Thursday, January 28, 2010

optimism

Saw this play last night - a modern somewhat absurdist take on Voltaire's Candide. I think I've got a lot to learn from it.

I think I've a lot to learn about being optimistic and happy.

Is it possible to change your outlook on life by strength of will? To alter your perception of life just by deciding that this is the way reality will look? I know it happens to people all the time, usually as a religious or 'spiritual' epiphany - which usually takes the form of adopting someone else's codified view of the world (which requires a level of trust in the wisdom of religious leaders that I can't help but find foolish..).

But is it possible to simply decide off the bat that the world is a rosy and happy place without holding fast to a particular philosophy? Or theology? I wonder because I don't have belief. I seem to fundamentally lack the ability to let go of analysis and investigation; to submit to the unknown - the ineffable. I must always eff with it.

Which has failed to make me happy. But is my personality so set, so concrete that I couldn't alter that and become a more.. wide-eyed? Naive even? I'm not sure of the words. Not sure of the mind-set I'd like to achieve. Not sure of what I could become.

Not sure I want to be someone else.

I feel that my personality isn't getting me anywhere near the happiness I desire but then this is me. I can understand why some people cling to their depression or mental illnesses - they may be in pain but to lose that which is an essential part of your being is a more traumatic thought than living with the suffering.

Not that I'm suggesting that my own issues are comparable, I could probably make the minor shift in mindset without losing familiarity with my self. I just need to pull finger and find out how to go about doing that.

I'll get right onto that tomorrow. But now I must go to bed and wrestle with my existential crisis some more.

'night all.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check out the wikipedia entry for "depressive realism." A related concept is "positive illusions."

It has been suggested (wish I could find the source but I'm on my lunch break and running out of time) that the value of an estimate of one's efficacy is not so much its truth value, but its motivational value. Let's say you opt to believe things will turn out well; this may stimulate you to do much more productive things than the opposing belief, that things will turn out badly. At the end of the day, the person who proceeds as if things will turn out well ... wins.

Chew on that.

You Don't Know Me

fishboy said...

That dovetails nicely with what I'd been reading about enthusiasm - albeit in a more practical context. Simply put that enthusiasm for something carries both that idea (or product, cause - whatever) and it's promoter to be more successful merely because of the enthusiasm expressed.

There's truth in the adage "you get back what you give out" or that good vibes are returned. Which sounds suspiciously new-agey. But I'm beginning to think those smelly hippies have a point...

helena said...

We do...

Would like to comment more on this but my mum's coming to borrow my vacumn cleaner and my house is filthy so better do a mad dash clean!...will come back to this later on

fishboy said...

I guess I still consider myself a hippy (it's my nickname amongst some friends) - although my standards of hygiene have never allowed me to reach the upper-levels of feral hippyhood :)

Good luck with the vacuuming and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

y said...

Al the above is really interesting and is probbing me to find out some more.

More hippie yoga style:
yoga = boosts production of whichever chemicals alter my/our sense of well being. Hence new perspective, very similar to a newly found optimism.

Works for me. Otherwise I would never have found the confidence and, yes, optimism to try out this hectic dating thing.