The new album vision 2020 is hopeful, certainly, but I am not optimistic. To be an optimist is to display a positive outlook that is based on the expectation of success and the most favorable outcome possible. An optimist is the kid that goes to school knowing that there will be a test and, despite not having studied at all, expects to do well in that test. Or the person who runs along a tree that has fallen across a ravine or a river… without stopping to look whether the wood is rotten and can’t support them.
I find this attitude rather useless. Don’t tell me everything will be fine. Don’t tell me not to worry. Also don’t tell me that everything sucks and all will end badly. As I become older I find optimists as well as pessimists tiring. They presuppose an outcome that is not guaranteed. This following story illustrates my point, I think:
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “We’ll see,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “We’ll see,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “We’ll see,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “We’ll see,” said the farmer.
(I mentioned this story in a 2005 post about accidents)
I love this quote:
If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.
– Orson Welles