Optimism and Creativity vs Entropy

TL;DR:

Optimism isn’t about hope, it’s about proactive creativity. Creativity counters entropy. It’s our job to create the good that comes out of the bad.


With the help of Pocket, I’ve been catching up on some long-overdue readings, mostly from the mind and research of Maria Popova at Brain Pickings. I also just finished The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera for the first, and definitely not last, time.

Brain Pickings had a great post a few months ago on the Meaning of Life, and the first entry really got me thinking.

Annie Dillard had a great interpretation of Buckminster Fuller’s quote, “Life is antientropic.” If the universe is falling into disorder and chaos, life and creativity are the opposing forces.

I had just read a bit about optimism from Philippa Perry in this How to Stay Sane post: “I am talking about being optimistic enough to sow some seeds in the hope that some of them will germinate and grow into flowers.”

Optimism gets a bad rap. Somewhere in my mind it’s been slotted next to weak, irrational, and sometimes delusional. And it’s often easier to believe the more pessimistic view is the correct one.

But this material clicked into place. Optimism doesn’t have to mean we’re using a blind or hopeful lens to observe tragic events, or that we’re just waiting for our karma to build up and spill into the ‘good’ side again. Optimism is more about resilience and creativity. It’s more about problem solving. Good doesn’t inherently or magically come out of the bad. It’s our job to be creative and put that goodness together ourselves.

That’s what creativity is: picking up the pieces entropy leaves behind and recombining them into something that’s never existed before.

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