the absurd observers

Friday, April 15, 2005

Frown now, go crazy later.


According to a recent study pessimism and anxiety are signs of dementia later in life:
A study of a group of 3,500 people showed that those who scored high for
pessimism on a standardized personality test had a 30 percent increased risk of
developing dementia 30 to 40 years later.

I have two points:

(1) While there are certainly countless lessons to glean from this information, I am going to focus on an extremely narrow piece of the analysis, stretch logical principles, and then make an outrageous claim - all in this long, grammatically-challenged sentence: the trick to avoid dementia is to always be pessimistic.

Sure maybe this study just shows a correlation between pessimism and dementia, without any real conclusions. Perhaps pessimism is a symptom of early dementia. Maybe pessimism makes people demented. Maybe pessimists are simply more likely to be demented for some other reason. Their point is: who knows? And my point is: who cares?

The study says: if you are pessimistic, then you are more likely to develop dementia in 30-40 years. So, I figure, as long as I stay pessimistic, dementia is always 30-40 years away.

(2) Ha! I was just messing around with that first point. It is clear from the study that the best way to keep away dementia is to avoid pessimistic thoughts and not read the results of the study. Just messing with you again. For my second point I will not stretch logic and reason, but, instead, completely abandon all rationality.

Here's what I think this data reflects: pessimists go bonkers. They have all sorts of secret predictions about the universe, and they obsess over them. When the world doesn't end or their Soap Opera gets renewed for another 10 years or the cookie does not crumble, the pessimist loses it. Good luck is the sugar in their gas tank. So, therefore, this statistic is really just the number of pessimists whose fears are not realized. In contrast, pessimists that see their fears come to pass are left feeling depressed, pessimistic, and validated. It is clear that if one is a pessimist one ought to make sure that bad things actually do happen, otherwise, one will develop dementia. Now, thanks to this study, people can just have a fear of developing dementia that signals the development of dementia.


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