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A cure for optimism? It’s got to be possible, right?

Not a cure exactly, but this study raises the notion of optimism as a survival factor.


In a nutshell, the authors of this scientific experiment have shown that squirting cold water into one ear and not into the other, hence triggering a so called vestibular response (vertigo, or room-spin, to you and me) reduces people’s sense of optimism. Whodathunkit?

The consequences of unbridled optimism were robustly ridiculed by Voltaire in his satire Candide, in which a follower of the optimistic doctrine remains upbeat throughout the book, despite being at the receiving end of the most horrific of misfortunes. He remains steadfast in his belief that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Que sera sera. OK a little extreme, but surely a large dose of optimism would seem a pre-requisite for surivial? Why on earth would anyone get up in the morning, otherwise, unless with the conscious or subconscious belief that good, life-fulfilling, pleasurable things were going to happen to you that day? Rather than the stark reality of our impeding mortality? Upbeat people themselves live longer too, so its good for the individual as well as their progeny.

Or is it all self-delusion as the more nihilistic amongst us might contend? But then you have to define ‘self’ and ‘consciousness’ and….this is almost certainly a philosophical rabbit hole that I’m not going to fall down just now, partly because your (and my) attention span is probably already being sorely tested as you get this far into this blog, but also because it’s a big theme perhaps best saved for a more signifiant piece of writing…say a novel? (Ooh, R.P. you are a tease.)