Imagination is a funny thing. We all use it, but different people use it in different ways. Imagine two people taking a long journey to a place they haven’t been before. Both of these people have been around the block a few times, have a basic understanding of the world and have experienced most of the same things in life. One draws upon past experience, projects the good times forward and is looking forward to a great adventure. The other draws upon their same experiences, projects bad times forward and is filled with dread. The difference is fundamentally the type of people they are. That is the power of imagination.
A pessimist internalizes life’s bad times and uses their power of imagination to recall trying times and the ugliness they have experienced in their past and project it forward. They expect to be disappointed and inevitably, through their approach and disposition, they will get what they expect. They feed upon the other pessimists around them and in a negative feedback loop their mood, and the mood of the people around them, continue to sour. An optimist on the other hand, because they tend to internalize life’s good times, expect great times and inevitably they too will find that. If they find other optimists to bring themselves and each other up and they too, inevitably, have the great journey they imagined.
I guess what I am trying to say is, we can’t control every event, but we can be 100% in control our attitudes toward things that happen. Bad things happen to everyone, but letting the power of imagination destroy or poison our lives is inevitably a way of destroying our happiness.
It is hard to disagree with an ideal that, in a perfect world, everyone will beam happiness and positivity. But there is a reality of imperfection, which often is seen even more closely if we travel the far corners of the world.
Today is the primary in Wisconsin. If I was there, I would absolutely vote for Bernie Sanders. But, thinking about it, in the context of your Post about optimism vs pessimism, if we study the message of Hillary Clinton vs the message of Bernie Sanders, the former is all positive and happy, while the latter is more along the lines of ‘hey, this is serious, we need to fix this!’. So, it would seem there is also a ‘Power of Farsightedness’, a dichotomy wherein some people live the moment consuming and smiling, while the other group of people (a notable minority these days) says ‘holy shit, what are we leaving for our grandchildren?’.
We certainly can control our attitudes, and it is certainly better that we each do so instead of allowing the media and spin-meisters to control our attitudes for us. But, we also need to be able to accept, while joy and happiness are a preferred state of being, scrutiny and even anger are both appropriate and necessary in certain real-life situations. Because, frankly, history has shown time and again: bad things not only can happen, they WILL HAPPEN, and to everyone, if too many of us abandon constructive pessimism for a superficial but happy myopia.
It is hard to disagree with anything you said here, but I think it would be a mistake to conflate being a happy and joyful person with being a non-serious or unengaged one. Happiness and seriousness are not mutually exclusive. Yes, bad things WILL HAPPEN, but all I am saying is that our intellect can give us the mental capacity to deny bad things control of our happiness.