Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Fear of Disappointment

Caught in a vicious cycle of hope and despair man tries to make sense out of his life. Assuming that hope is desirable without which he cannot move on is a preconceived notion that the optimist would hardly abandon. Both optimism and pessimism are only states of mind; yet one is eulogized while the other is condemned. There seems to be a lack of clarity as to why one would pursue optimism and reject pessimism. One tends to think that optimism is desirable because it generates positive energy while pessimism spreads the veil of negative thinking. One is caught in the prison of apathy whereby the external world cannot be transformed and so if at all there is any transformation possible it has to be a transformation of oneself. This notion of a ‘being within’ is subject to the most cunning deceptions. The genuine response gives rise to a being that questions the meaningless life in a hostile universe. Then man is divided into two beings where one is secure in the thought that one can still be happy when the world around is hostile and the other is a being of natural response to the ennui called life. Between the two beings a tug of war is inevitable but one who has brought about this situation is sidelined. The individual concerned is responsible for this alone. The individual is not responsible for the entire humanity because in one being there is a restricted response. Another human being brings only another set of responses. Although both have in them a self-paced time and matter relationship, in themselves they are just two drops in the cosmic ocean. – Nothing has changed and the vicious cycle continues.

Optimism as a natural response is one matter but optimism adopted dogmatically is absurd. Optimism can lead to what one may call self-deception which is the consequence of the tug of war between two beings within the same individual. It also arises out of another phenomena which is called the hope and despair cycle. When there is a positive outcome in life that thrills man, he is motivated to hope for more such outcomes in the future. This is a hope that is a natural response to his situation. But even this although natural, fuels the cycle of hope and despair. He is insecure as to how long this illusion of excitement will last. As a result there is a fear of losing hope and this is enough to anticipate despair and disappointment. The mind with its set of ideas about success, friendship, loss and optimism is the seed of disappointment. There are some consequences of this conclusion and that threatens the regular man in whom being is ‘non-existent’.

Coming to the subject of a negative outcome in life that saddens man, he is demotivated to hope at all and falls into the veil of despair. This is again despair as a natural response to a disappointing situation. With this despair persisting there is an attempt to immortalize it which is nothing but the union of two beings within the same individual. The individual who does not pursue this state of mind has no choice but to adopt self-deception and optimism dogmatically. This is of course not a genuine response. In the case of despair as a natural outcome, the individual is dragged into the vicious cycle of hope and despair because of the desire to unite the two beings within him in order to avoid self-deception. This aversion to self-deception is what leads to accepting the vicious cycle but the real exit from the cycle is not self-deception but abandonment. Man has evolved psychologically into a being that may face disappointment but is still frightened as hell at the thought of disappointment.

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