The Positive Power of Negative Thinking

A pessimist’s point of view by Luke Hranek

Written for The Hixson High School Newspaper on 9-27-02

The things I least want to hear when I’m having a bad day are often the things I am forced to hear belligerently repeated over and over again at school. I am hounded constantly by the creeds and doctrines of the newest and most narcissistic of all dogmas: optimism.

I am not alone in my suffering either. I am just one voice of the many students who are shunned, banished, and belittled for their possession of what society calls a “negative attitude.”

Optimism has done amazingly little good for society as a whole. Optimism has made people forget about all the bad things in the world that require our attention. It has made us forget about child molesters, murder, famine, and war; all just to make us feel better about ourselves. Without pessimism, these things will never be able to change. The gears of suffering and pain will grind merrily away at human existence until nothing is left.

But why is pessimism so persecuted? Why can a pessimist not freely express his or her own opinions without being lectured about how wrong they are? In a world as diverse, multifaceted, and open-minded as our own, why is one viewpoint enthroned in glory above all others?

Is pessimism really such a bad thing for society? Pessimism has been proven in psychological studies to be a helpful tool in both personal problem solving and interpersonal relationships. A pessimist expects the worst possible outcome, and subconsciously takes steps to avoid it. Pessimists are also proven to be less disappointed when something goes wrong.

What does this mean? It means that the blatant optimistic indoctrinations of this school and of society are wrong. Optimists and pessimists should be allowed to think freely and without a fear of rejection or persecution of any sort. The untamed bias against pessimism is not only a misguided prejudice; it is nothing short of a monopoly of mind-control. Stop treating your classmates as if they are wrong for their negative beliefs! Open up your irrevocably optimistic heart and accept the fact that there is a negative side to your hopelessly unrealistic mindset. There are plenty of pessimists in the world, and each one deserves all of the honor and respect that they would receive if they had been born an optimist.

The glass can never be half full until it is half empty.