Dark optimism – an idea with potential beyond its remit

A thought-provoking newspaper article on how we react to climate change. The sub-head misses what was the point of the article for me – that there can be a way past feeling helpless into action. In the last paragraph, Ann Karpf refers to the idea of dark optimism  —

 a way of seeing life which is not afraid of seeking the truth – even when that truth is unpalatable or feels overwhelming. By exploring the unknown we can see it for what it is, rather than what we might fear it to be. Where there is darkness present we face it with an indomitable belief in the potential of humankind.  (Shaun Chamberlin)

Now this is a blog about empathy and not about climate change, but these ideas feel so very relevant. When investigating the violence that people inflict on each other, and themselves, it is easy to have similar feelings of despair and helplessness — violence keeps happening; the power dynamics generated by politics or money seem to encourage conflict and ignore the human consequences; individuals are powerless to make a difference…  Karpf reminds us that there’s another way to respond, by facing the shadow and thereby opening up “a plethora of creative solutions”.

One Response to “Dark optimism – an idea with potential beyond its remit”
  1. Just stumbled across this. Interestingly I see my own work as being more about empathy than about climate change too.

    Best wishes with your work in a fertile and essential area.

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