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Tuesday July 26, 2005 at 10:49 am

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Do things happen for a reason?

In Voltaire’s Candide
the main character, whose name is the same as the book, begins his life
with the belief that everything happens for the best in this best of
worlds. As the story goes on, Candide clings and grasps to his
belief as one after another outrageously shitty things happen to
him. Half-way through the book I caught myself thinking “Man,
things can’t get any worse than this!”… and yet, they did.

So, through this social sattire, Voltaire smashes to pieces the ideals of the overly optimistic.

My views

Personally, probably because I was raised buddhist, I feel that though
everything may not be for the best, I cling to the belief that
everything is equal. It may not be equal to everybody —
people in poverty and people who are ridiculously fortunate, but overall in the large scheme of things, everything is balanced.

At least — that’s what I like to think.

Things I’m reminded of because of this book (and if you like to think about this kind of stuff): Arthur Nerssesian’s The Fuck Up, and the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie gets dumped by Burger via post-it.


So tell me… what do you believe?
Do things happen for a reason?
Are we all a part of a big pattern on the wheel of time?
Or is it all just bullshit that humans make up to make life more bearable?

TheF0r13iDDeN said,

July 26, 2005 @ 10:55 am

well, those questions basically go back to the questions on there such thing as god? a god? many gods?there are so many religions out there. how do we know which one is actually true?

luvlyangel_06 said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:00 am

I was raised christian so I believe God is in control of my future, however the decisions I choose to make in my life will impact certain things to happen in my life, does that make sense? I’m not the best at describing these sort of things

s1ms said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:04 am

i believe that either way, for theres no way of knowing for sure, it doesnt matter because im enjoying the life i live, and im determined to keep on with that.

franksabunch said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:05 am

I’m a pessimist…that way I’m either right or pleasantly surprised!  I think everything happens, whether for a “reason” or not, they happen.  How you choose to react is up to you, and will reveal what kind of person you are. 

cantBfaded said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:11 am

we totally have an active part of making things happen for ourselves…people this day and age just have a hard time facing the responsibility…

seksae said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:12 am

here’s one simple sentence which i believe in…
“everything is random…regardless is you choose to do something…something random will happen to you by the actions or the non-actions of others”
yeah…life is just bullshit…take it as it is dude

aydongbeeleef said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:15 am

conciousness is real.  that’s all i’ll validate.
whether there’s a point to it, or whether it coninues…   i don know, but i kinda hope so.
though, i’m pretty sure most every religious we the human jackasses have made up so far are complete n utter crap.

UCcowgirl23 said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:25 am

it’s so relative i dont even know anymore lol… i think something is going to be the end result no matter what, and your decisions along the way get u to that point (hows that for riding the fence)

lumpiablog said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:31 am

i think of myself as an optimist bordering on being a realist. I think positive, whenever I’d need to choose between positive or negative. But otherwise, I think in terms of what would be more beneficial to me, and not in terms of bad or good.And then there are the times i just don’t give a damn about how full the glass is.

Keniiiiiiiiiiii said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:36 am

Religions are for people who needs to have a reason for everything they do. Why did I give the bum a quarter? Because I want to go to heaven. Why did I backhand my wife? Because it was in Allah’s will.
I’m an optimist who gets disappointed a lot.

StoopidSavant said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:39 am

I agree with Kenjiiiiiiiii, I think that any theistic religion is just to help people cope with the crap in their lives and to give meaning to their otherwise pointless existence. I am completely comfortable with the fact that I am no more than a very complex chemical reaction (or set of reactions) whose sole purpose is to propagate its DNA. Some people just can’t handle an explanation that simple, and thus their lives are much more complicated because of it, with many a Sunday spent on their knees.

davidngo said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:40 am

a reason?  a big pattern of the wheel of time?
I am optimistic, but I also don’t believe in any higher power or greater “reason” to life…other than life itself.  I see life as an end in itself.  And I’m optimistic that if people are allowed to think freely and pursue their own happiness, that the world would be a much more prosperous and lovely place.  I am optimistic in the abilities of man…and his ability to use his mind in a rational and productive way.  But I do not need the delusions of an “overarching plan of existence” to give meaning to my life. 
The purpose of life is to find happiness while we are alive.  Not to seek some higher plane or become one with the unity of the world.  All that is just nonsensical and counterproductive.  Once you value something/someplace higher than this life on earth, you put your happiness on a secondary shelf. 
I used to be Buddhist, and I really liked it because it taught me how to control my emotions and my temper.  I am a much more easy going person now because of it.  But even Buddhism has some irrational and hard-to-believe spiritualism that can be counter-productive.  After all, thinking about paradoxes and reaching some nirvana through constant meditation in an isolated room in the Himalayas isn’t my idea of pursuing happiness on earth. 
And besides, thinking of life as a means to an end is sometimes very masochistic.  When bad things happen in your life, you may view it as bad luck and wonder “WHY did this happen to me?  What is the REASON?”  This can stress you out even more.  And even when good things happen to you, you don’t take as much pride in your accomplishments.  you just see it as good luck and are fearful of when your luck could change all of a sudden.  If you take control of your life and view your happiness as the direct result of your actions….you’ll be a much happier person. 

claireyyx said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:40 am

i enjoyed that book just because the pious fool kept on having more and more disastrous SHIT happening to him. screw those people who think that the world will pay them retribution just because they have been “good” according to some religious indoctrination.

bobaChick said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:40 am

not from religion, not from the way i was raised, but based purely on experience and living life, i believe things happen for a reason. i believe that no matter how bad it gets relative to your current position/status quo/whatever… that it does get better. it may not seem that way… but that’s what really happens.
or i’m just straight up an optimist who doesn’t hold grudges, forgives and most of the time forgets… =|

bettertomorrow said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:44 am

dooood, it’s things have no relevance. but every action has re-action. go physics! lol

Onigiriman said,

July 26, 2005 @ 11:59 am

I agree that life is balance. And everything will balance out in the end, but it is not random. I think we play a large part in the outcome. No effort usually = fucked up life…

thathrilainmanila said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:04 pm

nice. i like this reflectionary thought. i’ll look into finding that book for a flight next week.
i think that everything happens for a reason even if we don’t see why right away. like you, i believe what i believe because of my religion but there’s no debate about “why things happen”.

MabeMabe said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:07 pm

I believe things always happen for a reason.   And that at the end, everything will always turn out fine even if it’s not as planned.

addictabLe said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

Oh gosh, I remember that episode of Sex and the City.I don’t think I’ve really lived life enough to form my own theories about it. The only experiences I’ve had has led me to believe that things happen for a reason, but that doesn’t change the fact that I still hate moving to California -.-;

vampuke said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

I kinda believe in fate… destiny, all that crap. Who controls it, I don’t know or care. There are just some instances where its really WTF.
I always remember the story about this Taiwanese man who attempted suicide by jumping off a 20 storey building. He landed on a car and killed the woman driver inside. He ended up with a fractured foot. These things CAN’T just happen!
Still, pessimism is best
hope for the worst so that you won’t be so shocked when it does happen ;)
the best is yet to be, the worst is yet to come

swtdrmzx99x said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:11 pm

i’d have to go with the second one, to make life more bearable… i also think that is why there is religion in the world… to make death of loved ones more bearable because as long as you “something to believe in” then it makes moving on easier.

FsB_BeN said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:15 pm

I think ne1 that got close to Voltaire gets OWNED in the book eh? Im an optimist.. i dont dwell on what COULD happen n preparing myself for it but would rather just make the best outta a shitty situation. In the bigger picture tho, its a way of thinking that makes sense of the world around us. Generally speaking tho, optimists do seem to be a lot more happy :-)

deansterr said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:16 pm

this reminds me of my july 13th post. 
it’s like the belief in GOD; you feel that there is a higher power at work, but where is imperical evidence to support it?  can you prove that there is a cosmic balance?  i guess that’s why it’s called blind faith.  it’s a struggle.

Izzy_Caraway said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:23 pm


misstease said,

July 26, 2005 @ 12:49 pm

i dunno. sometimes i like to think things happen for a reason but its hard to seek the reason when something bad happens. . .

seanscheng said,

July 26, 2005 @ 1:33 pm

When a work shares a name with a character or author, you can use a cool word — “eponymous.” E.g. My favorite character of all time is this guy named Candide, who is the main character of the eponymous novel. Or, back in 1983, Dr. Alzheimer discovered the buildup of amyloid plaques in many patients who had suffered from a long-term dementia; this disease now carries his name eponymously.
I’m sitting here reading what I just wrote, wondering why the fuck I did that. Sorry.

seanscheng said,

July 26, 2005 @ 1:38 pm

Also, have you ever heard of something called the “Stockdale Paradox”? It’s named after Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was the highest ranking US officer taken as a prisoner of war at the infamous “Hanoi Hotel,” where he was tortured for 8 years. Anyways, his “paradox” bears some significance to your question of the day re: optimism vs. pessimism. Read about it here:  It’s great stuff.

s1ms said,

July 26, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

things always happen for a reason, but that doesnt mean the future isnt your choice.
or so i believe.
“the choices you make dictate the life you lead”

TheF0r13iDDeN said,

July 26, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

mmm i look korean?
i’m quite sure i’m chinese. and what are you?

Ah_Cheng said,

July 26, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

an optimist, sometimes a realist…but, i like balance…

StoopidSavant said,

July 26, 2005 @ 4:22 pm

heh, how many people, seeing clearly that you’re a Nguyen, ask what nationality you are?
Ironically, I get more than I thought I would.

TheF0r13iDDeN said,

July 26, 2005 @ 4:46 pm

mmm yeah that’s what i thought… viet.

everykissbeginswithmeeh said,

July 26, 2005 @ 5:36 pm

everything happens for a reason…
if you want it bad enough you’ll make it happen.
less then threemeeh

CaKaLusa said,

July 26, 2005 @ 6:03 pm

what the heck is fate anyway?

bjtdevera said,

July 26, 2005 @ 7:23 pm

I vote for “things happen for a reason”

Ssweet_dreemzZ said,

July 26, 2005 @ 7:23 pm

Optimist here.

kixurbutt said,

July 26, 2005 @ 7:32 pm

I actually wrote a post on this topic several months ago. Its pretty opinionated, so brace yourself. If you care to check it out:

Kevin72 said,

July 26, 2005 @ 9:25 pm

There’s a whole Spirit Universe that those stuck in the material world aren’t sensitive to, but it’s nonetheless there. Those materialists astralproject to the Spirit Universe every night anyway in their sleep, they just aren’t conscious of it, but they do anyway as we all do. It’s all behind the scenes, but yes, it’s when we all meet in the spiritual world that we and our guardian angels/ spirit guides make the plans. I don’t know how much a role God plays in coordinating the plans made in the Spirit Universe, but nonetheless, God has His plan.

Neojin said,

July 26, 2005 @ 10:01 pm

Shit happens. There is an inherent risk in almost everything we do. Sometimes u just have to hope for the best, or not to think about it at all.

mogget_jr said,

July 27, 2005 @ 3:28 am

i’m not nearly of the brain capacity to understand that book i’m guessing, but, i think it doesn’t matter, God has a plan, i’m guessing i sound rediculous *random eprops*

kroatia said,

July 27, 2005 @ 4:01 am

the overly optimistic reall are just setting themselves up for disappointment…but pessimism is not way to go through life either…so what have we learned?: pragmatism is for everyone ^_^

stephyissofine said,

July 27, 2005 @ 6:53 am

hey hey hey

swtliljenchan said,

July 27, 2005 @ 9:12 am

Well, I’m a Christian and I do think that God has a plan for everyone. It’s like He already knows what’s going to happen. So I believe that everything that happens in one’s life definately happens for a reason. We may not agree with it always but hey, that’s life! It sometimes suck!

Magnificent_Night said,

July 27, 2005 @ 9:22 am

I’m not a pessimist by any means, but I don’t believe everything that happens happens for THE BETTER. Some things happen and it’s not better. For anyone. Ever.
That’s life.

loveXme_beforeXiXdie said,

July 27, 2005 @ 9:23 am

hey.. nice site.. random propz…. comment back

ish247 said,

July 27, 2005 @ 11:05 am

just stopping by, saying hi.
appreciating your not so random thoughts.
thought i’d subscribe for a while.
hope you don’t mind.

