I have discussed the themes of optimism and pessimism a bit in this series. For the next few weeks I would like to expand on each of these archetypes. Today will be an introduction.
We don’t often think of Jupiter as being associated with pessimism but in fact it is so! Really, Jupiter is just a lot of anything. It reflects where consciousness can exacerbate any condition, emotion, belief, perception and make things seem a lot bigger than they are.
Pessimism points to a specific cosmology, one wheirin one’s fears are essentially leading the show and dictating what is and will be. This amounts to a gross exaggeration and negativity.
We’ve all met such people and have been them ourselves at times. They first and foremost have the answers for everything. Secondly, the answers come with a certain grim defeat. Penetrating their certainty will be difficult because they have already decided and are fundamentally resistant to seeing differently. Third, since we are looking at Jupiter here, there’s a sort of evangelical quality to their pessimism. It’s not just a way they feel, it’s their outlook on life and there’s usually an emotional need to convince and convert others to their grim outlook.
What’s the cause of this pessimism? This should not be confused with Saturn pessimism (which is just depressed and dark because life is hard and it sucks and the weight of the world is on my shoulders…).
Pessimism with Jupiter is very closely associated with alienation. In fact, I would suggest that alienation is the root cause of Jupiter type pessimism. Jupiter, which at the core about authenticity and truthfulness, is also where we might at some point come to believe that authenticity and truthfulness is unsafe. That we cannot be our authentic self. That the truth will be misunderstood. That our own nature, who we are simply can’t be integrated in our family, relationship, culture, nation, school, job etc. Such an inner orientation can only breed a psychology of pessimism.
The dark skinned person who was made fun of by all their white class mates. The Ashkenazi Jew who was an outsider among Sephardic Jews, both types of Jews feeling different to their bones from the gentiles. Wherever we look we can trace a cultural history of racial persecution, pogroms, religious zealotry and war. Generations of people have come from cultures where it might have been illegal to practice their religion or they might have been forced into conversion or death.
This sense of alienation breeds a very specific outlook that is conditioned by the alienation. For example an Ashkenazi Jewish outlook is to inwardly hold a certain level of suspicion that they will be attacked, kicked out, exiled. It’s become a genetic inheritance to not feel settled entirely, to not rest because to do so would be dangerous. Thus a back current of alienation and never quite belonging. We can have a completely safe environment, no pogroms, no Jewish ghettos, solid relationships and yet inside there can still be a deep sense of “I don’t belong. I am different. I can’t trust any of this. The rug can be pulled out any moment.”
So at a certain point a soul has to start belieiving that being who they naturally are (thus being hoenst) is unsafe. Thus they don’t belong and thus the pessimism Nevertheless, Jupiter pessimism is big, it can sort of sound like it knows what its talking about, can be convincing.
Optimism is not the opposite of pessimism, as much as we’d like to think it is. Optimism, commonly regarded as “the glass is half full” is something I define as looking at life from the perspective of what works, what’s usable, what’s relevant and applicable to the betterment of one’s life. Pessimism is literally the perception of what isn’t working, what isn’t useful, what isn’t relevant. And thus with pessimism consciousness is focused away from one’s unique path of growth and discovery which simply means the gifts of life are flying by and no one’s there to catch them. Optimism on the other hand is where consciousness gives attention to what is naturally occurring from life itself. It is oriented towards growth, expansion, discovery, all things good.
Of course optimism should not be confused with the sort of spiritual escape of always looking on the bright side. Or “I’m feeling lucky” (and losing your money at the casino, again). Such outlooks are more manifestations of the Jupiter dynamic of over-doing it, not knowing when to stop, always seeing life in terms of growth and opportunism.
Recognizing the opportunities that are available is different than compulsively seeking out positive sounding possibilities. The former has a certain flow and ease to it, we don’t have to go out and seek them so much. We move towards them as they move towards us. The latter is entirely self-invented and we are doing all the moving and thus requires that we uphold our convictions until we will likely inevitably fall apart from exhaustion.
Final note on optimism: the root of that word is “optimal”. Optimal implies even more ideal conditions. This is exactly what Jupiter is about. It doesn’t settle because there’s always something more. Life in it’s infinite brilliance is never just what we know it to be. Our existing comprehension always falls short of the true tao. And so there’s always always always more to understand, more to realize about the nature of reality. And realization is always a good thing, even if it’s difficult.
Next week I will open the door wider to examine pessimism and share some stories and possibly look at some charts too!
Learn more about Ari: www.arimoshe.com