No. 10 - Unite, the Bridge from Pessimism to Optimism

I enjoyed reading one of my favorite magazines today, The Optimist.

The Optimist

I find inspiration in those pages. You can also find a link to The Optimist, and many other insightful sources, on the Resources page of this site.


The articles in The Optimist are not filled with giddy babble, rather they offer concrete solutions to problems, local and global.  Many people too easily conclude that global problems are unsolvable, so why waste time worrying about them? An optimistic view provides reason to continue. I know I would not have endured with my work on a Global Bill of Rights without it. Optimism is often the bridge between the impossible and the inevitable.

This is the case with a Global Bill of Rights. The editor-in-chief, Jurriaan Kamp,

explains in his "Letter from the Editor" the typical pattern when an idea is presented. "First, it is ridiculed.  Second, it is violently opposed.  Third, it is accepted as being self-evident," quoting philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. 

Gandhi recognized this pattern too.

He explained the process of a large social movement: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Unite has been ignored a lot, laughed at some, and fought a bit, interestingly the fight is sometimes by those with such deep commitment to the existing human rights regime they won't dare to consider a beneficial combination of what has been achieved thus far into an enforceable document. Disruption is not easy in the for-profit or nonprofit worlds, but necessary.

For this transition from pessimism to optimism we should accept things as they are, but be optimistic about how they might be. As Robert Kennedy Jr. said, "Some men see things as they are and question, why? I dream things that never were and say, why not? I'll never forget reading that quote when I was 13 and my friend's Mom put up a poster of Robert in the kitchen with that quote on it.

In finishing, I’m attaching this video because of its dire opening about the state of things on Earth, which elicits pessimism, but that is followed by an optimistic ending. We can "Write a better future than the one we're headed toward" – true, and some of that writing should be a Global Bill of Rights.

Short video of Earth's future from pessimism to optimism

Click on blog title to leave or read comments