Optimism by Bob Brown; Reflections on a life of action

“Optimism, like pessimism, feeds on itself.”1

Bob Brown is a commonsense radical whose lovely memoir beats off the twin spirits of despondency and despair that whisper, “Why bother?” and “What can you do?” in our ears.

His moving and inspiring anecdotes had me laughing and crying. From aversion therapy (read electric shock treatment) to cure his homosexuality in the 1960’s and rafting down the Franklin River in defiance of the Tasmanian Government’s dam project in the 1970’s, to, more recently, his time as a Senator in the Federal Parliament; the stories he tells remind us of the exhilaration and ultimate satisfaction that comes with taking calculated risks.

But what resonated most strongly with me were these words, “… the intelligent are unsure. They weigh things up. They look beyond the here and now. They worry about legacy and about grandchildren and using finite resources wisely … some simple advice for the heavy thinkers: get over it. Mulling things over while the stupid and greedy ravage the planet is, after all, not very intelligent. Worse, it is a certain road to depression. Get active rather than depressed. It worked for me.”2


Optimism by Bob Brown

1 and 2 pxi, Optimism by Bob Brown, 2014 Hardie Grant Books

About sagesomethymes

Daniela is a writer, theatre producer and civic educator. She has had short stories and poetry published in: 'Prayers of a Secular World', Inkerman & Blunt; 'Blue Crow Magazine', Blue Crow Press; 'Knitting and other stories', Margaret River Press and Radio National’s '360 documentaries'. Her debut play, 'Talc', was produced in 2010. Her short play, 'Sicilian Biscotti', was produced for the launch of “Women Power and Culture” at New Theatre in 2011 and shortlisted for the Lane Cove Literary Award in 2015. Her second full length play, 'Friday', was produced by SITCO at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in 2013. 'The Poor Kitchen' was produced in 2016 as part of the Old 505 Theatre’s Fresh Works Season and was published by the Australian Script Centre in 2017 (https://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1836). It was re-staged by Patina Productions at Limelight on Oxford in 2019. She co-wrote 'Shut Up And Drive' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at KXT in 2016. 'Seed Bomb' was produced at Old 505 Theatre as part of the FreshWorks Season in 2019 and has been published by the Australian Script Centre (https://australianplays.org/script/ASC-2166). She co-wrote 'Softly Surely' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at Flight Path Theatre in 2022. She is the co-founder of indie theatre company subtlenuance (www.subtlenuance.com) Her published short stories can be read via the Short Stories tab on this blog.
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