About The Hopeful Realist

For as long as I can remember, I never felt comfortable with either of the two pseudo-philosophies of Optimism or Pessimism. Whatever the circumstance, pessimism seemed arbitrarily fatalistic, but so did optimism. Both, I think, are forms of intellectual laziness. In a world of increasing chaos and confusion, predicting a rosy result seems ever more tenuous. But predicting a priori doom would imply that there is nothing we can do about dire circumstances. More fatalism. Only by engaging Reality without such foolish biases can Hope be sustained. And without Hope, what can we do?

While it is possible that we have allowed things to “go too far” to save ourselves from the consequences of our own past and present foolishness—let me count the ways…later—only one path can determine whether or not that is true. The path that leads to truth is the path of action. But action must be predicated on a careful reading of reality if it is to be effective. Contemplation helps, but only observation and action can build real hope. That is why I am The Hopeful Realist. From the perspective of Hopeful Realism, one can much more readily see the social illusions that seem to drive much of contemporary life and respond effectively.

In this blog I explore the various social illusions and distorted estimates of reality that seem to be driving so many events in all sorts of whacky ways these days. Exposing social illusions may be critical in determining the future of our lives. Escape the chains of optimism and pessimism and become a Hopeful Realist!

7 thoughts on “About The Hopeful Realist

  1. Thank you for your embrace of jubilant wonder in your reflections of social illusions and reality. I am sharing your blog with our “Circle of Elders,” a group of acupuncturists with 20 to 37 years of treatment experience who are spending this year supporting each other in the transformation of our practices into new ways of contributing through writing, mentoring and teaching (or the letting go of these altogether). I particularly appreciate your grounded assessments of the current candidates who just engaged in a debacle last night. A true debate would have included the Green Party’s Jill Stein, who added her answers to the questions posed by NBC’s Lester Holt on a two-hour special edition today of Democracy Now! “Expanding the Debate.”
    Part I: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmu2glcDqJ0
    Part II: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/27/expanding_the_debate_jill_stein_spars
    Libertarian Party Gary Johnson was invited but unable to make this debate.

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  2. I read your column in the paper today, and I agree. In fact, I wrote a letter to the editor a few years ago decrying the image driving around town on the back of the city buses which showed a fully armored riot police officer as part of a recruitment effort the the SFPD. I asked how many times local policemen actually were called to respond in that getup, and if we shouldn’t be showing a picture of a cop helping someone. The very day it appeared, I got a hate call from a woman telling me to mind my own business, that I didn’t know what I was talking about. The undercurrent of the message was that I was a newcomer trying to stick my nose into local affairs. In fact, my family has been in New Mexico for a hundred years, and my father was in law enforcement…but I couldn’t get a word in before the receiver slammed in my ear.
    Fear is a great motivator, wrong as it may be.

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    • Thank you, Patricia. Yes, we have a long road to transform the ‘warrior cops’ into peace officers. Economics and ignorant leadership are big obstacles. Free military equipment and additional funding fit right into the culture of police. Keep on writing those letters to the editor. Reason must overcome fear.

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