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Minor change: I added in the part about "It is half-there". Not often heard, I believe it is still relevant as an example in the article. - User:Gingerkitteh

Isn't "It is half there," about the same as saying, "It is half full"? It still addresses the question by suggesting the quantity is half what it should be--and positively, noting what is still there instead of what is now absent. A more disinterested response would be to state a measurement without reference to maximum capacity: "The glass contains 105 mL of water." That is, this measurement is not relative (positively, negatively, or equally) to another.

Half Empty/Half full[edit]

I stumbled across this the other day, don't know wether it will have any relevence here, but still worth a look James' dissproof of pessimism

It's half full if it's just been half-filled. It's half empty if someone just half emptied it. This isn't philosophy - it's just argument over language. Wittgenstein would be spinning in his grave...
Can something be half empty, when empty is the equivalent of nothing? In other words; What is half of zero? Therefore I suggest that the phrase "half empty" is merely an incorrect use of language and that the choice of these words has no reflection on being a pessimist, since a pessimist, too, can know the difference between correct use of language and not.
The shaver

Psychology Section[edit]

This section should be flagged for bias. It equates optimism with psychological well-being, which cannot be proven. For example:

I feel the best possible outcome will happen when I execute my plan to rob a bank. I'm not robbing the bank because I need money. When I was a kid a bank teller gave me a funny look.

The example shows a clearly unstable psychological profile, yet also a clear optimism.

It may not be equivalent to psychological well-being, but the two are certainly correlated, as per the references. Feezo (Talk) 02:26, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Reverted an apparent vandalism (insertion of "woo") in this section. Jackrepenning (talk) 23:45, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

True true i couldent agree more. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:11, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Optimism about known and unknown facts?[edit]

I think that 1. optimism about known facts (Is the glass half full or half empty? Has my life been happy or unhappy?) is completely different from 2. optimism about unknown facts (I'll win in this lottery; I'm sure that he must have survived).

Optimism 2. is about how much luck one expects. Optimism 1. is about how to relate to things.

Is there any widespread terminology for these concepts? Does this current article on optimism now explain optimism 1. only? Emmisa 14:11, 11 September 2006 (UTC)


I made an image that represents optimism, if it doesn't make sense please remove or replace it. Thank you. M&NCenarius 06:41, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

... I very like it. --euyyn 20:47, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Remain encyclopedic in content and form, please[edit]


Optimism is represented by the color rose (just as its opposite, pessimism, is represented by the color grey).

By who? Has that representation of ideas by color a name? Is it somehow standard?

And content:

According to a ten-year-long research project, it is proven that possessing an optimistic world view increases one's IQ by at least ten points.

LOL Coooooome ooon!!!!

--euyyn 21:04, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Relating to the optimism-IQ relationship, high IQ scores have a high correlation with depression, which implies pessimism. So, optimism may increase your IQ score, but it most likely applies to those in the low and middle parts of the spectrum. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:55, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Nirmit Patel[edit]

Where the article now mentions Leibniz for the first time, under the philosophy heading, it formerly mentioned a "Nirmit Patel." I don't know who this is, but I'm fairly certain the reference is Leibniz, as would be indicated also by the reference to him in the followng paragraph. --Delong71487 03:23, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Newbyguesses 10:02, 28 March 2007 (UTC)well if we wish to discuss OPTIMISM and be optimistic, thenPangloss <the best of all possible worlds> and Pollyanna both deserve a mention

About Leibniz and Dr. Pangloss, I see that 'panglossianism' now redirects to 'optimism'. The two are not the same thing. As opposed to panglossianism equaling optimism, panglossianism is the belief of some people that this world can't change, combined with not being able to stand facing it's imperfections, thus through the process of panglossianism they find a way to delude themselves. For example, an optimistic black man living in Georgia in 1850 believed that slavery could be overcome. A panglossianist in the same situation convinces himself that he really is inferior to the white man and needs to be periodically whipped to stay on the straight and narrow. The two are not the same thing. (talk) 08:29, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

List of famous optimist[edit]

I suggest that any list of famous optimistic people added to this page, is limited to only those people who where famous for their optimism, or whose optimism was famously a part of their character. Maybe one could argue that Karl Marx was an optimist, but that is not what he is famous for... For now, I'm going to remove the entire list. SevenMass 14:07, 28 May 2007 (UTC)


Is optimism constant or can it change to pessimism, and than back to optimism? Because that happened to me. (talk) 20:55, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

See mood vs philosophy. Hyacinth (talk) 07:44, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

-langston hughes -hellen keller -martin luther king jr. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

"Optimism in culture"[edit]

