Kevin Kelly: The Case for Optimism

It is extremely difficult to create a desirable future without first envisioning it. To imagine is really the first step in creating anything.

Therefore an essential chore for making a future we want to live in, is to imagine what it is like and how we get there. That plausible path is a form of optimism. Believing it is possible makes it more likely to happen. When hurdles and setbacks arise — and they will — the belief in its possibility serves as motivation. History is filled with accounts of people who held an optimistic belief others thought unlikely, or even impossible. This optimistic previsualization is a necessary component of change. Since we can not be certain of the future, optimism is only a belief — a stance that could be incorrect.

On the surface, an optimistic belief might seem no more valid than the stance of pessimism. But the deep history of new ideas makes it very clear that the optimistic stance of believing something is possible is a requirement to make anything new real, and is thus more powerful than pessimism. In the long run, optimists shape the future.

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