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Helen Keller

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The test of all beliefs is their practical effect in life. If it be true that optimism compels the world forward, and pessimism retards it, then it is dangerous to propagate a pessimistic philosophy.

 
Helen Keller

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To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is. A pessimistic attitude can never create the calm and serene smile which blossoms on the lips of Bodhisattvas and all those who obtain the way.

 
Thich Nhat Hanh
 

To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is. A pessimistic attitude can never create the calm and serene smile which blossoms on the lips of Bodhisattvas and all those who obtain the way.

 
Thich Nhat Hanh
 

I can't understand how anyone is able to paint without optimism. Despite the general pessimistic attitude in the world today, I am nothing but an optimist.

 
Hans Hofmann
 

Windelband, the historian of philosophy, in his essay on the meaning of philosophy (Was ist Philosophie? in the first volume of his Präludien) tells us that "the history of the word 'philosophy' is the history of the cultural significance of science." He continues: "When scientific thought attains an independent existence as a desire for knowledge, it takes the name of philosophy; when subsequently knowledge as a whole divides into its various branches, philosophy is the general knowledge of the world that embraces all other knowledge. As soon as scientific thought stoops again to becoming a means to ethics or religious contemplation, philosophy is transformed into an art of life or into a formulation of religious beliefs. And when afterwards the scientific life regains its liberty, philosophy acquires once again its character as an independent knowledge of the world, and in so far as it abandons the attempt to solve this problem, it is changed into a theory of knowledge itself." Here you have a brief recapitulation of the history of philosophy from Thales to Kant, including the medieval scholasticism upon which it endeavored to establish religious beliefs. But has philosophy no other office to perform, and may not its office be to reflect upon the tragic sense of life itself, such as we have been studying it, to formulate this conflict between reason and faith, between science and religion, and deliberately to perpetuate this conflict?

 
Miguel de Unamuno
 

[Nietzsche inveighs] against every sort of historical optimism; but he energetically repudiates the ordinary pessimism, which is the result of degenerate or enfeebled instincts of decadence. He preaches with youthful enthusiasm the triumph of a tragic culture, introduced by an intrepid rising generation, in which the spirit of ancient Greece might be born again. He rejects the pessimism of Schopenhauer, for he already abhors all renunciation; but he seeks a pessimism of healthiness, one derived from strength, from exuberant power, and he believes he has found it in the Greeks.

 
Georg Brandes
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