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  • Wojciech Salski

Reasonably Optimistic

Updated: Apr 28

Blaise Pascal stated that if one was to count the arguments for and against faith, the positive attitude towards the ‘other world’ would make more sense to the follower.

He argued that for the brevity of life, as we know it, lived well (within personal faith-terms) one can gain much more in the later life, if it is there, whereas assuming lack of faith can only influence the quality of life here and now.


The boy was walking down the street during his morning stroll, letting the sun caress his skin and provide so much-needed vitamins. It was the middle of the week, and as he developed a slightly more organized morning routine, he was able to get out for a moment, before sitting down to his work laptop for another long day of screen time. He didn’t miss the screen much. That’s for sure.

*

Over the past months of working from home, he adopted the new attitude and was getting better at scheduling his life without letting the overwhelm of isolation take its toll. It’s been long enough he thought, about time I’ll give my wellbeing a priority… Thinking of the things that needed to be done on this beautiful, sunny Wednesday, the boy approached the forest. He stopped on the edge, took a deep breath in, and smelled the great mirage of scents this asylum of nature had to offer. He considered the beauty of the upcoming spring as well as the abundance, which the world had to offer to those, who were able to take notice.

Nature is awesome he exhaled.

*

He entered the forest experiencing the silence of the path. He heard that spending time in nature helps people’s wellbeing, especially in terms of tackling stress, and he was more than happy to advertise such a conclusion. He felt it himself. The thought of Pascal’s Wager about God came to him, as he passed one of the fallen trees, whose roots hovered above the surface in a state of suspension. Suspended in space and time the boy thought smiling. He approached the tree, took a big step over the muddy wound of the forest’s flooring, and climbed the trunk, sitting down above the hovering roots. Gazing at the knots of twigs, roots that reminded him of some dried-out veins or worn-out laces, he thought of the wager, which suddenly came to his mind that morning. He remembered his teacher, back in secondary school, explaining Pascal’s idea and approach, and thinking whether he was to agree with the thesis decided to put the subject in a wider context.

*

Does it pay off to have faith in one’s abilities and actions or not he stated pointing the question out for debate to the majestic branches of the once upright tree. Does it make sense to be an optimist he posed his doubt. Looking around, he waited for some answer, either from his mind, or externally sourced one. The calm and quiet atmosphere of the forest was far from debating his intellectual troubles. The boy stood upon the trunk, threw his hands to the sides, and taking a few steps towards the rooted edge took a deep breath. The little breeze tickled his cheeks and the back of his neck, his messy, after-sleep hair danced with it joyfully. He waited a moment and then raised his voice to shout Echo…! The forest offered a few barely hearable answers, each coming from a different direction and distance before the place got quiet and sleepy once more. Only the branches, trunks, and leaves creaked and shuffled side to side lazily.

*

Walking back home, the boy reflected on Pascal’s wager, as well as the ‘optimistic’ discourse. Surely, it pays to believe in something he thought, at least that’s what ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Victor Frankl concludes… He scratched his chin. Whether it pays to believe in God he murmured, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business but the believer to decide on that… But certainly, he felt his heart light up excited, it pays to be reasonably optimistic about the things we do and believe we can!

Otherwise, why would we even get up in the morning…


Also check out my other story:

https://www.wsalski.com/post/wardrobe-of-ideas


*art by Katarzyna Druszcz

#prose #creativewriting #pascalwager #reasonablyoptimistic #lifephilosophy

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