Some folk use, as a test for whether someone is pessimistic or optimistic, a
question about a glass whose contents are half air and half something more
commonly valued and noticed when it's in a glass: do you consider the glass to
half empty or
half full ? I consider the distinction
trite—and a poor guide to attitude. The idea is that if you're thinking
of the glass as only having half as much of the interesting stuff in it
as it might have, that's pessimistic; whereas the optimist sees that it's got
some of the interesting stuff in it, so that's good. For my part, the choices
of phrasing being considered are equivalent and I really don't see the use of
one or the other should be better construed as indicating the pessimistic or
optimistic attitude. How you interpret my answer to such a test says more about
you than about me.
Furthermore, I have my reservations about the association of
it has nice
stuff in it with optimism and
it's less than full as pessimism. If
the pint glass in front of me has half a pint of cider in it, that almost
certainly means I've just drunk half a pint, so I'm quite happy about it being
less than full, on account of where the difference is.
If someone says they've had a lousy day, do you think that indicates a pessimistic outlook ?Written by Eddy.