Spreading Critical Optimism


One of the tenets that came out of the GJP (Good Judgement Project) when funded by IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity) was this idea of being a critical optimist.  The best forecasters – the so-called “super-forecasters” – were always open, modest if not down-right humble, mostly cheerful people.  Yet extremely critical; the best critics actually, because they appeared to hold all points of view to a question in their mind at the same time.  Something that only very critical folks could ever do.

I came close, but others could hold to this methodology for significant periods, over years. For a very brief period, I was a super-forecaster, then a “meterologist” for most of my time in GJP (only folks in the GJP may know the significance of that title).

Now, more than ever, we need The People to be in their best forecaster-mode, in their masses.  Because the wisdom of the crowd is based on “The Crowd,” not on a few highly developed “experts”. No matter their pedigree or former training.

We must all be CRITICAL.  Very critical.  Of ourselves first, then of all the opinion-makers around us.  Very critical of our political leaders.  Very critical of the media.  Do not be afraid to criticize. Never. But criticize from knowledge and understanding.  Even from the point of view of love. Critical love, let’s call it.

My first lesson in Critical Love came from an 18 year-old German, named Ms. Luisa N. Neubauer.  She is located in #FridayForFuture Germany.  A typical EU student, who was lied to in school and by adults on the threat posed by global warming.  She woke up.  She read, and listened and learned the truth on her own.  Yet carried her values with her. When she demonstrated for the Greens, she was confronted by hate groups and opposing ideas.  To overcome them, she had to learn about them. Her knowledge and love grew. Because, when you learn about your “enemies”, you see why they are the way they are, and you…”pity” is not the right word…you feel compassion for them.  That was her value-set at work.

The high point in this one aspect of her personality came when she confronted Nazis, police, and “Big Coal.”  Children were at that time protesting in the dark morning at schools, asking parents not to drive their kids to school in belching cars.  Some parents did not like that message and tried to run the children over.   She turned and said to herself and her followers, “Remember Love.”

And that guided them.  She expressed a deep and profound critical love of humanity.  Of the Earth, in fact.

I am not trying to tell folks you must “love unconditionally,” whatever that means.  I am no preacher of religion.  I am saying the time for each of us to be a Critical Optimist is upon us.

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Luisa at a demonstration calling on politicians to overcome the climate disaster.



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