On My Mind - Half Full
by Michael Brady
ARE YOU AN OPTIMIST OR A PESSIMIST?
There is no such thing as a realist!
You might think that title is cute. Or you might think that title is flippant. But I'm dead serious. What do you mean Michael, “There's no such thing as a realist“? Well, let’s use a metaphor to examine my outrageous assertion. Let’s use an analogy. An analogy is saying something is like something else to make some sort of explanatory point. I'm going to use a glass of water. This glass is clear and a straight cylinder, no bulges. This glass is half filled with water. It is precisely filled halfway with water. When you look at it in your mind now, I can ask you, “Is the glass half empty or is it half full”? Let's say your answer Is half empty. Are you being optimistic or pessimistic? Obviously, pessimism is the correct answer. Conversely, if you answer half full, you're being optimistic. So how does realism fit into the conversation about the glass being half empty or half full? You might say it doesn't have anything to do with the question. It doesn't apply. Or you might say, instead it's 4 ounces of water in an 8-ounce glass. I would say you are just avoiding the issue and the question with that answer as well. You might say I'm just being factual or objective and that's being realistic. Isn't it? I would say you are equating realism with measurement and measurement is associated with science. Right? And you would probably agree with me at that point.
And the point is that a scientific objective (realistic) answer to this question is just information that has no meaning in and of itself. A half empty / half full answer is a human value kind of answer. It means something to us as a person. If you are pessimistic you expect the future to show up in a negative /unpleasant way. If you're optimistic, you expect the future to show up in a positive / pleasant way. The 4 ounces in an 8-ounce glass answer is stuck in the present with information that has no importance in and of itself. And that is the trap we get caught in with the perspective that science is objective / realistic / just observing “what is”. And this perspective, on one hand, asserts that reality unfolds of its own accord. We have nothing to do with it. We are just watching. And on the other hand, isn't science asserting that only science can “control” how the world unfolds or shows up in the future? I call that a paradox.
We are all currently struggling to make sense of the confusing Covid-19 virus situation. And you can get different opinions from different scientists. That is because they are human beings who talk about measurement stuff and they can't keep their own “human values” out of the conversation. That's because science can't really just observe reality without influencing it. And there have been scientific studies done that show that to be true. But the main body of scientists in the world choose to ignore that. They choose to believe they can Just look and not influence what they observe. And then turn around and believe that they control Mother Nature. Do I dare say, they believe they can dominate Mother Nature? Humm, that might be the epitome of hubris.
Coming back to pessimism / optimism. These words refer to what we call attitudes. Attitudes are derived from feelings. That means that feelings (glad, mad, sad, scared, and ashamed / guilty) are primary and short lived; and attitudes are more pervasive and spread out over time. If you think about it, only glad goes with the attitude of optimism. Mad, sad, scared, and guilty go with pessimism. And coincidentally, there's a fair amount of scared and mad going around currently... just watch the news!
Let me lay this on you. Thought suggests manifestation. Emotion mandates manifestation, in the end. Here's my current advice. Where a mask when you must. Wash your hands more than you used to. Bolster your immune system in any way you choose to. Listen to people who are optimistic. Ignore prophets of doom. Put a glass half filled with water on your counter and everyday ask yourself the half empty half full question. See what you get. If I'm wrong, you haven't lost a thing. If I'm right, your life unfolds for the better, not the worse.