Is there a difference between "optimism" and "hope"?

Dictiionaries sem to agree that both differ in the following way:

Hope is usually confined to an expectation or wish in some postive outcome of events one believes to be possible ro obtainable.

Optimism is rather confined to to the belief that the world/reality/nature is ordered in a good way (and that thus the turnout of events is assumed to be positive, which makes it seemingly had to distinguish from hope.)

Whereas the latter is a rather ontological position about how the world is built or made of (telos); the former is an personal attitude on some specific outcomes.

Personally I find in these dictionary account missing the somewhat existential connotation of "hope" — that against all odds and irrespective of probability there is a sense of "things might (still) turn out right nonetheless". This connotation, obviously takes ifrom religion, is thus as wide as "optimisim" but with less specifity about the conditions and matters of fact.

@simsa04 This makes sense - and actually, thinking about it, may tie in with how I think about "applying effort". Hope perhaps implies something is possible IF some sense of agency is applied - either from oneself, or from another, or even from something more divine. Whereas optimism is maybe more of an extrapolation of a trend.


They're not mutually exclusive, of course. I think about things in terms of momentum a lot these days: At the start of something, I "hope" I can do enough to give a scheme enough of a push. Once it's going, I get more "optimistic" that it will take on a life of its own. (I still _hope_ it will, but my actions have given the system certain directions of travel.)

· · Web · 1 · 0 · 0

@simsa04 Interesting cross-discussion on Twitter here: but for fedi reference:

I think I can see a way of mapping this to narrative, influence, power and action...

A form of pessimism is often used to inspire action through fear. Optimism is often used as inspiration thru momentum-building. In the middle is occupied by entrepreneurialism and risk-taking.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon @ SDF

"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko