About risks and optimism
Question from the Internet:
“In modern society, how is being an optimist better than being a pessimist, given that there is substantially less risk today than in hunter-gatherer times?”
I am not sure how you are assessing risks comparing the previous hunter-gatherer times with modern society.
Perhaps we could say that our personal life was very unpredictable and risky in those early times — although in many places in the world today, even in the richest countries, there are areas, regions where one’s personal life is just as risky, unpredictable, hopeless. And I do not even mean wars like the war in Ukraine or in Yemen for example, but I mean “simple everyday life” that is possibly worse for some than it was in those hunter-gatherer times.
And when it comes to global risk, I do not think people in the hunter-gatherer times had to worry about a very real threat of a nuclear war or similar global devastation due to human activity — which devastation could wipe most of humanity off the planet, or the planet can wipe us out as a result of our war with Nature.
This is about risks.
About being optimistic or pessimistic, it depends on based on what are people optimistic or pessimistic. If we just go with our gut feelings, it does not really matter which side we are on, as our feelings are baseless, and whatever we feel is simply a psychological state that can change.