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Thread: Idealism vs. Pessimism

  1. #1

    Smile Idealism vs. Pessimism

    So I find myself in an emotional quandary, the details of which I do not care to explicitly discuss. Rather, I would like to talk about why our emotions are the way they are.

    Firstly, we have an expectation which can either be high or low, depending on the individual and the circumstance. We also experience pain and pleasure in relation to our expectations.

    If we have an expectation that is not met, we experience a degree of pain. Albeit, if the expectation is met or exceeded, we experience a degree of pleasure.

    In order to gain leverage on our instinctual reactions, we may alter our expectations to either to idealistic levels or pessimistic levels.

    Is it wiser to be an idealist and experience great pain in loss, or is it wiser to be a pessimist and experience great pleasure in gain?

  2. #2
    Kraken down on piracy Array Lux's Avatar
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    Aug 2009


    Or maybe a realistic idealist, or an idealistic pessimist.

    For me, and read 'only me', it would be wiser to be an idealist and experience greater pain in loss. This is because loss is not empty, you typically learn and grow form it. So in a sense it can be helpful.

    If I were a pessimist daily, I am unsure if I would be getting out all of the happiness from the pleasurable moment, because I'd be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like I said, that's just me though.
    "It is not length of life, but depth of life." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Thought breeds thought." ~ Henry David Thoreau

  3. #3
    the Dark Prophet of Kualu Array Serendipity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    For me, and read 'only me', it would be wiser to be an idealist and experience greater pain in loss. This is because loss is not empty, you typically learn and grow form it. So in a sense it can be helpful.
    There's growth in bliss too.

    Still, I prefer the cynics idealism. It's a paradox-value system. It expects anything and everything, for good or bad, true and untrue. There's a downside, as there is to all systems, and that is if anyone finds out about it, they generally find it inconsistent/consistent and "bad"/"good".

    Oh, but that's not your question.
    I can't answer what you ask. Not for me or anyone at all.
    I'm sorry.
    Open for interpretation.
    Fell for the temptation: Nohari / Johari

  4. #4


    This works in theory, but pessimists are not able to rejoice after a success or any positive occurrence. Yes, bad things are "natural" for them, but good things are temporary and indefinite, it is in the nature of pessimists to see these as transitions between "normal" events (= shit). Idealism on the other hand believes in a positive outcome, while of course shit happens, and has to be taken lightly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array human101's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    scratch a cynic and you find a disappointed idealist

  6. #6
    Head Pigeon Array Mad Hatter's Avatar
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    Don't you rather mean optimism vs. pessimism? Idealism can mean that a) mind matters more than matter (mind you), b) you have a certain ideal of everything against which you measure the world around you.
    If you're talking about the latter, I'd venture to say that often it's actually not a vs., but a plus. If you have your ideals and look at the world around you, you're probably quite likely to see how "bad" everything is compared to your standards.

    I would consider myself neither an optimist or a pessimist, so maybe that makes me a "realist", although the very world "reality" is so vague and has caused rivers of ink to be shed in trying to define its exact meaning that I'd rather not call myself a realist either
    It's just not healthy to always assume the worst. By doing that, you're depriving yourself of the fun you could actually have and each and every pleasure becomes a guilty one.
    Optimism of course can also be bad, and probably the worst thing is all this "positive thinking" stuff where people try to convince other people to see the "positive aspect" in everything. Sometimes there just isn't any, and people not only feel bad but guilty for feeling bad to boot.
    Some ideals are necessariy because they can give us orientation, but it's important that the world simply doesn't live up to them.

    As to the "great pain in loss" vs. "great pleasure in gain" ... First of all, I think it's important that distancing yourself in order to avoid the "great pain through loss" has the drawback of not enjoying what you already have. Second, "great pleasure in gain" is also a bit questionable because you can only know how pleasurable something is by the time you've got it, and even then only maybe in retrospect (again, the great loss thing).

    Of course some things, most things in fact, don't last forever so that loss is almost certaint to occur at some point, and it's necessary to take that into account. I just guess it shouldn't be your primary concern. Also, "great pleasure in gain", at least the way you phrase it, implies that you gain your pleasure through gaining, but not through having (although I might be mincing words here), so it might be that if you're not constantly improving, it might make you unhappy.

    So bottom line, idealism can be a good thing if you keep in mind that your ideals are just that, and make use of what you can be certain about with a reasonable degree instead of worrying too much about loss or hoping for gain. These things keep your mind from focussing on the real possibilites which emerge from these very facts.

    I hope I made sense

    Quote Originally Posted by human101 View Post
    scratch a cynic and you find a disappointed idealist

    I agree.

    -τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ-

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