April 5, 2019 Pessimism vs. Optimism

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Evolution vs. De-evolution

Sign of intelligence is that new information is created

E. coli Long-term Experiment on Evolution -

Started 24 February 1988.[2]

66,000 in November 2016.[3]

No new molecular machines

No newly designed cell structures

No new protein-coding sections of DNA

Evolution vs De-Evolution

Because it is easier to destroy than to build

Ask you what are some decisions in your life you can make to make your life worse?


Run out in front of traffic

Poke your eyes out

Burn all your savings

Hit your head with a hammer

Hold your breath underwater until you pass out

If I ask you what can be done to make the future WORSE

You can probably come up with a whole bunch of ideas

Ask you what decisions you can make to make your life BETTER?

Little harder -

At best you will come up with ideas of what to remove not what to add

Easier to break down rather than to build 

Because it is easier to destroy than to build

If I ask you what can you do to make the future better

More difficult

Easier to point out the downside and all the reasons something can fail rather than how it can succeed

But more ideas does not mean that the ideas are any better - but makes us feel smart

Typically an inherent bias that we equate things that we can imagine as more likely than things we can’t …e.g.e shark attacks

Pessimism isn't just more common than optimism, it also sounds smarter.

Pessimist are intellectually captivating, and people pay more attention to them rather than optimist who are often viewed as an oblivious sucker.

If you say the world has been getting better you may get away with being called naïve and insensitive.

Harvard professor Teresa Amabile shows that those publishing negative book reviews are seen as smarter and more competent than those giving positive reviews of the same book. "Only pessimism sounds profound. Optimism sounds superficial," she wrote.


Here are a few other reasons I've observed for why pessimism gets so much attention.

[4:147] What will GOD gain from punishing you, if you became appreciative and believed? GOD is Appreciative, Omniscient.

Complaining makes us feel like we are smart

  • There is a form of an iQ/creativity test where the objective is to see how many ideas you can come up in a given amount of time:
  • What can you do with a brick?
  • Come up with different ways that someone can go from place to another?
  • The more answers one comes up with the smarter they feel
  • This is good for creativity, but there are somethings that the quantity of answers is not what is important but the quality

1. Optimism appears oblivious to risks, so by default pessimism looks more intelligent. 

2. Pessimism requires action, whereas optimism means staying the course. Pessimism is "SELL, GET OUT, RUN," which grabs your attention because it's an action you need to take right now. You don't want to read the article later or skim over the details, because you might get hurt. Optimism is mostly, "Don't worry, stay the course, we'll be alright," which is easy to ignore since it doesn't require doing anything. 

3. Optimism sounds like a sales pitch, while pessimism sounds like someone trying to help you. And that's often the truth. But in general, most of the time, optimism is the correct default setting, and pessimism can be as big a sales pitch as anything – especially if it's around emotional topics like money and politics. 

4. Pessimists extrapolate present trends without accounting for how reliably markets adapt. That's important, because pessimistic views often start with a foundation of rational analysis, so the warning appears as reasonable as it is scary.

Thomas Malthus 1800

Prophets were the ultimate optimist - that after we die we can be redeemed in God’s kingdom

How we respond to God’s promise determines if we believe in God’s promise or not…

[3:174] They have deserved GOD's blessings and grace. No harm ever touches them, for they have attained GOD's approval. GOD possesses infinite grace.

[33:11] That is when the believers were truly tested; they were severely shaken up. [33:12] The hypocrites and those with doubts in their hearts said, "What GOD and His messenger promised us was no more than an illusion!" [33:13] A group of them said, "O people of Yathrib, you cannot attain victory; go back." Others made up excuses to the prophet: "Our homes are vulnerable," when they were not vulnerable. They just wanted to flee.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,


no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.


For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;


they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.


You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.


“Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.


He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.


With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”


[33:22] When the true believers saw the parties (ready to attack), they said, "This is what GOD and His messenger have promised us, and GOD and His messenger are truthful." This (dangerous situation) only strengthened their faith and augmented their submission.

[2:249] When Saul took command of the troops, he said, "GOD is putting you to the test by means of a stream. Anyone who drinks from it does not belong with me—only those who do not taste it belong with me—unless it is just a single sip." They drank from it, except a few of them. When he crossed it with those who believed, they said, "Now we lack the strength to face Goliath and his troops." Those who were conscious of meeting GOD said, "Many a small army defeated a large army by GOD's leave. GOD is with those who steadfastly persevere.”

[14:7] Your Lord has decreed: "The more you thank Me, the more I give you." But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.

[10:57] O people, enlightenment has come to you herein from your Lord, and healing for anything that troubles your hearts, and guidance, and mercy for the believers. [10:58] Say, "With GOD's grace and with His mercy they shall rejoice." This is far better than any wealth they can accumulate.