OK, I need your input. I am trying to find a word to describe something. Please read this and give me your feedback in the comments.
Depending on what article I am writing at the moment, I tend to get responses like, “Wow, you are really cynical!” or, “You’re being naive and idealistic.” A couple times people have outright asked me, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?” Well, I’m not either. I am also not a realist, an idealist, or just about any “ist” you can think of. After giving it some thought, I have come to realize that my worldview can best defined as this: I see the world through the lens of dynamic progressive probability. What is that? Well, let me explain…
The World Isn’t Static
My biggest issue with just about any label out there is that they imply a static worldview. Be it optimist or pessimist, each says “I think the world IS this way.” In truth, the world is always changing. Being a pessimist was a fairly practical point of view if you were a peasant in the Dark Ages. However, being an optimist as a modern day upper-class American entrepreneur will also suit you well. Situations and probabilities are always changing, the likelihood of positive and negative outcomes are always changing as well.
We Can’t Change the Present, but We Can Change the Future
Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t live to see his Dream fulfilled, nor has it even been achieved fully today. However, the probabilities of the various aspects of MLK’s Dream HAVE become more likely. It is now MORE likely that a white and black person will treat each other as equals, even if it doesn’t always happen. It is now MORE likely that a black person will be paid equal to a white person. It is now MORE likely that a black person can hold a position of authority. It still isn’t an equal probability, but it is trending toward equality.
Being an idealist or optimist means that you confuse the way things ARE with the way things SHOULD be. But being a realist or pessimist means that you confuse the way things ARE with the way things CAN be. That is why I don’t have a good “ist” for my worldview. I think things are BETTER than they WERE and WORSE than they WILL be. I believe that our job in life is to keep working to increase the probabilities of a better future, while facing the reality of the present.
I Believe My Actions Matter
People are most likely to think of me as an optimist for the simple fact that I find relevance in my actions. I believe that my choices and actions contribute to increasing (or decreasing as the case may be) probably of positive outcomes in the world. At the heart of most cynicism is a deep-seating belief that one’s actions, thoughts, or behavior doesn’t matter at all. I see this as cowardice, and a rejection of one’s responsibility to be a part of the world around them.
It’s Just Easy, It’s Not Likely, It’s Not Fast, It’s Just Possible
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” - Abraham Lincoln
Changing the world for the better isn’t easy. The outcomes we want are unlikely at the present, and the change we want comes slowly. For those who live to see progress and change in the world, persistence and determination are definately job requirements. If I make any mistake in life, it is thinking that change can come faster than it does. It is my biggest strategic weakness. But I have learned, after years of beating my head against various walls, that change does come indeed.
Why We Need More Super Villains
I don’t advocate for superheroes because do-gooders are the first to give up. Youthful idealists who seek praise and approval for good works are the first to get eaten alive by the reality of the present world. They give up, grow cynical, and become part of the problem. They then join the chorus of doubt toward the next idealist, shouting, “This is just way things are!”
I think we need more super villains. People willing to seek change in the world without approval and adulation. People who act based on an internal conviction, or compass, which guides them through the seas of doubt and popular opinion. Those with the patience and persistence to work for progress a little bit at a time, until the probabilities start changing for the better. These are the ones who change the world. Or take it over… you know… whatever.
I Need Your Input
So I am looking for a word, possibly and “ist,” to describe this worldview. I bet a lot more people would use it if it had a nice simple label. After reading all this, what would you call it?