• schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    As I've stated before, the very act of bringing someone into existence is a political act. It is agreeing on someone else's behalf that the ideology of life (finding ways to survive, comfort, entertain in a cultural setting), is worth it and necessary to live out for that other person. Optimists will agree with this point. To them, they will see existence itself as a positive, and they will see the maneuverings of having to survive, find comfort, entertainment, of trying to navigate the contingent harms that may befall as worth it. They may even co-opt the negatives as good and necessary so that the person can "overcome" it in some way and be "better" for it.

    The pessimist does not see existence itself as a positive. They do not see the maneuverings of having to survive, find comfort, and entertainment as positive. Rather, they simply view situations of "dealing with" to get by. In other words, Life presents one thing after another to deal with.

    I'm claiming that these two positions, are the ultimate political-existential divide. Left and right politics, are intra-wordly and after-the-fact. They are generally already on the same side because they think existence has positive value or that it is good and that the trials and tribulations are worth it for all humans born. They have already bypassed the more fundamental and important question, which is whether this is worth it at all. They assumed "yes" and forged ahead.

    A criticism of this may be something like "But people are already born, we must move forward now and that is where the usual left/right politics comes into play". Yes and no. The left/right political assumptions provides reinforcement and feedback to the notion that this should be the state of affairs in the first place. By never discussing the more fundamental politics of whether existence is worth it, the default assumption is that it is, and thus we must discuss the machinations and maneuverings of the institutions of the already existing situation. However, that is not the case. The more fundamental issue is whether the whole life enterprise should be brought about and carried forward, especially on behalf of other people. That is the more fundamental political difference.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    38
    The left/right politics is how we deal with this mess now it's happened.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.1k
    Obviously I largely agree, however lately from various things I have read I have started to wonder if the optimism/pessimism divide is a product of a technological and agricultural society. It is hard for me to seriously consider debates like this happening in a primitive world in which humans are not domesticated and behave as animals in a larger ecosystem. Questions like this just would not arise, no one would give them any thought. This sort of thinking is symptomatic of severely corrupted and twisted creatures, things that by all accounts really should not exist.
  • ToothyMaw
    250


    I'm claiming that these two positions, are the ultimate political-existential divide. Left and right politics, are intra-wordly and after-the-fact. They are generally already on the same side because they think existence has positive value or that it is good and that the trials and tribulations are worth it for all humans born.schopenhauer1

    Many of the optimists you describe might advocate for abortion or infanticide in the case of a fetus in utero or a baby that is born and will die in agony before becoming a person. These people are on the left mostly. Would you consider them pessimists even if they believe that people with valuable futures should be brought into the world?

    I don't believe that the left and right are on the same side generally; it differs significantly based on context. For instance, on a related note, mostly only people on the left and libertarians believe physician-assisted suicide should be legal. Does this make them pessimists? What if a life is truly miserable and it would be better for everyone involved if someone committed suicide legally? This, while not optimistic, doesn't seem to fit neatly into the category of pessimism; it doesn't express a negative valuation, but rather an acceptance of reality; some lives, in many people's opinions, are not worth living. This loops around to the earlier issue of abortion/infanticide. These same people, mostly leftists, believe that it is at least passable to bring someone who will not suffer unduly into existence. Thus, on specific issues, there are fundamental differences between the left and right when it comes to the valuation of life and all its potential suffering and joy.
  • Outlander
    869
    the very act of bringing someone into existence is a political actschopenhauer1

    Oh forreal? My mate had a few drinks and the last thing he remembered was not being a father. Needless to say, when he came to he was cheerfully informed.
  • ToothyMaw
    250

    Oh forreal? My mate had a few drinks and the last thing he remembered was not being a father. Needless to say, when he came to he was cheerfully informed.Outlander

    Cheerfully informed that he was a father? Or that he wasn't a father? .
  • Outlander
    869


    The former. Point being not every life brought into this world is a thoughtful, purposeful, let alone political action. I'll reply more to the OP in a bit I'm sure I just had to point that out. "Gotcha" post I suppose. As is.
  • ToothyMaw
    250


    Yeah I think the OP is a good one. Do you think that if the optimism/pessimism dichotomy presupposes the left/right that the politics of the left/right can affect the optimism/pessimism? Or do you think it isn't transitive?
  • ToothyMaw
    250


    The left/right politics is how we deal with this mess now it's happened.Down The Rabbit Hole

    I disagree; as discussed in my earlier post I believe that the politics of the right/left concern the optimism and pessimism that the OP describes and that they do differ significantly in terms of what they say about bringing people into this world.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    The left/right politics is how we deal with this mess now it's happened.Down The Rabbit Hole

    True, but there should be a more fundamental debate going on.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    Obviously I largely agree, however lately from various things I have read I have started to wonder if the optimism/pessimism divide is a product of a technological and agricultural society. It is hard for me to seriously consider debates like this happening in a primitive world in which humans are not domesticated and behave as animals in a larger ecosystem. Questions like this just would not arise, no one would give them any thought. This sort of thinking is symptomatic of severely corrupted and twisted creatures, things that by all accounts really should not exist.darthbarracuda

    Yeah, culture affects our modes of survival, comfort, entertainment. In the spirit of fairness and equality, even the "noble savage" of the primitive world, should grapple with this question. It is as much their problem as ours. This is true that they may never think it though on their own.

    However, the fact that it can be thought by a human means that there is already something there that was able to be accessed.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    Would you consider them pessimists even if they believe that people with valuable futures should be brought into the world?ToothyMaw

    No because they think that existence is generally worth existing for most people. They don't advocate abortion at all times. Something about existence is good for some people to them.

    This, while not optimistic, doesn't seem to fit neatly into the category of pessimism; it doesn't express a negative valuation, but rather an acceptance of reality; some lives, in many people's opinions, are not worth living. This loops around to the earlier issue of abortion/infanticide. These same people, mostly leftists, believe that it is at least passable to bring someone who will not suffer unduly into existence. Thus, on specific issues, there are fundamental differences between the left and right when it comes to the valuation of life and all its potential suffering and joy.ToothyMaw

    I am not sure we can say it is due to optimism/pessimism really. Rather, this has to do with rights of people to do what they want with their life. They may think life is great and that the people are making a terrible mistake but believe it is okay to end one's life when one wants easily. Also, often religionists are very pessimistic even though they are anti-abortion/assisted suicide. Rather, they want everyone to live so they can see the End of Times. Some also believe suffering is a virtue and all that.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    Oh forreal? My mate had a few drinks and the last thing he remembered was not being a father. Needless to say, when he came to he was cheerfully informed.Outlander

    There's a few ways to answer that.
    1) Almost every adult knows the consequences of sex.
    2) Abortion is an option, though people may not believe it is right so may not see that as an option
    3) My bet is generally speaking, the person thinks it was not a tragedy but a mistake and thus the person born, they think (like so many others) will be better off for it. It will be seen as a good thing, the right thing, etc.

    If not then, the friend is a pessimist who made a mistake. That doesn't negate the divide.
  • ToothyMaw
    250

    I am not sure we can say it is due to optimism/pessimism really. Rather, this has to do with rights of people to do what they want with their life. They may think life is great and that the people are making a terrible mistake but believe it is okay to end one's life when one wants easily. Also, often religionists are very pessimistic even though they are anti-abortion/assisted suicide. Rather, they want everyone to live so they can see the End of Times. Some also believe suffering is a virtue and all that.schopenhauer1

    Good point; many people probably would recognize the assisted suicide thing as an issue of rights. But the second part of your statement about the religious only supports the point I made about the right and left disagreeing on different issues and feeding back into the pessimism/optimism politics. I don't think that the pessimism/optimism political divide is required to make the right/left politics coherent.
  • ToothyMaw
    250


    But it remains that the right to assisted suicide is predicated upon the conception that a life isn't worth living; perhaps it isn't worth living merely because you want to arbitrarily end it, or maybe it is because you wish to end your own suffering or the suffering of your family and friends. But the right doesn't exist without people believing that some lives aren't worth living and thus voting accordingly. Thus this feeds into the optimism/pessimism divide.
  • Outlander
    869
    An interesting question would be how inclined is someone to participate (or what would the differences/turnout be) in an event where confidence or belief in the idea that what one says or does matters as a fundamental basis (political election) if they're an optimist/pessimist?
  • ToothyMaw
    250


    Once again I'm having difficulties understanding you. I guess you mean what if people voted for laws based upon optimism/pessimism lines? I don't think that most issues are related to the ethical ramifications of bringing a person into this world. For instance, combating climate change has nothing to do with the human population (not saying humans don't contribute to climate change) as far as I know, other than that the earth will not be able to sustain the current population after a certain point. But the more pressing issue is how to avoid a scenario in which the population cannot be sustained.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    But the second part of your statement about the religious only supports the point I made about the right and left disagreeing on different issues and feeding back into the pessimism/optimism politics. I don't think that the pessimism/optimism political divide is required to make the right/left politics coherent.ToothyMaw

    I am not saying it has to be valid for left/right. Rather, whether life is even worth starting for someone else is the more fundamental political question. People will have a general attitude and belief that yes it is, but this is the question at hand in the optimist/pessimist debate.
  • Mijin
    123
    I think the op is right but actually think this is already implicit in how we currently divide politics.
    "Conservatism" could be seen as a kind phrasing of regressivism or indeed pessimism.
  • Brett
    3k


    The more fundamental issue is whether the whole life enterprise should be brought about and carried forward, especially on behalf of other people. That is the more fundamental political difference.schopenhauer1
    This then is the fundamental political question because it determines what sort of institutions we build or hold onto, what sort of communities we want to live in. The left/right divide ignores the implications, and then addresses that original political question by how best we should live now that we are here.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    This then is the fundamental political question because it determines what sort of institutions we build or hold onto, what sort of communities we want to live in. The left/right divide ignores the implications, and then addresses that original political question by how best we should live now that we are here.Brett

    You'd have to explain that.
  • StreetlightX
    6.7k
    There is literally nothing political about 'pessimism', which is a sideshow for privileged first-world whiners luxuriating in their own romanticized self-pity. Which follows from it not being philosophy either, but a post-hoc ratiocination of conclusions long-reached by way of the psychological foibles of low-grade misery.
  • Cobra
    57
    I think the difference is approach to morality, less so optimist/pessimist states and/or expectations, as this seems like a dismissive simplification to what is - in fact, we could argue your post itself is a bit optimistic in how you approach the divide of politics itself, such as having faith that the divide of morality can be boiled down simply to be 'too optimistic', which is a symptom of ignorance, moral laziness, absence of education, I'd say. Some of this may not be able to be changed, lower intelligence may very well be an mostly unchangeable factor, especially in adults going through cognitive declines to where we see shifts back to conservatism and religious-thinking. As for pessimism/optimism, while they contribute to how you deal with already in place policies and politics, it is an expectation or response to "what is" ... Not what can be done (e.g. conduct - morals - etc..). Seems to me discerning "what is" the case is still heavily disputed due to ignorance, moral laziness, and lack of proper education cause political divides. There are also other nuances such as parenting and upbringing. I am skeptical to call someone a 'leftie or rightie' that has such an ignorant stance of politics to the point where they are apolitical. I believe apolitical is a symptom of ignorance, but being political or not is not optional, similar to arguing moral nihilism is a interesting or coherent philosophy.

    Left and right's opposing moral stances are the main reason for political divide, and optimism/pessimism are responses either rational or irrational to current state-of-affairs or circumstances which either hinder or help progression and improvements. Conservatism and liberalism are on a similar boat. There are pessimistic conservatives biased by ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declinism ) but then there are optimistic conservatives ("lets never change"), and more. The core here is still their opposing moral stances, unless you are arguing that such states have an effect on how one approaches morality. This may be true, but I do not think it's just political in nature. What leads to people viewing the world in such a way? Seems to be more complex than simply just a pessimistic/optimistic state of mind, maybe a lack of and then some.

    Educating people, but mostly emphasizing the point of morality and ethics would alleviate a lot of political emotions seems to be a strong foundation than simply adopting a pesimissistic and optimistic philosophy or way of life, there must be more to it, and without this strong moral foundation we will still have people polarizing and going against one another for groupthink, ignorance and more.
  • Brett
    3k


    This then is the fundamental political question because it determines what sort of institutions we build or hold onto, what sort of communities we want to live in. The left/right divide ignores the implications, and then addresses that original political question by how best we should live now that we are here.
    — Brett

    You'd have to explain that.
    schopenhauer1

    Optimists ... will see existence itself as a positive, and they will see the maneuverings of having to survive, find comfort, entertainment, of trying to navigate the contingent harms that may befall as worth it.schopenhauer1

    The pessimist does not see existence itself as a positive. They do not see the maneuverings of having to survive, find comfort, and entertainment as positive. Rather, they simply view situations of "dealing with" to get by. In other words, Life presents one thing after another to deal with.schopenhauer1

    The use of optimist/pessimist tends to skew the meaning towards happiness and unhappiness, or positive and negative. From a Kantian point of view the negative/pessimist is really the acceptance of the limits of our knowledge to the phenomenal realm.

    Really, instead of optimist/pessimist, we’re talking about fatalism and destinism, acceptance versus resistance or the East and West.

    For Schopenhauer our lives are swept along by Will. This experience lies behind our suffering and can only be alleviated through asceticism, or particular ways of living according to Eastern philosophy, of acceptance.

    The West perceives life differently. It doesn’t accept our condition or any sense of fatalism, it resists that sense of futility.
    It’s the response, negative/ positive, that determines our culture and how and why it’s constructed in the way it is.

    Politics is the pushing and shoving that goes on within each culture but on the basis that the idea of negative/positive has already been decided.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    38
    The left/right politics is how we deal with this mess now it's happened.Down The Rabbit Hole

    Saying that, the question of whether reproduction should be regulated i.e. child limits, is a political question.

    From your previous posts I take it you don't agree with regulation? Despite us both agreeing it would prevent many people living a life of suffering?
  • Whickwithy
    23


    Your premise makes sense to me. It helps explain the deepening divide between the right and the left that started, at least as far back as the industrialists and romanticists. As things get worse, the optimistic have a more difficult time holding on and the pessimists revel in accelerating insanity.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    The West perceives life differently. It doesn’t accept our condition or any sense of fatalism, it resists that sense of futility.
    It’s the response, negative/ positive, that determines our culture and how and why it’s constructed in the way it is.
    Brett

    Interesting.

    Politics is the pushing and shoving that goes on within each culture but on the basis that the idea of negative/positive has already been decided.Brett

    My claim was it is decided in the form of "Yes, it is worth it". But the pessimist might say, "Whoa, whoa.. hold on here. You've bypassed the most important debate. Should we even 'be' in the first place?"

    The political debate in the latter is about whether forcing the ideology of existence is right. Life is assumed to be the default ideology. It is a given that people should be born, to some people, to perpetuate the cycles of survival, comfort, entertainment, and institutions of the culture that bring this about. That is a massive assumption that is not, in fact, the given that most optimists claim it is.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k
    Your premise makes sense to me. It helps explain the deepening divide between the right and the left that started, at least as far back as the industrialists and romanticists. As things get worse, the optimistic have a more difficult time holding on and the pessimists revel in accelerating insanity.Whickwithy

    Good points. I like the reference to industrialists and romanticists. In a way, that is a good analogy. The industrialists being those perpetual optimists, but their optimism is like the soot that blows out of their smokestacks.. toxically moving things forward. I discussed something called minutia-mongering. The minutia of understanding the details of a given part of nature or a given technology. Optimists give proof of the greatness of the human because of our ability to investigate and gather more information and create more technology from this. The engineering, etc. They will say that the fact we have heating, bungee jumping, televisions, cars, electric cars even, bullet trains, jets, phones, underwater video cameras, and name any technology you like.. look this is OPTIMISM showing proof of the ideology of life being good. Look at it!!! Our own survival, comfort, entertainment via the cultural institutions that sustain/perpetuate it has given us THIS.. We should CONTINUE IT!!

