Sunday, July 3, 2011


Generally if I don't know what a word means I'll read it in context and see if I can figure it out from there. I'm not a huge "let's go to the dictionary" person, although that would certainly increase my vocabulary. I can sometimes figure out the latin roots of a word and that will help me understand it, but I'm not likely to spend a ton of time digging. English would be a far easier language if I learned Latin.

But this past week a German word sent me to the dictionary. Weltanschauung appeared in a book I was reading and I marked it with a book dart to research. See even then I don't go to the dictionary right away. I did after I finished the book though. Weltanschauung translates to "world wide view". It is the fundamental way that we view everything that happens in the world. For the last couple days I've been trying to figure out my weltanschauung. I suspect I'm a glass half empty kind of person but I'm not sure I want to see myself that way.

Publicly I tend to be a very optimistic person. I've had people tell me that I'm one of the more positive people they've met. And most of the time I do believe that things will work out for the best. But privately I'm a worrier (I get that from my mother). I waste a significant amount of time worrying about things that most likely will never happen. And in those moments I'm certainly not "the glass is half-full" type.

The author I was reading mentioned that his weltanschauung was that people were essentially good and that each day had a chance to be amazing. I will agree that I believe each day has the possibility to be great. The dawn offers a chance to change my life and change the world. But somewhere deep there is a worry. I appreciate all of the kindness I see around me. I believe that many people are like me, wanting to do good. I believe that there is more human goodness than badness. But there is still a part of me that watches and sees a breakdown of civility. Or a general indifference that nags at me. I can't read the news without testing my faith in human goodness. And when it comes to the animal issues that I'm so passionate about I become a complete pessimist.

Perhaps I'm oversimplifying a very complex weltanschauung. I do believe in human goodness. And most of the time I believe that we are heading in the right direction. I see little random acts of kindness all around me. I see friends who have other's best interests at heart. I believe that it is possible to make a difference (most days, don't catch me on my bad days). And when it comes down to it I don't know if anyone could say that they have a straight forward weltanschauung. We all have little half-empty, half-full sides of ourselves. Or maybe that's just me. And that's okay too.


Salt said...



Cat B said...

You're awesome Salt!