Half-empty, or half-full?


Half-empty, or half-full?
Photo: Derek Jensen

Fed up with the doom and gloom about the recession, global warming, and rising terrorism? Since they probably aren’t going to go away, perhaps you should read  The Optimist, a new book by Laurence Shorter.  Over three years, he spent time finding people who make the best of their time on the planet, including Richard Branson, Mick Jagger, and Desmond Tutu.


In his research, he discovered that “optimism” is actually misrepresented. A word coined by 17th century philosopher Leibniz, its original meaning was actually “optimal”, to signify the perfection of the universe as it is now–in other words, being in the moment, and deciding to accept things as they really are.  

Interestingly,”Martin Seligman, in researching this area, criticises academics for focusing too much on causes for pessimism and not enough on optimism. He states that in the last three decades of the 20th century journals published 46,000 psychological papers on depression and only 400 on joy.” (Wikipedia).

Interesting, n’est-ce pas?

4 Replies to “Half-empty, or half-full?”

  1. Val:
    You commented on my site about Aganetha Dyck’s work. Aganetha and her husband, Peter, are very close friends of mine. I am so glad you commented as it brought me to your blog. I look forward to reading your blog and seeing the images you present. I found myself very engaged by your work. Thank you.

  2. David:
    Thanks for writing. My interest in Aganetha’s work brought me to your site and voila! you and I seem to be sharing similar thoughts on how to make life more meaningful. It’s great to see how you are pulling in artmaking to show ways of viewing the workworld. I was interested to see your thoughts on work and “service,” and your installments on happiness.

  3. Thanks for the pointer to the book “The Optimist.” If you’re interested in testing your own optimism, using the assessment developed by Martin Seligman, visit http://www.happier.com. Free tests and tools based on the best work in positive psychology.

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