Confidently Optimistic

Lies, corruption, aggression, violence, death, illness, environmental disaster, economic uncertainty — what do we have to be confidently optimistic about in this world?

We can, without doubt, determine that we do not understand what life is. And, we can be cheerful about this fact because it means we have no foundation for misery. Did something “bad” happen? We honestly don’t know. Unhappiness is based on our perception and interpretation of life, but if we no longer trust our perceptions and interpretations, misery can not take hold.

For instance, the feeling of imminent danger is only a prediction, it could be wrong. Even “danger” as a concept dissolves under scrutiny, we have no idea if a particular outcome is unavoidable or will turn out beneficial in the long run, even the consequences of death are unknowable.

So when the body initially senses danger, the mind should not follow along and say “Oh no!”, it should say “Huh, my body senses danger, I wonder what the outcome will be, I suppose I’ll watch the narrative unfold”. The body may act and respond to its environment, but inside, where self-observation occurs, the unknowableness of everything should persist.

So it is in this way, that we can be filled with irrefutable joy: we truthfully do not know what’s going on here, so much so, that the roots of sorrow cannot take hold. Sorrow requires trusting our perceptions and interpretations of life, believing we can control outcomes and successfully predict the future. But when we’re confident in the unknowableness of life, the only option that remains is child-like delight.

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