L_ovebug_x3 said,

July 27, 2005 @ 11:12 am

Hey, I saw you on featured content -&- decided to comment.. Hope that’s okay. =) I tend to lean towards the Buddhist point of view too. Everything basically equals out w/ the highs and lows in the end. In my mind, anyway.

LatinaBabyGirlHeat said,

July 27, 2005 @ 11:47 am

Hey, nice layout well i do think dat things happen 4 a reason buh wateva be  sure 2 check out ma heat….HOLLA…….LaitnaBabyGirl!!!!!!

FyrsteVlad said,

July 27, 2005 @ 3:06 pm

Do things happen for a reason? Yes, all things happen for a reason even shitty things. Shitty things usually happen to me when im being stubborn or pigheaded so its a way of bringing me back to termsAre we all a part of a big pattern on the wheel of time? That makes me think of quilts so no Or is it all just bullshit that humans make up to make life more bearable? Life is really wonderful if you decide to live it. Most humans that are miserable are lazy slobs who wont take care of themselves.i hope i make sense

Hardcore_gamer_n_sex_fan said,

July 27, 2005 @ 3:29 pm

Hey cool Xanga I like it a lot:-) Props for you and have a peachy day!:-D

MoNeYLoVeJaiLSiN said,

July 27, 2005 @ 3:44 pm

…i’m too optimistic for my own good…even if my dog died, my grlfriend left me for the pizza delivery dude, i lost my marbles, and am 4 pennies short from getting a double cheeseburger i still feel that things can always be worse…

nerdonian said,

July 27, 2005 @ 3:49 pm

“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness. And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. “What is the purpose of all this?” he asked politely. “Everything must have a purpose?” asked God. “Certainly,” said man. “Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God. And He went away.”-The Books of Bokonon
Moral of the story: Do we make more out of life than there really is?  By searching for a meaning of life, do we create one?  Then, in our frustration and humbling, meek existence belittle our view on life in reverence of what must exist as a higher meaning already set in stone by some higher power?

delitefulgurl said,

July 27, 2005 @ 3:52 pm

i’m actually reading that book right now… i was suppose to read it in highschool, but i managed to bull my way through every book and get the best papers. i never saw the reason to read any book ever. now all i do is read.
oh, and i’m totally optimistic. too much maybe.

xatlantapunkrocker said,

July 27, 2005 @ 5:25 pm

I think everything happens for a reason.

and_all_falls_down said,

July 27, 2005 @ 6:02 pm

“Do things happen for a reason? Are we all a part of a big pattern on the wheel of time?Or is it all just bullshit that humans make up to make life more bearable?”
I’m a Catholic, and here’s what I think…
I believe that things do happen for a reason, but your life is changed by the choices you make. I don’t believe that everything is decided for you and you don’t have a say in it. We can change the future, if we get off our asses and try.
Life is not bearable by any means. In the past three months I’ve moved twice, my parents divorced, and my boyfriend has dumped me. But I can change how my future is. That’s all I have to say.

streetfutbol10 said,

July 27, 2005 @ 7:19 pm

yourfavoriteashley said,

July 27, 2005 @ 8:02 pm

It’s hard to say that things don’t happen for a reason…Regardless of the choice in an action, there will always be a reaction. So, in a way we chose our ‘fate’, but not as directly as we may be able to visualize. But outside of that, I see nothing relavent other than the fact that people like to comfort themselves.
Balance agrees with me best, because in balance you need opposing sides to hold something together. There is no “negative” or “positive” space… just one extreme to counter another.
In a like way, I see myself sometimes as an optomist, and sometimes as a pessimist. :-)

kyasha said,

July 28, 2005 @ 7:46 am

it makes me feel more secure knowing (or hoping) that things happen for a reason. that there is some plan or design to it all. i’m not affiliated with any religion, but i think i’m spiritual in a sense.

Jacob said,

June 27, 2007 @ 4:32 am


People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news…

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