What is optimism?

  • (noun): A general disposition to expect the best in all things.
    See also — Additional definitions below


Optimism is a mental attitude or world view that interprets situations and events as being best (optimized), meaning that in some way for factors that may not be fully comprehended, the present moment is in an optimum state. The concept is typically extended to include the attitude of hope for future conditions unfolding as optimal as well. The more broad concept of optimism is the understanding that all of nature, past, present and future, operates by laws of optimization along the lines of Hamilton's principle of optimization in the realm of physics. This understanding, although criticized by counter views such as pessimism, idealism and realism, leads to a state of mind that believes everything is as it should be, and that the future will be as well. A common idiom used to illustrate optimism versus pessimism is a glass with water at the halfway point, where the optimist is said to see the glass as half full, but the pessimist sees the glass as half empty.

Read more about Optimism.

Some articles on optimism:

Optimism - Health
... Optimism is one of these concepts and has been shown to explain between 5–10% of the variation in the likelihood of developing some health conditions (correlation coefficients between.20 and.30 ... The relationship between optimism and health has also been studied with regards to physical symptoms, coping strategies and negative affect for those suffering from rheumatoid ... A meta-analysis has confirmed the assumption that optimism is related to psychological well-being “Put simply, optimists emerge from difficult circumstances with less distress than ...
Therapeutic Misconception - Context and Definitions - Therapeutic Optimism
... Therapeutic optimism occurs when a patient hopes for the best personal possible outcome ... It is possible for subjects to maintain optimism, while demonstrating an understanding of both the nature of research and the probability of important risks and benefits ... The expert medical community often not view optimism as ethically problematic largely because an optimistic outlook can help in a patient’s healing process while still allowing them the understanding ...
Philosophical Progress - Optimism, Pessimism, and Paradigms
... The optimists (such as the early modern philosophers George Berkeley and David Hume) typically argue that philosophy has not made much progress because philosophers have historically used methods that are unsystematic, obscure, confused, or otherwise unsuccessful but, citing the example of the revolutionary achievements in the natural sciences during the scientific revolution, they argue that philosophers could enjoy the same sort of progress, rather than endlessly recapitulating the same obscure debates, if only philosophers can find an appropriate paradigm and a clear method for their work ... The introduction to David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature is a locus classicus of this view Hume subtitled his book "Being An Attempt To Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning Into Moral Subjects." Pessimists, on the other hand, take the lack of progress to be an essential feature--arguing that philosophy must remain without paradigms as long as it is remains philosophy rather than something else ...
Therapeutic Misconception - Context and Definitions - Therapeutic Optimism - Unrealistic Optimism
... Patient optimism may "present an ethical problem for informed consent" if it is unrealistic "optimism may also be the product of a bias in which a person ...
The Wealth Of Networks - Reception - Optimism
... who reviewed the book on his blog titled “Dreaming in Digital”, targeted Benkler's optimism as his main point of criticism, suggesting that Benkler’s optimism was too rooted in ... then?" In contrast to these attacks on Benkler’s optimism, a review by Debora Halbert suggested that "Although he is generally pro-technology, especially regarding the Internet, Benkler is not a ... stance in his interpretation of Benkler’s optimism, stating "Benkler’s book wavers between an optimistic description of what the digitally networked economy has produced and will produce ...

More definitions of "optimism":

  • (noun): The optimistic feeling that all is going to turn out well.

Famous quotes containing the word optimism:

    What I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.
    Hermann Hesse (1877–1962)

    If there was ever a dissenter from the national optimism ... it was surely Edgar Allan Poe—without question the bravest and most original, if perhaps also the least orderly and judicious, of all the critics that we have produced.
    —H.L. (Henry Lewis)