REPORT: Ignoring suffering of others linked to optimism - The Beaverton

REPORT: Ignoring suffering of others linked to optimism

CALGARY, AB – A recent study out of the University of Alberta has come to the startling conclusion that ignoring the suffering of others is linked to having an optimistic view of life.

When the study commenced, lead researcher and PhD candidate, Dawn Jenkins, was positive that optimism would be linked to having a growth mindset and having a supportive upbringing. However, as the study continued, she found that the real keys were not paying attention to the news, avoiding low income areas and social media, and blind belief that ‘it’s not that bad.’

“The only link that we have proven is that these people lack empathy and have no concept of what is happening in the world around them, and have almost no social media presence,” explained Jenkins. “Take a historically happy person, Noah from the Bible. He left all his friends and family to die in flood and just enjoyed his life on his gigayacht that included a zoo!”

Study participant and all-round happy guy, Trevor Welsh, was surprised more people aren’t optimistic these days. “I don’t know what people have to be down about. I own house, have a healthy family, and find ways to live off our combined monthly income of $197,000,” said Welsh cheerfully. “I have no idea why anyone ever bothers with the news. I get everything I need to know by following the markets and the subreddit R/awww.”

Charity organizations aren’t surprised by the findings as they struggle to increase donations from happy people who have no clue as to why they should help. “It’s a catch-22 for us. The pessimistic people don’t want to donate because they believe that nothing will help the situation whereas the optimistic people have no idea the problem is happening that it will just work itself out for the best,” expressed Red Cross Canada executive director, Conrad Sauvé. 

Jenkins has begun her next research project to find a link between the climate crisis and toxic positivity.