OPTIMISM REPRESENTS a spontaneous flow of love; optimism
also represents trust in love. This shows that it is love,
trusting love which is optimism. Pessimism comes from disappointment,
from a bad impression which is there of some hindrance in
the past. Optimism gives a hopeful attitude in life, whereas
by pessimism one sees darkness on one's path. No doubt sometimes
pessimism shows conscientiousness and cleverness – and pessimism
also shows experience. But in point of fact can we ever
be conscientious enough if we only think what difficulties
we have before us in our life? It is trust which solves
the problems in the end. Very often the wise have seen that
cleverness does not reach far; it goes a certain distance
and there it stands, for cleverness is a knowledge which
belongs to the earth. As to experience – what is man's experience?
One is only proud of one's experience in life as long as
one has not seen how vast the world is. In every line of
work and thought no mountain of experience is needed, and
the further man goes in experience the less he realizes
that he has none.
The psychological effect of optimism is such that it
helps to bring success, for it is by the optimistic spirit
that God has created the world. Optimism therefore comes
from God, and pessimism is born out of the heart of man.
From what little experience of life he has man feels, 'This
will not be done, that will not succeed, this will not go,
that will not come right'. For the optimistic one, if things
will not come right in the end, it does not matter; he will
take his chance. And what is life? Life is an opportunity.
To the optimistic person the opportunity is a promise, and
for the pessimistic person this opportunity is lost. It
is not that the Creator makes man lose it, but it is man
who withdraws himself from the possibility of seizing the
Many in this world prolong their illness by giving a
pessimistic thought to it. Mostly you will find that for
those who have suffered for many years from a certain illness
their illness becomes so real that its absence seems unnatural.
They believe this illness to be their nature and its absence
something they do not know. In this way they keep the illness
in themselves. Then there are pessimistic people who think
that misery is their share in life, that they are born to
be wretched and cannot be anything else but unhappy, that
heaven and earth are against them. In fact they – and nobody
else – are against themselves, they themselves are their
own misery and their pessimism is their misfortune.
Man's life depends on what he concentrates upon. If he
concentrates upon misery he cannot but be miserable. If
he has a certain habit or a certain nature of which he does
not approve, he thinks he is helpless before it because
it is his nature, his own. Nothing is man's nature, except
that which he makes for himself. As the whole of nature
is made by God, so the nature of each individual is made
by himself. As the Almighty has the power to change His
nature, so the individual is capable of changing his nature
– if only he knew how. Among all the creatures of this world
man is most entitled to be optimistic, for man represents
the nature of God on earth: God as judge, as Creator and
as the Master of all His creation. So is man master of his
own life, master of his affairs – if only he knew it.
A man with an optimistic view will help another who is
drowning in the sea of fear or disappointment. A pessimist,
on the contrary, if somebody comes to him who is ill or
downhearted by the hardness of life, will pull that person
down and let him sink to the depths with him. So on the
side of the one there is life, on the side of the other
there is death. The one climbs to the top of the mountain,
the other goes to the depth of the earth. Is there any greater
helper in one's sorrow, in misfortune, at moments when every
situation in life seems dark, than that spirit of optimism
which knows, 'All will be right'. Therefore it is no exaggeration
if I say that the very Spirit of God comes to man's rescue
in the form of the optimistic spirit.
It does not matter how hard a situation in life may be,
however great the difficulties, they all can be fought,
they all can be surmounted. But what matters is that his
pessimistic spirit weighs a person down low, when he has
already come to low waters. Death is preferable to being
weighed down in misery by a pessimistic spirit. The greatest
reward there can be in the world is the spirit of optimism,
and the greatest punishment that can be given to man for
his worst sins is the spirit of pessimism.
Verily, hopeful is the one who in the end will succeed.