Brian Timar


Resources for definite optimism

Mar 6, 2019

What do you mean by ‘definite optimism’?

Creating and maintaining positive and specific visions of the future of humanity. This essay by Dan Wang is a great place to start. As far as I know, the term originates from Peter Thiel’s CS183 class (see here in particular) and the subsequent book, Zero to One, based on it (some notes here).

Why should I care about being definitely optimistic?

And so:

First, we can all try to engage more actively with the material world, not merely the digital or natural world. Go ahead and pick an industrial phenomenon and learn more about it. Learn more about the history of aviation, and what it took to break the sound barrier; gaze at the container ships as they sail into port, and keep in mind that they carry 90 percent of the goods you see around you; read about what we mold plastics to do; meditate on the importance of steel in civilization; figure out what’s driving the decline in the cost of solar energy production, or how we draw electricity from nuclear fission, or what it takes to extract petroleum or natural gas from the ground.




Last update: 2019-11-01