Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will


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Peter Brantley and Dan Chudnov, as reported by Jeremy Frumkin, are concerned about the capacity of libraries to respond in changing times. See here and here for Peter and Jeremy’s posts respectively.
‘conversation’ is one of the big Web 2.0 words and they must have interesting conversations at the California Digital Library, where Peter works. His colleague Roy Tennant has recently been upbeat about the role of libraries in this same changing world.
I am reminded of the Gramsci quote which is the title of this entry and which is explicated in Wikipedia thus:

A number of scholars have suggested that, although optimism and pessimism might seem like opposites, in psychological terms they do not function in this way. Having more of one does not mean you have less of the other. The factors that reduce one do not necessarily increase the other. On many occasions in life we need both in equal supply. Antonio Gramsci famously called for “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will”: the one the spur to action, the other the resilience to believe that such action will result in meaningful change even in the face of adversity. [Optimism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

Note: check out Jeremy’s post on this topic, which has a link to Dan.


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