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Does Pessimism have a role?

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by jayasala42, May 21, 2014.

  1. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    From the childhood it has been dinned into our ears only to say good or auspicious things. Aswini Devatas are stated to be saying" amen'or 'let it be'. So for inauspicious statements also would be confirmed by them.
    In our village there is a funny inauspicious way of blessing newly married couples.
    our great grand patti would say in Tamil" Thali Peruga; Kunkumam kalaiya'
    Literal meaning will be" Let the yellow sacred thread get cut and the kunkumam on the bride's head be erased. What an inauspicious wish!.
    But people will be waiting to listen to Patti's words and they would come from even from the adjacent villages.
    The significance of the blessing" The girl will have a happy wedded life. She would get a baby soon. The baby when suckling its mother invariably will pull the yellow thread so forcibly that it may get cut. More so, the baby with its tiny fingers will erase the tilakam on mother's forehead while she hugs the baby.
    No wonder, the newly wedded bride would like to listen to the wonderful blessing from patti.

    One of my childhood friends, a brilliant student was famous for inauspicious thinking.For her exams result in failure, sickness in death, travel in accidents.She would weep after writing every exam and invariably score above 90%.

    In an old Tamil movie, Nagesh, the brides brother imagines that her sister's saree catches fire in the Kuthu vilakku( lamp)resulting in a great tragedy.

    The above friend of mine got married and had a handsome son.It seems that her uncle, a good astrologer predicted that her son's Ayurbhavam ( longevity) was questionable and a fatal calamity awaited him at the age of 7.

    The mother started worrying flamed by her attitude.As ill luck would have it, the boy, when seven., contacted some severe infection which resulted in high fever, got admitted. Mother got panicky always reminded of the terrific predictions of her uncle.
    Her lamentations and stress reached unimaginable heights necessitating her admission in a neuro ward.

    The boy's fever also didn't come down. Mother's condition started deteriorating day by day.Neither powerful drugs nor electric shock had the favourable impact.A week lapsed.
    The doctor visited the lady next morning.He held the mother's hands and asked her to be calm and slowly revealed the sad news that her son had reached heavenly abode and she had to face the reality.

    The mother broke down, wept bitterly for an hour and slowly came to terms. Her uncle's predictions had proved correct.It took nearly a week for her to reconcile to the fact and no visitors were allowed as she had to recover from the shock.
    After10 days she was discharged from the hospital.Even facing tragedy seemed better than living in anxiety.The pricking worry got suppressed after knowing the inevitable.
    After a month she went to meet the doctor and thanked him profusely for bringing her back to normalcy and gave him a gift article.
    The doctor said that he also wanted to give her a return gift to her.From inside was brought the seven year old child of the lady, in full form.The doctor had kept the boy in his custody so long.
    A blatant lie, though inauspicious, saved the mother( see my snippet on "satyameva Jayathe)
    Now her son, 40 years old, is married and well settled.All the conflicts resulted out of
    the misplaced faith in astrology and her innate attitude.

    In 'faith' there is enough light for those who believe and enough shadows to blinden people.
    One of my cousins, a great believer of numerology tied the mangalasutra at
    3.40 A. M. as advised by his numerology Guru.He insisted on getting a particular door No:32 for his rented house in Chennai. Of course he got a house in a crooked lane.The pessimistic beliefs fused into inexpressible stubbornness, made the life miserable for his wife and children and the entire family went into ruins even before the person was 60.

    But we cannot set aside 'pessimism' branding it as an undesirable attribute.
    There are many pessimists who have been very successful in life.

    I fully appreciate ' Dream Big ' theory of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Pessimism is stated to stand in the way of dreaming great.

    People with rosy outlook sometimes become over confident , refuse to see within and overlook the emergency threats.Pessimists with their expectation set at a lower level get prepared for eventualities and disappointments.

    Practically pessimism has a decisive role in crisis management in business, disaster management during natural calamities, dealing with Railway and Flight accidents. Not to talk of bear trends in stock markets and the importance of Intensive care units in hospitals and ambulance keep up cannot be under emphasized.

    Every optimistic thought has an inbuilt pessimism beneath.Are pessimistic people
    too optimistic about the impending perils?Isn't the world famous mechanism of SWOT( Strength, Weakness-Opportunity and Threat) in management science essentially based on pessimism?

