July 10, 2012

"There is no need to worry. It’s just another instance of random violence."

Said the head of head of student health psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, back when Errol Morris was an undergrad. Now, he says, "I feel the same way about asteroids."

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

24 comments:

Synova said...

I don't quite get the poll at the link.

Am I supposed to answer if I'm afraid of asteroids? (I'm not.)

Or if there is less chance of asteroids now that before? (Slightly, in absolute terms on geological time scales.)

Or if we actually could do something about a big asteroid like the one that barely missed us? (We can't.)

Or if we live in a world of unprecedented safety? (We do.)

edutcher said...

Optimist.

Be interesting to see how the poll results would break down, troll vs normal human.

Lem said...

I'm kind of pessimistic.. right now.

Michael K said...

Major Hassan is considered "random violence" by the same people who write the DSM V.

traditionalguy said...

I rely on quantum physics and the Higgs field to do my worrying about the future for me.

The great mystery is that none of us know the future and we have little actual input ino what will happen to us later, but we remain optomistic about it all.

Love is stronger than death, and faith is stronger than fear.

No, Bob Dylan did not say that. But earlier Hebrew prophets moved by God's Spirit did say that and it was written for our minds today to help us keep a hopeful attitude.

wyo sis said...

I'm an optimist with a pessimist way of talking. Even when I say I think things will turn out badly, I really think things will turn out well.

Coketown said...

I don't know, so I used the time I would have spent considering the poll question to design this little man:

C[:-P->--<

His stylish hat makes him very optimistic in this the best of all possible comment boxes.

Wally Kalbacken said...

OK, I didn't get to Madison until 1975, so I can be ruled out as a suspect. Does anyone have the particulars (or a link to the particulars) on the murder he is talking about?

A. Shmendrik said...


http://www.surroundedbyreality.com/Misc/Crimes/Pics/Rothschild.jpg

Kathy said...

In our own town - Madison - a "random" act of violence occurred that strikes terror among all the folks all over the state and elsewhere when multiple shots were fired into a crowd of UW-Madison folks celebrating the graduation weekend just a month or two ago.

I am an optimist who wants to believe the town I live in can handle this Chicago style insanity.

Yet I personally know of at least five families who have decided against UW-Madison (though their kids were admitted) because they think this town has become unsafe.

Do you think the news of that shooting on graduation weekend had anything to do with it?


Sigh. It is getting hard to be optimistic about Madison.

Robert Cook said...

Well...given that we'll all be dead in the end, pessimism would seem the appropriate default attitude.

Scott said...

I'm not an Optimist. I would rather be a Rotarian.

Valentine Smith said...

I'm from Brooklyn. I grew up with so much random violence I detected a pattern.

Astro said...

Said the head of head of student health psychiatry...

Well as they say, two heads are better than one.

Shanna said...

Hope for the best, plan for the worst. I'm not sure what that makes me.

(but I'm not afraid of astroids, mainly because what is the point of being afraid of something we can't do anything about?)

Tank said...

As my post reflect, I'm a pessimist about this country and the world at large. I see BAD things happening, ie. DEAD COUNTRY WALKING.

However, in my everyday life I'm an optimist and generally happy and satisfied every day. I've lived a good, hardworking, honest kind of life, have a great wife and kids, and have achieved most of my realistic goals (I never did equal Eric Clapton or Duane Allman).

So I feel pretty good about my life, but worry about my kids' life to come.

Oso Negro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oso Negro said...

It is easier to be an optimist if you ignore the terrible arithmetic of life: deficit spending must end badly one day; 99.5% of species that ever roamed the planet are extinct; 10 out of 10 people die one day.

Mitch H. said...

I am an optimist, in that I don't believe in all-powerful conspiracies, and all the creatures of that class of delusion.

I am a pessimist, in that I believe that Man is fallen, men are fools, and the wisest man who ever walked the earth is incapable of arranging the affairs of a village full of idiots better than they are, themselves.

Synova said...

So is pessimism more honest then?

I think that cynicism in young people is often a substitute for intelligence (look how smart I am to see what others ignore!) Is pessimism like that? Look how honest I am not to pretend that anything is going to turn out well? Not ultimately? Life is fatal?

In spite of it all humans prevail. Life is trying to kill us sooner rather than later, but we prevail. In the worst situations, things we don't even contemplate today as we are so comfortable, humans prevail.

How is it more honest to look at failures instead of success? What's the point of "bravely" announcing weakness instead of praising tenacity and will?

Denial isn't the opposite of defeatism.

I think that many people think that it is.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

To those who are writing that there's no sense worrying about asteroid impacts because we can't do anything about them anyway: What makes you think we can't? I mean, obviously we can't right now, but how to deflect or destroy an asteroid on an impact course is just a technological problem, one that it might be worthwhile to try solving.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mitch H.,

Well said. Bravo.

Synova said...

I think there is a difference between worry about an asteroid strike and prudent preparation for an asteroid strike.

I object to the fear mongering on any number of issues because it seems to me that worry never solved a single problem. Worry makes it harder to solve problems, harder to think about solutions. I've never noticed at any time in my life, with any of my friends who had something going on and didn't know what to do, that the person with the worry or emotional response was the one with the best ideas.

Synova said...

That's not saying that their problems weren't real problems.

Just thought I should make that clear.