By Tom O’Neill
Editor, the Gauntlet,
Re: "Extreme optimism," Nov. 20, 2003,
Reading this article almost made me sick. John Leung criticized optimism for being at the heart of poor exam writing, reduction of values in society and President Bush’s mess in Iraq. Unfortunately, these problems are not due to extreme optimism but rather a distorted perception of reality or false beliefs based in personal illusions.
Optimism is one human outlook that has proven itself to be of absolute value. For example, if someone is in a car accident and they are told they won’t walk again, yet have an optimistic point of view, try telling them to be more pessimistic and that they won’t walk again. Hans Selye and Patch Adams will tell you that it’s not the symptom of the patient to be concerned about; it is his/her perspective on life. If they are optimistic, often times medical miracles can occur. Pessimists rarely improve in their lives, and experience a greater amount of undue distress.
I suggest Mr. Leung, that before you write your next article, you consult the literature for support. Always remember… optimists optimize!