Let’s try this again:
I don’t think anyone who knows me well would call me an optimist. I wouldn’t necessarily label myself a pessimist either, I’m simply analytical. My first thought in most situations is to consider what might go wrong. I think over the years I have gotten better of putting a positive face on the way that I diagnose situations, but I never want to lose that analytical side to myself. I don’t see it as a weakness to consider all the possible outcomes in a given scenario.
That said, I would also categorize myself as hopeful. I don’t think these two aspects of myself are in contradiction. What is a critique other than imagining how something could be better? And yet hope seems to be a devaluing of that which we can observe. Yes, I observe a world full of racism. I hope a world where people are no longer judged in such ways. I observe homophobia (if we’re still allowed to use that word). I hope for a world where people aren’t judged by whom they love. I see people living under the heel of poverty. I hear the sounds of people crying out from the ravages of war. To hope is believe, in spite of what natural senses tell me, that these things need not be.
Hope, then, is almost ridiculous. It feels naive at times. Those who put great hope on display always seem a bit delusional and yet we are inspired by their ability to fly in the face of what is empirical and quantitative and base their decisions on something a little more real. Hope requires a willful bit of foolishness.