底下是这次的演讲稿。题目是：“在我看来，乐观主义是 ……” 在这个演讲中，他阐述了乐观的对立面悲观的当代社会根源和特性；乐观是什么，乐观的实质和意义；乐观和未来，乐观和冒险，乐观和成功等等。儿子并运用美国的历史和现状来论证乐观的力量。
For me, optimism is...
British author and philosopher Oscar Wilde once said that “the basis of optimism is sheer terror.” The implications of this quote only seems to epitomize the lack of optimism in society. More and more, the understanding of optimism seems to be drifting away from its original meaning of a positive outlook on life. And in a world of constant warfare, fiscal turmoil, and social decadence, it comes to no surprise why the common citizen has a cloud of doubt as to why he should be optimistic about the future. So, in light of these recent events, let’s first, discover the true meaning behind optimism. Second, to look at why optimism has faded from our every day minds, and last, to see how we can solve this social problem.
Initially, let’s first turn our attention to what optimism really stands for. The word optimism, as defined by dictionary.com, simply means a disposition that expects the positive outcomes of things. However, there are various themes presented in optimism that doesn’t seem to be fully grasped.
America would not be America today had it not been for the optimistic viewpoints of nearly all of its constituents. From its birth, had people like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson not been optimistic on their chances to defeat the imperial British, we would not have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Without the ideal of an American dream in the minds of millions of immigrants, America would not grow to be the cultural diverse society it is today. Simply put, optimism is a driving force toward success, because those who are optimistic believe in their ability to achieve their goals. By being optimistic, America and its populace still stand as a symbol for freedom and a positive future. Therefore, optimism isn’t just a positive outlook on life. It’s an approach to a future, one that has led many down the road to success.
So if optimism is good, why the shift in paradigm? Why have so many people in society changed their views on optimism. Because as it seems, optimism is not as common as we would like in modern day culture. It seems that the myriad of problems that have surfaced in political, economical, and even social aspects have all brewed a huge need for pessimism. For example, in politics, Americans have been increasingly suspicious and doubtful of their government to solve every day problems. And in all honesty, it’s not a surprise, considering how the last Administration left two unfinished wars and a nasty reputation. In economic issues, the confidence of American consumers has fallen because of the average citizen’s discontent with the policies that have been enacted to solve our economic woes. And in social issues, events such as school shootings, heightened violence, and drug use is only causing more pessimism. It seems that with every wrong that happens, it gives more incentives for people to lose hope. And that, is the root of our lack of optimism.
Therefore, it becomes imperative that we solve this issue of a dearth in optimism in society. Now the first step in solving problem, is understanding our pessimism. Because if we look at the pessimistic viewpoints that people have on society, most of their pessimistic roots lie on one centralized theme, fear. And in order for optimism to arise, fear cannot play heavy role. The reason is because optimism requires people to take risks because they know something good will come out of it. If there is an uprising in fear in society, than that will decrease optimism. What everyone needs to understand, is that failure, is the first step toward success. Nothing in society would ever get done if people did not step up to take those risks.
Now I’m not saying we can’t have fear, because it’s not possible to eliminate it. It’s unreasonable to say that figures such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King were never scared of the consequences . But it’s overcoming that fear and believing in the positive results, that will kept these optimists through the hard times. It’s only when we take the risk of failing, do we ever gain the hope of succeeding. Because one cannot succeed without failing. But one can fail without succeeding.
In retrospect, as we return to the topic of optimism, we have seen it in a three part analysis. First, to understand a deeper side in optimism. Second, to see why it has faded from society. And last, how we can regain our optimism for the future. And so, as everyone continues to doubt the future that has in store for us, former president and four star general, Dwight D. Eisenhower tells us that “Pessimism never won any battle.”
我家的保姆和装修工 (中篇小说 二十一)