Our Pessimistic Society


Juliette Fournier

Finding balance between pessimism and optimism can greatly benefit society.

Juliette Fournier, Editor

Oftentimes, pessimism is necessary. It helps us improve, innovate, and work towards becoming better as a society and an individual as we seek to find and fix flaws. However, there is a time when pessimism goes too far, so far that even the positive moments are obscured. Instead, we become almost obsessed with finding every negative detail, even when the flaws are insignificant; it is almost as though we are desperately searching for flaws. Many who do have a pessimistic outlook on life feel consumed by or obliged to find what is wrong or bad instead of also acknowledging the good in their lives. Constantly expecting the worst out of everything and seeking justification to do so can/ has become detrimental to our society.

Take the comments section of YouTube videos, for example. Some videos deserve criticism, whether it’s because the video is controversial in the issues it addresses or with the content it contains. However, others that are completely harmless still receive criticism as some point out every possible flaw they can find. We often forget to look at the big picture. Rather than focusing on tiny, insignificant details, it should be more important to judge the quality of the content itself, whether the criticism is worth it.

Body image is another area where pessimism can have a negative influence. Thanks to social media, magazines, and Hollywood, millions of people feel a constant pressure to look like a movie star. Instagram, for instance, can lower one’s self-image as that person scrolls through accounts of a model with seemingly perfect skin, perfect hair, and a perfect body. While the pressure to look like this is slightly diminishing thanks to the gradual movement towards a more accepting society, it still hasn’t gone away. Those who are more pessimistic may feel as though they will never live up to the ‘ideal’ look that they feel society expects from them. A desire to constantly improve makes those people feel inferior, as though their appearances impact their self-worth. Instead of looking at themselves in a positive light, they focus on what they perceive to be flaws.

Despite having some benefits, constant pessimism only leads to an unhappy society that never knows how to be happy. Melody Saba (12) agrees, arguing that “pessimism is only good in moderation. There needs to be a balance…” While she feels “if we were only pessimistic, we would never achieve anything beyond what we have now,” she also understands that “if we have too much optimism, then our goals would end up being unrealistic, and we would end up shooting too high.” It’s essential to find a balance between the two, more specifically to distinguish what faults are actually worth addressing. In doing so, society as a whole would probably be much less depressing than it is now.