Optimism Bias: What Keeps Us Alive Today Will Kill Us Tomorrow

So yeah, people lie. They, we, all do. Some of us understand the extent to which this is true better than others, but that’s probably just because we haven’t all spent equal time wondering when it was we first started doing it. Let alone why. Interesting questions. After the fact, it’s blindingly obvious why we would want to lie: accomplished liars get to mate faster and more often. Which still is the purpose of life, even though it may not be terribly fashionable to phrase it that way these days.

Like all those before us, we’ll walk right into our tragic futures thinking everything will be alright. ‘Cause that’s who we are. That’s all we got. Our tragedies will be as over the top bloody and deadly too as the Greeks’ were.

Meanwhile, being the modern people we are, we can’t help but wait for Godot, and we’ll die waiting, because our optimism bias tells us he will come.

No, this is certainly no time for easy optimism, but tragically, that’s all there is.

We’re only static on the radio, picking up speed.

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13 comments on “Optimism Bias: What Keeps Us Alive Today Will Kill Us Tomorrow
  1. Tom-Tom says:

    If we save the birds and lizards, the marsupials and fishes, and the insects and the rest, we’ll be OK. In my opinion this is not a whacky idea. Because when the animals are down to nearly nothing, like it’s going now, we WILL have doomed ourselves. So save the animals.

    —— me — “a carbon-based life form primate”

  2. jarrollin says:

    I saw Waiting for Godot this past summer. I highly recommend it. But I think the above writer misunderstands the play. Yes, we are all waiting … but we are all also Godot. Godot comes without fail, yet never really arrives. To be waiting is not a bad thing, any more than watching Max Keiser or a football game is a bad thing. Godot is not necessarily great, or holder of all that is desired. It’s more like he’s there (he’s not far off), but never really there.

    You see, I wouldn’t say that Beckett is only in it for social commentary. Was Kafka only in it for that. Not even Orwell deserves that claim. The writer is finding new masks for current experience, but it is somehow, without fail, similar to age old experience. Like Godot, it’s always around the bend …

  3. Talcott says:

    Why wait for Godot….

    he is here in the infinite moment.

  4. susan says:


    I like it! Not many people think like that!

    Re Poster:

    Note the fascist eagle at the top, which is appearing *everywhere* in Europe at the moment, from logos on cars to business signs to Freemason insignia, to coats of arms to crests for banks. Coincidence or Fourth Reich?


  5. marko clio says:

    The writer of the optimum bias is right on the money in everything they say. Ultimately, the consensus reality makes fools of us all. If you can’t acknowledge the light of truth when it stares you in the face, then you might as well be eternally insane, which collectively the human race is.

  6. Jayme says:

    Nothing can be fully described or explained, so we intentionally leave out details. Words are only tools. Confusing the symbol with reality creates bias. There are both pessimistic as well as optimistic sides to bias. There are also a whole range of self perceptions (Maslow) that further distort ‘reality’. Another psychological idea is defined as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    [F]or a given skill, incompetent people will:

    tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
    fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
    fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
    recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill

    Media’s Obama Narrative Collides with Reality

    I think the entire range of psychological distortions cannot readily be categorized without gross distortion of the complexity of the human mind.

  7. evolutis says:

    Pulling on trouble’s braids …the interval enters into the information transfer … At this interval[an opportunity to learn from a bad mistake] with the entire world, once again unable to find the divisive impossibility, of it’s collective, monetary ass with both hands … it would seem that Greece and Israel, just may be the ultimate locations for test run prototypes of “knowledge based” societies as a way forward … an opportunity to be collectively wrong is an opportunity[interval] for a stoic, storyteller.

  8. Sir Halibut says:

    “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.”

    — Voltaire

  9. evolutis says:


    “Eventually, as the number of epic hacks increased, we started to lean on a curious psychological crutch: the notion of the “strong” password. It’s the compromise that growing web companies came up with to keep people signing up and entrusting data to their sites. It’s the Band-Aid that’s now being washed away in a river of blood.”

  10. daddy warbucks says:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”
    I guess I pissed Max off because I said he totally bought into AGW?

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