Find Hope With ‘Militant Optimism’ in Troubling Times

A philosophical suggestion for dealing with a passive mindset to encourage positive social changes.

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

In the dark times, pessimism attracts. Their pull is so strong that optimism struggles hard to enter our lives. These bad times disrupt the functioning of our life aspects throughout its course, be it personal or professional. That said, the realm of dark times shouldn’t be touched upon as unhealthy prepositions. At times, it advocates secretive ingredients to goodness.

Take, for instance, the pandemic episode. Across the globe, this uninvited crisis turned our lives upside down. Things that ran on smooth wheels, at a sudden instance, went un-track. Not only the crisis impacted our jobs and economy, but it also peppered its effects by stemming mental health implications and slowdown wellness.

Being an optimist thus has become complicated in recent times. Pessimism has worn the badge of honor. And just how our wishful thinking attunes to a self-fulfilling prophecy, pessimism is their sibling as well. When situations as such happen, the human condition to embrace peace gets unsynchronized.

Downplaying the pessimistic side, the pandemic has torched an expression of hope among the masses. Amidst this painful crisis, communities worldwide reinforced humanity and connectedness through rekindling humane spirits.

Some cultures celebrated hope through the candles’ lightning. People worldwide came in unison, raised funds to address the global health crisis, helped local neighborhoods through community participation. Together, people navigated through wee hours in a humanitarian spirit.

In sum, everybody moved with the spirit of favor and enthusiasm to ignite hope and optimism during pandemics’ dark times. We started caring deeply, which earlier remained a thing of the past. Affection stretched across borders and wasn’t confined to homely grounds. Although the grappling effects of fear and disappointment clouded our lives, on its sunshine side, the Covid-19 pandemic helped us reach out to people and tie a bond on a humane level.

Besides the pandemic, graduating issues related to ecological catastrophes, poverty, unemployment, racism, and economic downturn have amassed global attention. These problems are no more orphans. The citizens share a collective responsibility to make the world a better place to live in.

In ample ways, the grim scenarios have rubbed the false perceptions of issues not being a part of the global movement. As a society at large, we harbor hope that our efforts in combination will create the needed progress. Therefore, the dark times in some ways serve in optimism to influence social changes. It can rightly be noted in the words of the English novelist, Thomas Hardy:

Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child’s play.

When miserable circumstances place their foot in our earthly doors, the active side of hope wins to set the horizon in peace. This creed of optimism instills a more profound sense of purpose. With that, our inner optimistic voice earns momentum and rings so profoundly that governs the philosophy of life.

On the individual fronts, if we adapt to living optimistically, its consequent benefits can be observed at the societal level. While this thought might be perceived in the general sense but in actuality, an optimistic living beckoning positive societal changes was an important philosophical insight of the German Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch. Known as the “philosopher of hope,” the German thinker’s works revolve around religion, utopia with a particular focus on the concrete forces that trigger social change.

As proposed by Bloch, Militant Optimism necessitates the optimistic sides of hope that frames its responses in reality. Or, to put it more accurately, positive hope as individual commitment exercises its mental gymnastic to inspire substantial changes socially.

The realm of optimism brightens dark times and alleviates the challenges we face. With its presence, we narrow down the impacts of the potential threats. Its sheer existence in our existential domain actively motivates us to address the hardships, examine the pain, and render aesthetic vision to fuel creative solutions. Thus, optimism is an attempt to instill faith, make days productive even when the world feels full of suffering.

Despite the emotional support, the idea of militant optimism shouldn’t be confused with fated solutions. As human groups, thinking blindly and tilling naive optimism makes progress appear beyond human control. We become dependent that things independently will change for the better and resist anchoring individual efforts.

If we feed such thoughts, the outer world disturbances make living a toxic experience. The branch of pessimism thus widens and takes firmer roots.

To overcome pessimism, military optimism stands as the force of willful conviction fighting the miseries and sorrows. Human actions and their conscious efforts can change sad ordeals; it’s the fundamental principle advocated by militant optimism. In other ways, it is a recipe for growth and helps us learn who we truly are.

Unlike optimism, pessimism’s depressing effect implies owing a cold overview of uncertainties prevailing around the world. It also is hesitant towards the progress and views the happenings wrongly. But pessimism remains relatively immune to disappointment as well.

In The Principle of Hope, the eminent philosopher Bloch noted pessimism with a realistic perspective is still better than false or uncritical optimism that holds the blind belief of things turning automatically perfect. It sidelines the importance of human works that can spur positive changes.

Rising beyond the agony of personal feelings, militant optimism gives wings to anchor hope and carries itself gently in the face of opposition. As a force, it drives social changes with a profound exploration of the real world.

When we cultivate the traits reflecting militant optimism, it gives weightage to propose better actions rather than culminating false hopes. Through this, social liberation can be achieved, and mapping of the reality moves in order.

Writing to share + evolve. Aligning the thoughts in Philosophy, Science, and Humanities. Compassion above All. Email: swatis.writes@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store