Posts Tagged ‘Optimism’

E.B. White on winding the clock

July 13, 2016

North Brooklin, Maine

30 March 1973

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate.  Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time.  I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer.  I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly.  It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet.  But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right.  Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble.  We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat.  Hang on to your hope.  And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

Sincerely,

(Signed, ‘E. B. White’)

Source: Letters of Note.

Hat tip to Marginal REVOLUTION

Who in the world is hopeful about the future?

June 21, 2014
global-agenda-17

Click to enlarge

One of the defining characteristics of Americans used to be that, whatever our circumstances, almost all of us expected that our children and grandchildren would be better off than we are.

This is no longer true.  And a Pew Research survey indicates that people in other supposedly advanced nations are more pessimistic than we are.

While 62 percent of Americans expect the next generation to be financially worse off than their parents, this pessimistic view is held by 64 percent of Canadians, 64 percent of Germans, 74 percent of the British, 76 percent of Japanese and 90 percent of the French.

The most optimistic nations in the world are China, where 82 percent of those surveyed said they expect a better future, and Brazil, where 79 percent are hopeful (see below).  Among European countries, the least pessimistic was Russia.

I think survey results in China or any other dictatorship have to be taken with a certain amount of skepticism, but, even so, I am astonished at the differences among countries.

(more…)