"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." -Carlos Castaneda.


The sixth obstruction of foresight is pessimism.


Pessimism is the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes or results. This means that vision has been captured by disappointment.


It is an easy trap to fall into, because the status quo is working so hard to convince us that positive change is impossible and decline inevitable. 


Pessimism always requires a self-fulfilling prophet. Being right about what's wrong feeds self-pity and keeps vision focused on the sorry state of the self rather than on possibility and meaning.


Of course, this is just another tawdry magic trick of the status quo. It counts on our gullibility and complacency to remain dominant and in control. Every conversion to the philosophy of pessimism keeps the side-show going.


The subscription to pessimism is a commitment that must be constantly upheld and renewed. To do this requires a heavy investment in self-pity.


Self-pity is a state of self-absorbed unhappiness over one's own troubles and difficulties. This is a very popular way to pass the time and there are many enthusiasts. It is the mood necessary to maintain the pessimistic outlook that clouds foresight and turns vision gloomy.


In Visionmaking, self-pity is seen as an indulgence and an embarrassing declaration that a Visionmaker is less than the sum of his or her circumstances. This is saying out loud that our actions don't have power, that our choices don't count. Nonsense.


Even in the darkest circumstances, a Visionmaker knows that his or her knowledge, aptitudes, gifts, talents, character qualities, experience, resourcefulness and creativity far outmatch the circumstances and the status quo.


Refusing to take responsibility for our own pattern of choices holds self-pity in place. Visionmakers reject such irresponsibility. They recognize the power for change that every human being holds in their hands. 


It is not the future that one should fear. It is our own failure to see the future as our friend; that, and the passive willingness to succumb to the numbing paralysis of our fears.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on March 30, 2009 and filed under The Obstructions of Vision.