Social Question

Zerstorte's avatar

Are humans naturally optimistic or pessimistic?

Asked by Zerstorte (52points) March 18th, 2010

I want to say optimistic, because I remember what it was like to be a kid, but I just watched Watchmen. And…

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

ChaosCross's avatar

neither, we are neutral at birth and the effects of life change us to think one way or the other.

chamelopotamus's avatar

It depends on if they have a purpose or not. Someone who has no purpose, and relies on others, will be pessimistic. Someone with unbending intent will do what it takes to achieve that goal. That’s an “optimist”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think humans are naturally either.

HTDC's avatar

I think humans are naturally optimistic. If we were all pessimistic and depressed I don’t think the human species would have survived very long.

PhillyCheese's avatar

Neither. At a young age, our brains aren’t experienced enough to determine such things.
It’s how we grow up and our surrounding environment that affects how we view life.

vbabe96's avatar

It really all depends on our parents. If your parents were pessimistic mostly likely you are a pessimistic person as well.

thriftymaid's avatar

My generation was an optimistic one; younger people seem to be pessimistic.

iam2smart99037's avatar

Okay, the first two hours of Watchmen was a masterpiece, and the last hour was the worst ending in cinematic history.

…didn’t answer anything but needed to be said.

Humans are both pessimistic and optimistic. Either way they are just emotions that sidetrack us from our main tasks – survival and reproduction.

Soubresaut's avatar

I think some people lead naturally toward more optimistic ideas, and others pessimistic ones… I don’t think that we’re ‘naturally’ one, and the opposite is an abnormality of sort… I think it’s a spectrum, and we all sorta fall in different levels.

I think emotional state lends itself a lot to our outlook—I tend to lean pessimistic, generally, but if I’m having a really good day, the world seems to be bright, glowing, bursting with life. And if my day is… less than good… then it seems like everything is crashing down on me. You know? It can vary, even within a single person.
I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both—optimistic, and you’re generally happier, but pessimistic you’re more likely to strive for perfection.
...I’m not sure which comes first, whether people are born with a glass half-empty or half-full view, or if the way they go through life shapes the way they see the glass… But I really think that both are natural, and which you see depends on who you’re looking at.

j0ey's avatar

We are both optimistic and pessimistic when we need to be….what makes humans such great survivors is that we are REALISTIC in our predictions of the future.

If we were overly optimistic we wouldn’t avoid those situations that might be logically bad situations to be in. On the other hand, being overly pessimistic would stop us from moving forward.

Our ability to function properly is altered when we are too far in one direction, for example someone with a major depressive disorder, or someone experiencing a manic episode.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Neither. We are naturally cautious, ready to fight or for flight as needed for survival.

CMaz's avatar

Pessimistic in a sense. It always comes down to survival.
Always best to air on this side of caution.

mattbrowne's avatar

The subconscious mind is more pessimistic by nature because it continuously scans for novelty and danger. Negative emotions trigger fast responses.

The conscious mind is shaped by genes, upbringing and societal norms. It can result in an optimistic or pessimistic attitude. And it can be willingly changed (to a certain degree) using methods as explained for example in

So it’s our nature that we are capable of turning ourselves into optimists.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther