On this 4th of July, this anniversary of a revolution in these United States, I’m inspired to share one of my favorite quotes about the political act of optimism, and how being optimistic even in dark times helps us evolve and grow.
I would add that optimism is an act of the spirit, a conscious choice. Being optimistic doesn’t mean that we don’t face the reality of current events, it means we don’t allow ourselves to be beaten down by those events.
Instead, we do our work, we show up, we grow, give, love, heal, and forgive. Only in this way do we create consciously.
I wish you so much love and peace today! -Kris
Optimism is a political act, by Alex Steffen
“Entrenched interests use despair, confusion and apathy to prevent change. They encourage modes of thinking which lead us to believe that problems are insolvable, that nothing we do can matter, that the issue is too complex to present even the opportunity for change. It is a long-standing political art to sow the seeds of mistrust between those you would rule over: as Machiavelli said, tyrants do not care if they are hated, so long as those under them do not love one another.
Cynicism is often seen as a rebellious attitude in Western popular culture, but, in reality, cynicism in average people is the attitude exactly most likely to conform to the desires of the powerful – cynicism is obedience.
Optimism, by contrast, especially optimism which is neither foolish nor silent, can be revolutionary. Where no one believes in a better future, despair is a logical choice, and people in despair almost never change anything. Where no one believes a better solution is possible, those benefiting from the continuation of a problem are safe. Where no one believes in the possibility of action, apathy becomes an insurmountable obstacle to reform.
But introduce intelligent reasons for believing that action is possible, that better solutions are available, and that a better future can be built, and you unleash the power of people to act out of their highest principles. Shared belief in a better future is the strongest glue there is: it creates the opportunity for us to love one another, and love is an explosive force in politics.
Great movements for social change always begin with statements of great optimism.” -Alex Steffen