There is Reason for Optimism in 2021


by Michael Corthell

“A time to tear down and a time to build up.”
— King Solomon, Ecclesiastes

Most people began 2020 with all the hope and optimism that marks any new year. Little did any of us know that a deadly pandemic was beginning on the other side of the world that would have a tremendous impact on people's lives.

As we reach the end of this momentous year, millions are feeling that 2020 has been the absolute worst year of their lives. But, history has tells us that all bad things will pass, and that good days will come again.
“Everything has its time. There is a time for everything under heaven.”
Pete Seeger famously rearranged the words for the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!'' (To Everything There Is a Season) In 1965, it was adapted by The Byrds and became an instant hit.

2020: a time to tear down

Many verses in Ecclesiastes seem relevant are a perfect fit for 2020.

It was a time to die. Large numbers of our neighbors died from the coronavirus.

It was a time to kill. A light was shown on the unjust brutality toward Black Americans.

It was a time to avoid embracing. The coronavirus caused us to social distance.

It was a time to lose. With the pandemic-related shutdowns came the loss of jobs and businesses.

Opportunity: Now, a time to build up

The Chinese symbol for crisis, we can see that it represents both a danger and an opportunity.

For example, social distancing by staying home gave some an opportunity for increased closeness with loved ones. But, it also increased the incidence of domestic violence, as well as political conflict.

2021: Hope

Hope in science — Science delivers and it must be celebrated, researchers should be publicly acknowledged because we had a safe vaccine within months and they are the ones who made it possible.

Hope good leadership — Nations whose leaders trusted their scientists and institutions have faired better during the epidemic, with fewer lives lost.

Hope in humanity — An unprecedented wave of giving gives us hope that the future will be brighter than the past. We all now know about global interdependence, a knowledge we should build on and also rely on.

Hope in health care — We have now truly understood the importance of our healthcare systems. Before the crisis there was already a huge burden on healthcare and it sure wasn’t high on the list of priorities by governments. Now it must be.

Let’s all resolve to make 2021 a year when we are all fighting for science, facts, democracy and compassion and repairing all that was lost in 2020. 

After a full year of that, maybe, just, maybe 2022 will be a truly great year for America and the world.


This film short, The Wisdom of Pessimism, is my way of presenting some outside of the box thinking when it comes to hoping for a better future. For more informative film shorts visit: The School of Life