Monday, October 13, 2014

I'm So Over Pessimism

BUNNY: Uli doesn't care about anything. He's a Nihilist.

THE DUDE: Ah, that must be exhausting.

I get exhausted just READING pessimistic remarks. I can't imagine how awful it must be to actually THINK that way: "Democrats won't turn out for the mid-term." "Amending the Constitution will do no good." "Voting for either of the two major parties is just screwing yourself." "It's too late to save the human race from the pollution and warming it's caused." "You can't fight Big Coal." "Socialism doesn't work." "There's nothing reasonable people can do about the rising tide of fanaticism." "Efforts to fight corruption and short-sighted greed are hopeless."

And so forth. Yuck, yuck, phooey and forget all of that! And yet it would seem that the great majority of people are pessimistic in a way I've been blessed never to have experienced.

There was a guy in Shoah who seems to have a mentality much more like mine.

When he was interviewed for the film in NYC in the 1980's, he told about how, when he was being rounded up with the others to be shipped off and killed, he ran away. Just ran. Off into the woods, or over the flimsy fence, I don't exactly remember, except that he saw a possible way out, and rather than passively surrender to certain death, he took a chance at escape. And I remember that he was surprised at the time, and remained surprised decades later, that so few others resisted. And watching the movie, I said to myself, Now this is a guy I can relate to.

It flabbergasts me, how people tend to behave. An executioner tells them to kneel, and they kneel. Why? I don't think one can know beforehand how one would react in extreme situations, but if I were handed a shovel and told to dig my own grave, it's hard for me to imagine that the person who'd handed me the shovel and/or a few of his friends wouldn't immediately get smacked in the face with a shovel. What would they do about it -- kill me? Maybe. Or maybe I'd escape. Maybe I'd take a few other prisoners with me when I escaped. Or maybe I'd be killed. Sure. That's always a possibility. Maybe I'd be tortured and then killed. We're all on the way out eventually, it's just a matter of the route we take.

Humans. They're hard for me to understand. Yes, as hard as I try to get Democrats pumped up about turning out in the mid-terms, they might still not, and the "pundits" might turn out to be right -- but why not try anyway? Why not try to convert to clean energy -- and I don't mean natural gas -- until petrochemicals are a tiny boutique industry, supplying mostly backyard barbecues, plus a very few eccentric hobbyists with antique loud smelly vehicles? Why not try to convert the US to a system used in so many other countries, where a vote for the Green Party actually helps the Left, instead of helping the GOP like in does in this country, by taking the vote of someone too dumb to see the difference between Democrats and Republicans away from the Democrats?

Why not try? Why on Earth do people prefer no chance at all over a chance?

Maybe pessimists don't know how much fun it is to try, because they've never tried? Maybe they tried once, and failed, and haven't stuck their necks out since then, so that they don't realize that if you fail nine times in a row and then succeed once, it more than makes up for those nine failures?

I don't know, I'm just guessing. I don't know how those Eeyores'

minds work, and when it comes down to it, I don't much want to know. I'm just glad I'm inclined not to give up as a way of life, and that of course includes not giving up on converting pessimists to giving a shit and trying, whether or not that effort, too, may be successful. It's just more fun not to give up.

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