    Jayasala 42
     
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  2. navs23

    navs23 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Jayasala Ma'am,

    Thanks for sharing a very thought provoking post.

    Being a occasional pessimist myself, I can totally relate to the post. The brave, die only once, but, the timid die again and again. Pessimism is a kind of fear, infact, a phobia, the fear to see or feel the optimistic side of life, due to the fear of failing or losing.

    A hopeless pessimist only foresees what could go wrong, and has a plan B, but, a practical pessimist is a cautionary optimist, who foresees both the good and bad outcomes and has a plan B(if it goes wrong) and a plan C(after it goes right).

    The hopeless pessimist in me also wonders if the doctor's act could have gone either way. What if the sad news had killed the mother and left the boy alone? How was the doctor so optimistic that such a news would only make her stronger?
     
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  3. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Navs3,
    Thank you for the response. I had also the same doubt.Since, the doctor was a psychologist, he would have studied her mind. Since his normal drug and electrical therapy did not have the desired results , he had used his lateral thinking.
    As a doctor, he would have studied the patient's mind well and would have been optimistic of the benign results and would have been prepared for the exigencies and would have cautionary alternate plans,in case his treatment would go wrong..The pessimism in an optimist and the optimism in a pessimist are interesting studies, as you have rightly pointed out.

    Jayasala 42
     
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  4. PushpavalliSrinivasan

    PushpavalliSrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Jaya,
    A thought provoking topic.
    Pessimists expect the worst. They over-estimate risks, assuming that bad things will happen. Extreme pessimists expect the worst every time. They believe that good things only happen to other people. They set their personal success bar low and do not strive for what they believe they can never attain.

    This can be a good survival strategy in that pessimists are ready for the risks. The question is what they do about it. If a pessimist is also a fatalist, then they will assume they can do nothing and so do not fight fate.

    Pessimism is bad for health. In expecting the worst, the pessimist lives in constant stress and anxiety, which is bad for the body.

    Optimists assume that the best will happen or that they will be luckier than other people. They are hopeful, believing that good things can happen to them. At times due to over confidence optimists also have to face failure.
    PS
     
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  5. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Pushpa,

    Thank you for your wonderful response giving in nutshell what it really means.
    It is just like good and bad combination. Even people who are optimistic would become pessimistic when faced with problems.
    Psychologists and research scholars feel continuous success can make a man optimistic.When he faces a single failure he is totally down letting himself into total depression.
    Especially educationists have to keep this in mind and avoid giving the first place to the same student over and again.Avoiding success and purposely meeting with the failure
    on occasions will definitely strengthen the mind.This is a self assessment plan.
     
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  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Mrs.Jayasala,

    When pessimist starts from the worst case scenario, the optimist starts from the best case. Optimism and Pessimism are only state of mind of each individual. I wouldn't say SWOT is based on Pessimism but it is derived from all possible scenarios. People who believe that the world is out to get them gets pleasantly surprised by someone extending a helping hand whereas an optimist will expect everyone to extend helping hand in times of need and will get disappointed if no one does. A balanced mind is one which accepts all results (reality) while keeping the hope alive at all times.

    Viswa
     
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  7. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Viswa,
    I agree.I meant that SWOT recognises 'Pessimism'.
    You have analysed the concept very well.
    When we feel that there is some weakness in the individual or team and there is a threat for success, automatically optimism gives way to clouds of pessimism.

    Jayasala 42
     
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  8. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    There are people who accept any challenge life throws at them and move ahead. While there are others who, with a defeatist attitude, blame their luck or karma or the planets and fall into despair.


    Anticipating mistakes, being aware of negative fallouts and preparing oneself for possible potholes cannot be categorised as Pessimism . Getting stuck with imaginary terrors and not making efforts to overcome difficulties is Pessimism .


    These days, when there are Seniormembers in a family, they instal a railing near the WC in bathrooms to act as support. Thats planning and foresight. Definitely not the Pessimism of that Nagesh comedy brand !
     
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  9. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Thank you, Crafts and Looms.
    Jayasala 42
     
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  10. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Manju,
    Well said. All the advancement in science and developments thereof have been possible out of experiencing certain difficulties.as you said, that cannot be termed as " pessimism'.Getting up after many failures is definitely optimism.
    As human beings it is quite normal to feel depressed for some time.As our will power excels, the glow of optimism is there.
    Thank you Manju.

    Jayasala 42
     
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