According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Maybe Something Good Will Happen, But We Are Skeptical

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Maybe Something Good Will Happen, But We Are Skeptical


Sam and I read an article in the newspaper the other day that was headlined, “Study shows benefits of pessimism.” You don’t say?

Kathleen has accused me a couple of times of being a pessimist and I always protest that I’m not a pessimist, that I’m only a skeptic. Let me 'splain dis to you Lucy. The difference is: a pessimist believes nothing good can happen, whereas a skeptic believes good things can happen they just usually don’t.

According to definitions from 

Pessimism is:
1. A tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view.
2. The doctrine or belief that this is the worst of all possible worlds and that all things ultimately tend toward evil.
3. The doctrine or belief that the evil in the world outweighs the good.

Skepticism is:
1. A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind.
2. Philosophy:
a. The ancient school of Pyrrho of Elis that stressed the uncertainty of our beliefs in order to oppose dogmatism.
b. The doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible, either in a particular domain or in general.
c. A methodology based on an assumption of doubt with the aim of acquiring approximate or relative certainty.
3. Doubt or disbelief of religious tenets.

The newspaper article by Monte Morin of the Los Angeles Times quoted portions of the March issue of Psychology and Aging, where researchers allegedly found that optimism too often raised false hopes in people, especially the young and said, “We found that from early to late adulthood, individuals adapt their anticipation from optimistic, to accurate to pessimistic.” Which apparently results in preserved functional health and better chances to survive.

See Kathleen. Told ya!

So here’s what I’m skeptical (not pessimistic) about today: the Roman cardinals are en conclave to choose the next Pope. Many overly optimistic people in America think the Cardinals might (should) choose a dude whose views about life mirror our more liberal views, embracing women’s rights, gays, more liberal abortion guidelines, women priests, and marriage for priests and so on. Guess what people? I SERIOUSLY DOUBT IT.

I’m with those people who hope the Cardinals pick a younger pope. It would be nice to see one not half dead for a change. I’m with those people who think maybe the next pope should be someone not necessarily white, who can speak different languages and so on. Place your bets, who knows?  One thing Sam and I are pretty certain of though, Americans are not likely to be happy with the final choice no matter who it is.

By the way, in case you are wondering, Sam and I also are skeptical that the Gonzaga Bulldogs are going to win the NCAA basketball tournament this year (although we hope they do); we’re skeptical that the Sacramento Kings are going to arrive in Seattle reincarnated as the Super Sonics; We’re skeptical that the Seahawks are going to win the Super Bowl; and we’re skeptical that the Seattle Mariners are ever going to dig themselves out of the baseball cellar.

We hope we’re wrong. Three bags of poop on losing sports teams. I’m going to confession and admit to my skepticism as soon as a new pope is elected.

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