¿Hemos nacido para ser optimistas en lugar de realistas?

Estos días no pude evitar repasar una de las propuestas más interesantes que he estudiado: el hecho de que muy probablemente poseemos un instintivo sesgo cognitivo hacia el optimismo. Y que ese sesgo nos impide ver el mundo de manera realista tal y como es. Os dejo en este sentido enlace a esta interesante charla TED ("Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic?" )donde la neurocientífica Tali Sharot nos habla precisamente de cómo estamos evolutivamente sesgados bajo este velo de optimismo. También podéis seguir sus ideas en su libro "The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain": www.amazon.com/Optimism-Bias-Irrationally-Positive-Vintage/dp/03074735.

Un fragmento de su libro dice así:

"While the capacity for both awareness and prospection has clear survival advantages, conscious foresight also came at an enormous price—an understanding that somewhere in the future, death awaits us. This knowledge—that old age, sickness, decline of mental power, and oblivion are around the corner—is less than optimistic. It causes a great amount of anguish and fear.

Ajit Varkil, a biologist at the University of California at San Diego, argues that the awareness of mortality on its own would have led evolution to a dead end. The despair would have interfered with daily function, bringing the activities and cognitive functions needed for survival to a stop. Humans possess this awareness, and yet we survive. How?

The only way conscious mental time travel could have been selected for over the course of evolution is if it had emerged at the same time as false beliefs. In other words, an ability to imagine the future had to develop side by side with positive biases. The knowledge of death had to emerge at the same time as its irrational denial. A brain that could consciously voyage through time would be an evolutionary barrier unless it had an optimism bias. It is this coupling—conscious prospection and optimism—that underlies the extraordinary achievements of the human species, from culture and art to medicine and technology. One could not have persisted without the other. Optimism does not exist without at least an elementary ability to consider the future, as optimism is by definition a positive belief about what is yet to come, and without optimism, prospection would be devastating".

¡Qué bien cuadra esta teoría con las palabras del ensayo de Thomas Ligotti: "La conspiración contra la especie humana"!