating our self-induced demise. As in the average American age declining since 2015, despite our onslaught of “innovation.”
The populist optimist, on the other hand, is, in reality, a tone-deaf pessimist serf. Actively and willingly enslaved by the unquestionable systems set before him, who in Plato’s caveman correlary hides in the cave of groupthink and hopes and prays nothing terrible will happen.
Get a life.
The strength, and therefore the length, of human evolution and excellence is determined by how we dare to take ourselves on, with critical thinking combined with actions to reinvent a higher and better normalization of truth we can all benefit from. That process is not as fast and effortless as a hamburger drive-thru people crave, especially not when the populist optimists, held captive by the Stockholm syndrome, put up a formidable smokescreen of affection to the dumb systems invented by their captors.
I remain determined to show you how we can and must do better for the sake of our collective offspring, even though in the words of Martin Luther King, it is entirely possible I may not get there with you.
The reality of my optimism will not die when I do.