The most optimistic person is the one who complains the most

We went out to run some errands today and passed near to the house of an old friend who is a constant complainer.  It struck me that someone who complains constantly should be marked down as remarkably optimistic.  The complainer believes that people actually might care.

Who are the true pessimists?  People who never complain.  They are so far into the depths of despair that they’ve lost hope that anyone is listening.


  1. Mark

    November 10, 2006 @ 3:12 am


    If you are serious about the pessimists then I disagree.
    My father rarely ever complains yet is overall a very laid-back, yet optimistic man.
    He always told me to talk less and do (take action) more. He said people talked too much.
    Mark D.

  2. Bob Collins

    November 10, 2006 @ 10:50 am


    Philip: I couldn’t possibly agree with you more. The cynics, in particular, are in search of perfection, believing it to be possible. I wrote a blog entry today, inspired by your “complaint” (g).

  3. fensterm

    November 10, 2006 @ 11:57 am


    I prefer to call what I do ‘critique’. According to a pencil and paper inventory I took once, I am a mild depressive. Yet I AM an optimist. I see the possibilities for us. Mirror, mirror I tell you true, we’re not making it by what we do. We can do better. We just have to get organized.


  4. Richard

    November 11, 2006 @ 1:20 am


    We have no reason to be optimists and no time to be pessimists here in the affluent West. To be pessimistic is not the same as to be a fatalist, as your comment implies. The pessimist merely believes that the state of affairs will worsen, etc. In fact, we have reason to be fatalists in the sense that we have ceased to live in a true democracy: the war in Iraq, neoliberal agenda setting that accords priority to multinational corporate interests above the basic needs for survival of the average person. One need only look at the case of the World Trade Organization to see that this is so. Affordable medecine, social safety nets that are most badly needed in the developing world and the freedom of local governments and their people to determine their own future as well as human rights are all being violated by this institution, among others. So much more could be said, but suffice to say, I understand those who meet the future with “fear and trembling” or resignation, while I may not share their views. Before we plunge into the future optimistically, let us first be informed of our place of privilege in this world and use it in resistance to the WTO, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to name only a few. I recommend that all optimists read any work by Stephen Lewis or Noam Chomsky before calling themselves “optimistic.”

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