Optimist, Pessimist, or Realist?

I was watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night and “Iron Man 3” star Robert Downey Jr. was the guest. As usual, Stewart went off on a tangent and both started talking about random things that really had nothing to do with why the guest was on the show in the first place. At one point, if I recall correctly, Stewart asked Downey about his acting career and how he feels towards certain projects. (It was something to that degree.)

Downey brought up Chuck Missler, a renowned bible teacher I had never before knew existed. Downey paraphrased one of Missler’s quotes about optimism and pessimism and got a good laugh out of Stewart and the audience.

So, of course I had to look up the exact quote and see what the complete saying was. For your enjoyment, this is the quote in its entirety:

“The definition between a pessimist and an optimist is that the pessimist has more information! A pessimist is one who is almost always right but doesn’t enjoy it. An optimist is someone who thinks the future is uncertain.”

Whenever people ask if I’m an optimist or a pessimist, I will respond by saying I am a realist. “What does that mean?” they ask. Well, it means that I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic; I just…am. I don’t get too high or too low, I do my best to stay even keel and toe the line between reality and sensationalism. Sometimes I lose track of where I am standing, but I find that to be a normal course of action among just about all human beings.

It’s like when people ask me what my political affiliations are; I respond by saying, “I’m a member of the Apathetic Party.” Then, the other day I was thinking about whether I actually am apathetic or whether I’m actually apoplectic. Essentially, I do care about my life and the lives of others and this strange, random, fucking crazy journey we are all on and how I want people to understand that. If I was apathetic that would mean I simply don’t care, and that may be true in terms of politics but not in terms of my overall existence.

Maybe my ideologies are ever changing, which I do not consider to be  a bad thing. It’s quite healthy if you think about it. But if I consider myself to lean towards a more liberal stance in regards to social constructs, I too believe I lean more towards being a pessimist because the possibility of a porous outcome is already identified from the beginning of the race.

When you understand that the scale can tip both ways, why not just sit in the middle?

11 thoughts on “Optimist, Pessimist, or Realist?

  1. I don’t like it when people say they are a ‘realist’. Its like saying you are agnostic. Join a side already and quit trying to be mysterious.

    • While I agree on your point about agnosticism, I wouldn’t say that a realist has a similar postion of being inconsequential. A realist simply lets things be, almost like one who sits in the middle and does not choose a political party. Also, agnosticism relies more on facts where as being a realist is more in line with personal ideology and individual coping mechanisms.

    • While I respect your opinion, I disagree regarding being an agnostic, because I guess I would consider myself an agnostic to some extent. The way you describe it implies that an agnostic’s viewpoint is motivated by public opinion regarding their religious stance. Being mysterious has nothing to do with where I stand, rather it’s me acknowledging I simply have the capacity to formulate a definitive way of knowing the truth one way or the other. I have my reasons for believing some sort of deity (omnipotent or not) exists but I also have my reasons for believing there is nothing out there. Both sides rely on a best guess based on their own understanding; nothing more, nothing less, period. I am an avid scientist with a degree in meteorology and believe science and religion can indeed coexist, but at this point in time, that opinion is not widely regarded a valid way of looking at things. Anyway, that was my rant. Like I said, there was no hostility attached to that; just wanted to give my point of view.

      • Thanks for sharing, Ricky.

        While I lean more towards atheism than agnosticism, it is simply because I lack any sort of confidence in there being some form of omnipotent being that created us all. But while I am not religious anymore (nor do I believe in theism), I respect the views of others as long as they have some sort of explanation as to why they believe what they do. Maybe it has something to do with how I operate or my particular thought pattern, but people should not solely have faith or hope as those things lack any sense of probability.

        Again, everyone is different and that is the beauty of existence. Keep reading my posts!

    • Just an edit after not proofreading well enough. * …rather it’s me acknowledging I simply DO NOT have the cappacity…*

  2. I was watching this episode of Jon Stewart off of the PVR the day after it was broadcast and I too was very intrigued by Robert Downey JR referencing this quote (and stopping himself from saying the word “Christian” to describe Missler) and with iPad in my lap found this most excellent post before the interview was over. Thanks Nick, great service! Yes, absolutely, being a Realist is the way to go.

    • James, thanks a lot for reading! It’s nice to know that someone else was intrigued by what was said in that interview, and I did also notice how he avoided using any religious term to describe Missler.

      Feel free to browse around; I encourage it! Take care.

  3. It’s strange how hollywood has that influence on a person…avoiding the overt christian themes. I have a relative living out there and it seems to affected him in that way too, although he would tell you privately he still believes.

    • I appreciate your candor and for following my blog. I skimmed your blog and will surely invest more time in it as my schedule permits. I only follow the intriguing ones.

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