PeruAlonso just wrote this section which makes no sense to me. I commented it out, pending clarification/expansion. -- Rmrfstar (talk) 21:38, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Current image: Image:WPaskell,MountKearsargeinSpring(JJH-WFP301).jpg[edit]

How does Mount Kearsarge visually represent "the world as a benevolent place"? Hyacinth (talk) 03:05, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Never mind. Hyacinth (talk) 07:31, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Needs work bad[edit]

Note in re the article subject Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright Sided. (talk) 05:42, 17 December 2010 (UTC)


Why does negative thinking redirect here? Thanks seems rather counter-intuitive. Shouldn't it go to pessimism? —focus 02:35, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

I'd guess the reason is that the phrase "negative thinking" is so vague and subjective that it's functionally meaningless in an encyclopedia.-- TyrS  chatties  02:11, 8 November 2011 (UTC)


In the subsection optimalism, the definition of it is not precise. It needs to be defined as a philosophy, or an outlook on life, etc. If that is a direct quote Nicholas Rescher, I would add quotation marks as well. Besides that, contrasting the idea with perfectionism gave me a decent understanding of what optimalism was. Might want to go into less detail about perfectionism and go more into detail about optimalism. --KJamison7 (talk) 01:10, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

................. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:31, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Science News resource[edit]

A mind for optimism. Reality checks affect judgment more when prospects are rosier, study indicates. By Laura Sanders October 13th, 2011, excerpt ...

Brains are unabashedly optimistic, lapping up good news and virtually ignoring the bad, scientists report online October 9 in Nature Neuroscience. The findings could help explain why people overestimate their life span, underestimate their chances of getting a divorce, and scoff at the thought of bankruptcy.

See computational neuroscientist, Virginia Tech, University College London, MRI brain scan, Prefrontal cortex (inferior prefrontal gyrus specifically), prefrontal gyrus, (talk) 05:18, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

criticism for optimism[edit]

When you go to the pessimism site, they will list a short phrase that pessimism is often linked to being a self-fulfilling prophecy. I do not see why this should not be just as correct for optimism.If you believe something is bad, it will likely get worse.Why is the same not true for: if you believe something is good, it will likely get better?In the end, much of the course of action one takes upon one´s interpretation of a situation may or may not lead to a result which you believed previously woul be attained. One should also not forget that chance still may or may not have a play in the ultimate outcome but still, what is valid for one side must also be, reciprocally, be valid for the opposite.So i do not see why pessimism would have listed a criticism but optimism not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

None of us seem to understand. Every article that relates to pessimism carries an extreme bias toward optimism. Optimism causes bad planning. Optimists assume that they won't be raped or murdered, they won't crash their car, their marriage won't fail, their investments will work out, they'll win their bets at the track. Pessimists understand that suffering and disappointment are inescapable, inherently part of all risk, and that preparing overmuch for these outcomes is also likely to fail. They become more interested in learning how to cope with life, and less interested in fighting it. The Internet, like the world of psychology/psychiatry, is full of people who are disproportionately privileged, and thus we don't understand just how important it is to expect ill fortune as a matter of course, especially in the rest of the world, where babies still die starving. We don't fucking get it. Pain is much worse when you don't think it's coming.

That's true only for a very limited definition of optimism. Being an optimist doesn't imply not recognizing that the world can be a dangerous place. A rational optimist recognizes that car accidents happen, and thus it makes sense to have good insurance, drive a safer car, drive safely and use your seat belts. Preparing for negative outcomes is rational, giving up and saying "why bother?" is not. Smallpox was eradicated because people were optimistic enough to think it was possible to do so. Disappointment may be inevitable, but an optimist sees disappointment as a price worth paying for a chance at success. — Preceding unsigned comment added by RLent (talkcontribs) 17:11, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

optimism is not progress[edit]

The belief that this is an optimal world, or the best of all possible ones, simply acknowledges as Job, that we have to take God and nature as it is and not expect Him or Her to roll out one more to our liking. Optimism, on the other hand, is just that sort of mania. We might make progress if the world does not, however, but undoubtedly not via enthusiasm. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:43, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Independent reviews for the health benefits?[edit]

The health section is mainly based on primary sources. It is dangerous to draw conclusion based on individual studies or our own selection of positive studies only, see WP:MEDRS. I have tried to search for independent reviews or meta-analyses, preferably in medical journals. Unfortunately, I have only found one meta-analysis (PMID 19711142), but this was criticized the next year (PMID 20358319): "Optimism may be related to physical health, but the number of basic methodological issues and coding inconsistencies we identified shows that this cannot be established from the meta-analysis conducted by Rasmussen et al." Are there any better sources out there? Vesal (talk) 16:32, 7 October 2014 (UTC)