Optimism is the parent of despair, while pessimism allows the mind to accustom itself to the inevitable disappointments of human existence by degrees, just as some drugs induce a state of tolerance. Pessimists, moreover, have the better sense of humour, for they have a livelier apprehension of pretension and absurdity. In a meritocracy, furthermore, those who fail must either indulge in elaborate mental contortions to disguise reality from themselves or sink into a deep melancholy.
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