“I can’t be a pessimist because I am alive.”

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

Warm Mid-Autumn greetings from Viet Nam!

How many of you are familiar with this quote from the great James Baldwin?

I can’t be a pessimist because I am alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter. So, I am forced to be an optimist. I am forced to believe that we can survive, whatever we must survive.

I recently shared this with someone who was feeling pessimistic about the current state of affairs in his country and the world. My response was: “If James Baldwin could be an optimist, given the poverty and abuse that he endured growing up, and the racism and homophobia to which he was subjected, so can I – someone who has had a much easier life because of my race, social class, and sexual orientation.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

One thought on ““I can’t be a pessimist because I am alive.”

  1. Tôi không thể là một người bi quan vì tôi vẫn đang sống. Là một người bi quan nghĩa là bạn phải đồng tình rằng cuộc sống con người là một vấn đề mang tính lý thuyết. Vì vậy, tôi bắt buộc phải trở thành một người lạc quan. Tôi buộc phải tin rằng chúng ta có thể tồn tại, dù có thế nào đi chăng nữa chúng ta bắt buộc phải tồn tại.

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