What a Pessimistically Optimistic World We Weave

💬 Highlights:

  • There is a concerning obsession for pessimism in world slowly improving.
  • While not blind to the problems of the world, I strongly desire to make the world better.
  • Many Normal Happenings features this year will be thematically optimistic.

🎧 Recommended Listening:

Your First Light My Eventide, The Echelon Effect

“What a Pessimistically Optimistic World We Weave”

Season 2, Episode 1

Do you remember back in December 2012, when the world was at least in part convinced themselves that the world was just going to end? That, even after all of the little story arcs in all of our lives, Earth was simply going to blink out of existence. Books and documentaries of both prophetic doomsday and analytical reassurance rivaled each other on the shelves of their media marketplaces. The whole pandemonium seemed a bit childish, especially six years removed from the calamity of never.

Yet, I too became fascinated with the phenomenon, not because I for a second believed the end was upon us — though I was slightly concerned that humans and their propensity towards self-fulfilling prophecy were going to find a way to make it happen — but rather how fully many had accepted their impending fate. I recall several media agencies were positing that these types of people felt, even desired, the end of the world out of a sense of misguided judgement. “How could any reasonable person want the world to end?” I asked myself, the burgeoning activist inside of me immediately interpreting such a sentiment as an unusual form of victim blaming.

Fast forward to the present day, however, and I begin to wonder if perhaps there may be some truth to these end-of-the-world desires after all. I suspected our cultural obsession with dystopian literature would subside a few months after the daily life of 2013 kicked in. It has not; the thrill and joy of living has not ushered in a new golden era of optimism. It is as if, despite the world being at a more positive point than it ever has in human history, society is more obsessed with pessimism than it has been in a long time. And, in the face of so many technological, medical, and scientific breakthroughs, I believe that mentality is harming us. I wish to do something about that, in small or in large — whatever opportunities I’m blessed with to show the beauty of life among the pain so self-evident.

As with all explorations of optimism, I would be remiss without noting that I am not naive to the issues of the world. We’re currently dealing with major battles on two fronts: accelerating climate change, of which we can really only hope technology provides a conduit towards restoration of natural habitats, and sociopolitical pressure that stalls human rights process at a rate I would like to see. These are highly complex issues far outside of the realm of Normal Happenings, but I feel it is important to note that I do not follow blind idealism. Rather, I am the type of person who harnesses that idealism in an attempt to make small portions of the world a better place. All of that is to say, this year in particular for Normal Happenings will focus on unrelenting optimism — a focus on futurism in the context that life can continue to improve on a macro scale if indeed humans are overall good as I suspect.

As the first feature of the year, and a bit of a soft reboot for Normal Happenings, I want this piece to serve as an introduction for the themes you are likely to see this year. It is very brave to be defiantly an optimist in the face of such cynicism, but if others cannot because of culture or experiences, I will. It is my responsibility. I hope you will join me in viewing the world from a more positive perspective. We are the ones making up this amazing planet after all. We deserve to be happy. Our art, our literature, our engineering and architecture, technological advancements and philosophical musings — all of it is beautiful. With the overwhelming effort we put into our accomplishments, we can and will build a future better than the ones depicted in the pessimistic media we love so much. While Normal Happenings will, of course, be about a great many things this year, don’t be surprised if it all comes back to finding ways to make the world a better place. Sometimes the simplest messages are ones that need the most repetition to be understood.

So, let’s discuss. Do you believe there is a lack of optimism in today’s culture. If so, how do you feel about that? And if not, let me know how I can alter my own perspective to see how people themselves are being positive. I would also love some recommendations on some good books, films, television shows, video games, or podcasts that reflect an optimistic perspective. Until next time, may your days be anything but normal!


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I Am a Pollyanna: Personal Positivity in the Face of Societal Negativity

A personality defined by irrepressible optimism, even in the face of the most adverse or discouraging of circumstances. That, in a nutshell, is what the word “pollyanna” means.

Normal Happenings is a blog of unbridled optimism. Although I recognize and have deeply experienced the darkness of the world, I choose to encounter the world through an unbreakable positivity. I have no qualms about saying that’s a form of Pollyannaism, and a very healthy manifestation of it at that. I am not naive, nor unrealistic, but it my worldview of optimism that keeps me from sinking.

Flashback to May of 2015: I had just finished my first year of graduate school, proposed to Nikki winter prior, and extremely recently lost my assistantship due to misunderstanding and bad luck. This was an obvious section of my life that mixed strong positivity with negativity, making it apropos that this is when the word came into my life. It always came as a surprise to me that the word took this long to show up. By this point I was already making end roads of manifesting my overly positive personality, but more so my communications background should have given me knowledge of the existence of the iconic 1913 children’s book by Eleanor Porter. After all, the book inspired a great many movie adaptations and firmly cemented its way into modern vernacular. Continue reading “I Am a Pollyanna: Personal Positivity in the Face of Societal Negativity”

Light

– By Nikki –

I hear a voice more harsh than a gunshot whispering in my ear.

“No one will understand, listen, or care about you,” it claims, wrapping it’s arms around my neck and dragging me out of the existing moment I am participating in. I struggle against the weight of the constricting arms that are slowly choking me to death. I try to to verbalize what is going on, but all that I see is your hard face not noticing me.

I close my eyes and allow the darkness to overtake me.

I don’t feel anything.
I don’t have an opinion. Continue reading “Light”

Five Ways to Stay Positive

Coming off of a somewhat dark post, I want to reinforce the fact that this is an optimist’s blog! I am irrepressibly positive, or, as I’ve been called, “nauseatingly optimistic.” I like blue skies, music with eighties-sounding synthesizers, and kissing my wife on top of ferris wheels – something we haven’t done since we’ve gotten married!

So today, we’re looking at five ways to stay positive. It’s a simple message, no doubt, but sometimes the world needs simple messages.

Let me show you a little of what I know, specifically, how to stay positive. Despite my pension for delving into occasionally dark topics, I am at the top of the food chain for most upbeat person I know. I acknowledge the darkness that exists in the world, but I rarely ever embrace it. I have the confidence that everything is going to work out, no matter how bad things seem. I am not blind to negativity, but I’d like to think that I am, at the very least, sufficiently shielded from it. Continue reading “Five Ways to Stay Positive”