    The pessimists will claim that this is in fact an ideology. There is no meaning in the fact that we can create technology. Rather, the onus of the balance of life's worth is in the individual and how they must deal with. You are not providing opportunities to participate in the technology-sphere. You are giving opportunities to be FORCED to DEAL WITH situations big and small. This forcing of dealing with one thing after another, is what should give pause to creating more people. Forcing other people to go through burdens and overcome them, for whatever reasons you think (the greatness of technology, cultural reasons of family expectations, the supposed "fun" "happy" experiences) is not worth it to cause burdens in the first place that never had to be overcome in the first place.
  • Outlander
    869
    Do you think that if the optimism/pessimism dichotomy presupposes the left/right that the politics of the left/right can affect the optimism/pessimism? Or do you think it isn't transitive?ToothyMaw

    Honestly I struggle to understand the 'substance' of either party. I get the talking points and alleged 'essence' from the nomenclature ie. 'liberal' vs. 'conservative'.

    One is more about the value of human life in gestation vs. the right to have more freedom over your body. One is 'allegedly' more about the focus on God and the traditional family unit vs. the right to worship (or not worship) freely and raise a family as you please. One seems to be more open to immigration vs. making sure everyone here is on par first. One seems to believe stricter gun control will save American lives vs. lack of strictness is the only reason we still have a country, etc., etc.

    I'm sure you can detect in my comparisons I have a slight conservative bias but I was raised around decent conservatives. People who actually gave a crap about others and not the 'hard' or 'extreme' deviation. Those who don't want to just take a machine gun to everyone else ie. not the "God bless America, and the hell with everyone else" creed. God, guns, and the family. That's how it always was and what got us this far, isn't it?

    My last post was proposing that if someone is a 'pessimist' they don't have faith/belief in 'the system' and may be disinclined to actually vote/participate in the civil process. Could be wrong.

    I guess it depends what kind of optimist/pessimist you are. Correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding of the two, at least what I'm going to use for this example is 'faith, confidence, or lack thereof in either human life, society, or oneself.' I do believe it can span all concepts or just a select few. Example, someone who thinks "I'm just fine, everyone else is crazy" can be either optimist or pessimist. They're optimistic in their own self, their actions, choices, and beliefs, they just happen to believe they're right all the time, though by discounting humanity as a whole there is a shade of pessimism that bleeds through. Or it could be the opposite, you may have low self worth, confidence, and think everything you do is worthless, but believe that humanity as a whole has amazing potential evidenced by the innovations and breakthroughs achieved in both science and society. Basically, I wouldn't say being an optimist or pessimist dictates you have to hold a single, static attitude toward literally every single aspect of life and existence. Does it?

    Politics, like religion unfortunately, offer an incredibly vast, opaque, and above all inconspicuous covering to mask one's various mental illnesses. If not just from themselves. You shouldn't blame either.
  • Jack Cummins
    1k

    You are correct to identify the conflict between pessimism and optimism. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto (2019), has captured this inherent tension, in saying that,
    'You can predict thinkers' place in the political spectrum by looking at how optimistic or pessimistic they are about the human condition. On the one hand, optimists, who think human nature is good, want to liberate the human spirit to fulfill itself. Pessimists, who think humans are irremediably wicked or corrupt, prefer restraining or repressing institutions that keep people under control'.

    In this respect, I would argue that your most extreme pessimism and antinatalist stance represents an extreme example of a wish for control, with absolute lack of any creativity and scope for freedom of the human spirit.
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