Pessimistic? Don’t worry, it’s worse than you think.

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 27, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

“Happily Ever After?”

Optimism is a drug that New Agey types take daily. Its parent corporation is Fear.

Pessimism is, sadly, realistic—but self-defeating.

Middle way.


“I don’t consider myself a pessimist.

I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain.

And I feel soaked to the skin.”

~ Leonard Cohen

elephants and tigers, useless to Capitalism (as opposed to, say, GMOs or SUVs) are going extinct in the wild (rapidly).

We’re literally now spraying our own food with half-strength Agent Orange in 23 states—and this is perfectly legal.

Corporations are People—only they have deep pockets, and We the People are, if we’re not among the 1%, far poorer than our grandparents’ generation.

The American Dream—opportunity if we work hard to join the ranks of the middle class and pursue happiness—is available to those who inherit, or those who can still afford the skyrocketing costs of a first-class education (and, even then…).

Climate change has well surpassed the limit for healthy life (350 parts per million, is it?). Mitt Romney—not a big fan of women’s rights, the middle or lower classes, or our environment upon which we all depend—has a good chance (thanks in part to 80% of all SuperPac money going to GOP) to unseat a Democratic President who, for now, just barely, has delayed the “game over for the planet,” Canada’s dirty, dirty Keystone Pipeline.

As is said in Buddhism,

This is the darkest hour of the dark ages. Disease, famine and warfare are raging like the fierce north wind. The Buddha’s teaching has waned in strength … and the yogis of tantra are losing the insight of meditation. They spend their whole time going through villages and performing little ceremonies for material gain. On the whole, no one acts according to the highest code of discipline, meditation and wisdom. The jewel-like teaching of insight is fading day by day. The Buddha’s teaching is used merely for political purposes and to draw people together socially. As a result, the blessings of spiritual energy are being lost. Even those with great devotion are beginning to lose heart…”
~ excerpt from The Sadhana of Mahmudra, via Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

And yet, as Yvon Chouinard says, “we’re all fucked and I accept that—but I wake up in the morning and just work harder and harder against that reality—what else is there to do?” Well, er, something like that.

And the fact is: there’s magic to the human race when we wake up, and band together out of love and inspiration and compassion, instead of racism, sexism, hate, prejudice.

So who knows: history is written by the victorious, as Churchill said—and it’s up to us to make sure our great grandchildren grow up reading a story that ends happily ever after—in other words, that doesn’t end at all, but begins anew each day with the rising of the golden morning sun.

“The glass is half full. Or, it was. It’s just been poured on your head. Still, there’s nothing to do but keep thinking it’s half full, or all the way full—keep fighting, with a smile.”



We shall fight when there seems to be no point:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


5 Responses to “Pessimistic? Don’t worry, it’s worse than you think.”

  1. Waylon,
    I think you've said it, shown it well and I have nothing to add that would make this better but i wanted to say that I love this post.
    "Relephant" – nice.

  2. oz_ says:

    Suggested edit:

    "Mitt Romney—not a big fan of women’s rights, the middle or lower classes, or our environment upon which we all depend—has a good chance (thanks in part to 80% of all SuperPac money going to GOP) to unseat a Democratic President who" has perpetuated the exact same pro-corporate, pro-bankster, anti-civil liberties policies as Bush and has in fact expanded the violence and slaughter being perpetuated by the CIA and US military to ever more nations via a "vast drone/killing operation" (as per Glenn Greenwald).

    After all, the notion that Obama is somehow 'different' from Romney, Bush, Clinton, is pure whimsy – dangerous whimsy. Here's a prediction: Obama will be re-elected, and Keystone-XL will become a live issue again. And this time, it'll pass. Or, Romney will win – and Keystone-XL will pass. Either way, I'd bet my last dollar that Keystone passes. The person who happens to be living in the WH at that time is immaterial.

    It's seriously time to stop investing our hopes and dreams in an unaccountable political system that is clearly corrupt, top to bottom, Republican to Democrat. It's time to look to (and invest in) alternative structures of sociopolitical action inasmuch as the institutionalized ones currently in place are in the process of failing, utterly. Social change is happening right now, and it's happening from the bottom up, whether you live in the Middle East (Arab Spring), South America (campesinas, peasant movements) or North America (Quebec, Chiapas, OWS).

    So enough with the top down 'hail mary' approach that only co-opts the energy and momentum for change among those of us who give a shit. Obama isn't the answer. The Democrats are just as beholden as the Republicans to corporate donors. They're just as bloody-minded and war mongering, too.

    We need to wake up.

    Occupy may not be perfect, but it's the best chance we have to end, or at least reduce ecological degradation, to end corporate welfare, to end the endless wars and violence, etc. Occupy is the only movement to arise in 40 years that shows promise of effectively opposing *both* State and corporate violence and exploitation – and it seeks to do this NOT by empowering the State but by empowering PEOPLE. Take it from one of EJ's own:

    I think Michael Stone offers a more positive outlook than Chogyam Trungpa's dour assessment.

  3. emohr says:

    Middle way… honestly, couldn't agree more.
    And simplicity, as Chouinard says.

    So helpful in the midst of a world gone mad. 🙂

    Also, the Cohen quote has just made my day…

  4. […] Don’t Let’s Mess It Up. […]

  5. […] to you or someone you care about. Without going against the purpose of the piece and sounding too pessimistic, I have yet to see an end in sight for this epidemic of unfortunate career-world […]