Pessimism and Intellect

“We all agree that pessimism is a mark of superior intellect.” John Kenneth Galbraith

Does that give us any privilege? From my own experience I can identify myself as one of the most pessimistic guys from the people I know, it has something to do with intellect or maybe thats how I like to put it.

Any comments?

ps: always good to be here but i thnk this forum needs more motivated people to help make it a better experience for the needy ones who are searching for hope.

By the way, I was reading a book called Surviving Schizphrenia, a very useful one, it says that recovery from schizophrenia through medication and therapy can only happen to people who are still having hope to become better, it says that people who lack hope are most commonly not responding.

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I don’t know if we all agree, but I agree about pessimism.

We all agree that pessimism is a mark of superior intellect." John Kenneth Galbraith

Who’s this we stuff? Does he have a mouse in his pocket?

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JK Galbraith is just one economist who taught at Harvard and worked in government perhaps 20 years ago - I don’t think he has cornered the market on intellect, so he is just one opinion.

I think the new opinion is that you need to rid yourself of pessimism if you want to live a better, richer life. I encourage you to watch this video:


Here is another good video on this topic from another Harvard Professor (so probably of high intellect):

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This seems to me to be one of the most pessimistic people ever in a show… lol still sort of funny but I wouldn’t want him to live with me and if I were really bad I would never have him as a mentor or caretaker.

I dunno I don’t think that attitude ever really helped me…like in the past I was negative a lot or said: (I don’t care they’re just a number to me…)

It’s just not fitting into my life anymore to be pessimistic, and I’ll admit I’m not the smartest one here lol.

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I view skepticism as the mark of a superior thinker.

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Skeptics and critics aren’t always the best though…don’t forget!

You’re skeptical about skeptics. I love it!

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I think that this is a good perspective - but you have to be careful not to fall from the “skeptical” outlook - into the “pessimistic” outlook. I think skepticism is just a neutral approach where you want to see facts before you take in any new beliefs. Pessimism is assuming a negative outlook.

I think you can be both skeptical and optimistic in life.


I was going to say something like that.

I don’t think pessimism is the mark of a superior thinker. I’ve seen some pessimist in action… it doesn’t seem like it’s hard work to shoot down everyone else’s ideas in a sea of worst case scenario while not coming up with any solutions of their own.

The pessimistic people I’ve met are also very inactive… not doing much because they have already convinced themselves and those around them off all the ways something can fail… not once seeming to consider that something just might work.

Our most noted inventors were optimist… because they never gave up and they were hopeful that eventually something like the light bulb or the airplane would work.

You have to be a skeptic so you can see where something might need some change and improvement.
You have to be an optimist so you can see that you might be one who can create that change.


Maybe it’s a medicine side effect.

Absolutely true. And its not very helpful for anyone. better to be optimistic and keep trying to find out how to do better at something.

Its sometimes / frequently harder to be optimistic .


Optimism within reason is fine. Unfettered optimism leads you to infantile and intellectually crass garbage like ’ The Secret’ and the inane whitterings of a host of mentally vacuous pop psychologists.