Episode 101 – Pessimism: Was Eeyore Right?


“Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.” For Eeyore, only perverse possibilities lie ahead, even if they are unknowable. Do gloomy expectations create self-fulfilling prophecies? Or are pessimists more realistic than naive optimists like Winnie the Pooh? Pessimism can be associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and more. It may also motivate preparation and striving, especially if the pessimist believes he or she can overcome significant obstacles and succeed. 

There is a difference between ability to anticipate pitfalls and a depressed or hopeless emotional state. Pessimism may have roots in early relational disappointments, leading the person to believe it is better not to expect anything good than to hope for reward and be disappointed. 

The Greek myth of Icarus is often seen as a cautionary tale against recklessly flying too high and falling – but Icarus was also warned against fearfully flying too low and immobilization. Holding the tension of the opposites—pessimism and optimism–is what makes movement of libido possible.

Dream

I was flying through a futuristic city. On the ground below me, I saw a small model or replica of a stadium and circled above it several times. It felt familiar to me, and I thought that I had seen it in other lucid dreams of mine. It felt like an important sign since it was showing up again, so I wanted to investigate it more in this dream. In my mind, I thought to myself, “May I understand the wisdom of this art piece.”  When I flew down to the ground to get a closer look, I saw what looked like a children’s book lying there. I picked it up and tried to read the cover and flip through to see what was on the pages. The text was blurred, as though I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I squinted and moved the book further away and closer to me, trying to get the words in focus, but the text remained blurry. I felt thwarted and began crying with frustration. I cried, “God, why do you put this here for me if I can’t read what it says?” At last, I was able to see the title somewhat more clearly and repeated it to myself again and again in the dream in order to remember it when I woke up. The title of the book was “The Fullness of Round Objects”.

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