Optimism Versus Positivity

(or, any more of these ‘versus’ posts and I’ll have to rename the blog ‘jamespatrickcasey and Mortal Kombat’)

It may seem like a given that the most optimistic people around are the most positive, right? In reality, these two characteristics operate independently of each other – if ‘optimism’ is the way an individual frames their outlook on life, based on a broad sliding scale of ‘good’ to ‘bad’, and ‘positivity’ is the extent to which an individual is upbeat and talkative, you’ll see how these two traits are not dependent on each other; and using the exemplification of nothing but stereotypes, I’m going to show you why.

Oh, and the post will be broken up not with paragraphs, but with numbered subtitles, after a suggestion from a friend – constructive criticism, yo!

1) High Positivity and High Optimism

This is perhaps the most common arrangement of the two traits, and results in people usually referred to as ‘optimists’. These people are very upbeat, either buzzing from person to person, looking for a conversation or debate to latch onto like a particularly literally aware bee. These people will also express optimistic opinions, saying that all the World’s fine, and nothing can go wrong, and the Earth’s current overpopulation only increases the chances of a new technological miracle to come along and save us and that sort of thing. These people are also generally good folks to have around (although my division of people based on these two traits does not take into account factors like reliability and honesty), but they will usually be friendly, and a good source of information and support, should you so need them. Although their total optimism might get a bit annoying at the sadder or more annoying bits of your life, the almost always mean well.

2) Low Positivity and Low Optimism

Emos, goths, losers, freaks or whatever other dismissively insulting term you want to refer to these guys with are easily identifiable, and at least equal in commonness to the fist group of people (due in part to My Chemical Romance making social outcasts cool and vloggers making social awkwardness a desirable trait). These people will show no positivity, being unresponsive in conversation and reluctant to engage socially with other, and their insanely low optimism often results in all the tragic self-hating, both mentally and physically, that we associate with these folks. If you can become close friends with one of these people, however, you will normally find a very insightful person; their bleak outlook on life, while possibly detrimental to their health, has led them to see the World in a weird, objectively accurate sense, which can make for a nice contrast to the hormone- and emotion-fuelled nonsense most of us make decisions based upon.

3) Low Positivity and High Optimism

This is perhaps the least common of these four groups (of, as I am beginning to realise, Nazi-style social profiling), as these people are very lethargic and quiet in conversation, usually misinterpreted as ‘shyness’, but when they do talk, they are incredibly upbeat and optimistic, revealing stuff like they enjoy My Little Pony videos and Charlie McDonnell songs and all other forms of online awesome derpery. Unlike the other three groups, who all have social norms assigned to them (ones are simply ‘optimists’, twos are ’emos’ and, as we’ll see, fours are ‘cynics’), groups three doesn’t really have its own subculture, celebrity following or taste in music, with people in this group instead simply liking whatever they feel like, which they won’t be judged fro because they never express their opinions on anything, and when they do everyone likes them because they’re so damn friendly. Perhaps you could look at this group of people as the same as group one, only less in-your-face with their happiness.

4) High Positivity and Low Optimism

Undoubtedly the most fun group to be in, while simultaneously being the most depressing group of people to observe if you’re not part of the group, these ‘cynics’ are very different from the other groups: they hate the World, see only its flaws, turn even the most brilliant thing into an example of how awful its all being (like spinning the development of a new, cancer-curing drug as evidence that money-grabbing corporations are ruling the World), and have a suspiciously good knowledge of really obscure pop culture. There is an inherent hypocrisy to this group, as they attack everything around them so violently that people inevitably ask them “well, how would you do it better”, and of course the answer is that if the cynics ruled the World, society would closely resemble a cross between Hackney in about 1993 with Dante’s interpretation of the eight Circle of Hell (which are basically the same thing), meaning that the cynics want to tear down the World on one hand, but need our society and its idiocy and equality to give these cynics purpose. I would very strongly associate myself with this rag-tag group of World-haters, Metalheads and hypocritical buffoons, almost entirely because it’s great fun. Often, these people (should I be saying “we” here?) will be intelligent, as there is a need to construct strong arguments as to why society sucks, so as to avoid being dismissed as a lunatic or an outspoken member of group two, but choose to use their brains for cheap laughs on blogging websites, rather than for anything useful like curing cancer or putting a newt on the Moon, or whatever else NASA does these days.

Now, subdividing the population of a planet of seven billion people like this is fun and all, but it’s largely just that – fun. It’s impossible to codify every person in every culture at every time on the Earth into an infinite number of categories, and so trying to do if for just four groups is fundamentally flawed. However, this post does, hopefully, show you that peoples’ characteristics can be determined totally independently of each other – happy people aren’t always outspoken and depressed folks aren’t necessary introverts. Still, this jovial post aside, I’m still in group four.



7 thoughts on “Optimism Versus Positivity

  1. How can this be so black and white, the events in your life will surely impact your emotional state and outlook on life, you might be positive and an optimist one day until something terrible happens.

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