The Human Nature of Pessimism Argumentative Essay

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The overwhelming and oppressive social pressure to be optimistic has effectively created a pervasive fog regarding the perception of pessimists. As a result, pessimism is seen as a disorder; an unnatural, negative and detrimental neurological trait which paralyzes individuals into stagnation and apathy. Contrary to this widely-conceived notion, pessimism is an inherent aspect of the natural human experience, a default- setting. It allows one to detach themselves from outcomes, reduce the strain of expectations and protect oneself from disappointment.

This paper seeks to outline specific distinctions between optimism and pessimism, discuss the human nature of pessimism, and, evaluate a possible genetic underpinning of optimism.

The central distinguishing factor between the way a pessimist thinks, as opposed to that of an optimist is how expectations are managed. Pessimists tend to focus on the outcome or expectation of a particular experience whilst optimists expect positive experiences regardless. The adverse effects of optimism are tendencies to maintain positive expectations, which are usually considered to be unrealistic, as well as overly-optimistic views about their susceptibility to the effects of their behavior; such as the use of substances such as drugs and alcohol and activities such as gambling. In contrast, the adverse effects of pessimism tend to weigh heavily on the perceptions of a society that views pessimists as a morally bankrupt category of individual, and there is also a tendency by pessimists to devalue the consequences of their own actions such as the effects of their use of psychoactive substances, and delaying to seek medical attention.

The core principles of pessimism encapsulate a number of our natural characteristics as intelligent beings. One illustration is the basic human instinct to fulfill specific needs; whether it is for survival or pleasure. Individuals seek to fulfill basic needs based on the premise that there would be an adverse effect if the need is left unfulfilled. For example, when examining the physiological needs like oxygen, food and water, identified in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that the outcome of the absence of any of these components would lead to severe illness or death. This is not merely a vague approximation, or a positive outlook of what may happen, rather, it is an honest, outcome-focused, admission of a sobering reality. Utilizing optimism to expect positive results despite inaction would result in the needs not being met. This illustration may further go to declare optimism as a learnt behavior since one’s natural instinct lies in the fulfillment of needs.

In 2013, Todd et al. conducted research which postulates that the deletion variant of ADA2b, which is a gene linked to the neurotransmitter and hormone, norepinephrine, affects our real-time memory and how people see and experience the world. Researchers exposed 200 people to a “rapid succession of positive, negative and neutral words” (Ericson, 2013, para. 4). When the participants were asked to describe the sequence, those with the gene were more likely to place focus on the negative words than the others and in contrast, participants who did not have the gene focused on the positive words. The findings of the study suggest biological differences at the genetic level is integral when considering individual differences in perception. Researchers further hypothesize that the focus on negative details in individuals with the ADA2b deletion variant is generalized across all aspects of perceptions.

In conclusion, the trait of pessimism does not entail a person living a bitter life stripped of joy. Instead, it broadens the capacity by which individuals can appreciate favorable outcomes since it is never expected or anticipated. Pessimism can be defined as a natural neurological trait since it is mandatorily present for individuals to utilize in the fulfillment of their needs. The genetic composition can notably influence a person’s opinion of the world by magnifying negative experiences and emotions.


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The Human Nature of Pessimism Argumentative Essay. (2021, Jan 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-human-nature-of-pessimism/

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