It's a funny thing, these brains of ours. Sometimes they force us to look through negative, downtrodden eyes; other times they give us the option to see the world in a more positive light.
I thought of this today as I was standing outside my mother's Manhattan apartment building, talking to an elderly woman who was waiting for a bus. We began discussing the U.N. General Assembly, which is meeting here in town.
"Things seem to be getting so much worse," she said. "The crops we eat are all full of pesticides. Our water is unsafe to drink. I just don't know about the future."
Her comments made me think for a second. Was she right? Is the world a huge mess? Is it getting worse? "I don't know," I replied. "My kids wake up in the morning believing the world is pretty good -- and thinking they can make it better. So, how can I be pessimistic when I see that?"
Then I pointed across the street at a construction site. "They're building a Whole Foods over there," I said. "Five years ago, our food was full of pesticides and we didn't know it and couldn't do anything about it. Now, we can choose to eat organic food with no pesticides. At least we have more control."
The BM-1 bus pulled up at that moment. "Nice talking to you," she said. Then she paused and added, "You made me feel better. Thank you."
I guess it's all how you look at the world. I remain an optimist -- and I hope my fellow optimists and I can keep spreading the gospel. Want to join me?