“Hope is not a strategy” is a well accepted maxim in the world of business, and surely for life in general as well. Plenty has been written, deservedly, about the power of positive thinking, and yet it must also be remembered that irrational optimism is not always benign. Personally, I can be accused of being a glass-half-empty pessimist, and while that may well be true, I’ve often felt the line has too readily been blurred between pessimism and realism. Facts, data, science and logic do still matter, have always mattered, and no amount of exuberant confidence can wish them away. Self-assurance is great, and hugely beneficial, except when it prevents examination and obscures truth. Where yearning for some desired result becomes blind faith, where religion devolves to cult. Objective reality still exists, even for those who don’t choose to think so. Things are not magically okay, even if one proclaims, however forcefully, that “All is well,” like Kevin Bacon in the anarchic Animal House parade scene. And when one makes imaginary declarations about the size of an inauguration crowd or the efficacy of a malaria drug to restrain a new pandemic, there may be ramifications. Real ones. Hopefully they ultimately prove to be manageable and short-lived. I hope, but as a realist, I am by no means assured.
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