***What you call pessimism I see more as a rearranging of priorities. All (or at least, well-balanced) humans have a need to extract happiness, satisfaction, and balance from their life. What varies is the source. Theists in general throw their hope in with promise of a life without the miseries of this one, atheists can't bring themselves to mask their doubts under a label of "faith" and instead draw all the happiness out of this existence as possible. And, Harv, there is nothing artificial about it. I am, for the most part, a *very* happy person. It's not desperate happiness or a self told lie, it's genuine.***
I'm not saying you are not happy, nor any atheist for that matter. It is possible to have very pessimistic views and still be 'happy'. However, it is still a very pessimistic outlook and should be avoided if one reasonably do so. Humans are very resilient to accept the most negative outlook and somehow live on with the acceptance of that view. Yet, if that can be avoided with optimism, by all means we should do so.
As far as rearranging priorities, this is what pessimism is. It is rearranging priorities from hope to a dismal outlook.
***In any case, I stand by my previous statement that a view's prettiness shouldn't be cause enough to desperately grab for it (and I consider those who do to be subconscious cynics.) There is something infinitely liberating in freeing oneself from belief and devoting spiritual thoughts to the realm of speculation instead.***
It is not liberating to believe that when you and love ones perish that's all folks. If you find that kind of thought liberating, then too bad. There's just too many apparently random unfortunate events that take place, and life is too valuable, to think that the relationships you've had or currently have or will have are gone in an instant. Tell the people who lost loved ones due to some psychopathic sniper that their loved ones are gone and they will never see them again. Go tell those who have lost their children, their spouses, their parents, their health, etc that their being gone and never to live again is liberating.
Mario, what you are saying is pessimism perhaps more so than nuclear war. At least all out nuclear war everyone leaves at the same time and maybe going out together isn't so bad, but living a life without the relationships that were there that meant so much is not liberating one little bit.
I can accept any reality, pessimistic or optimistic, it doesn't matter. What I will not accept is a very dismal outlook if I see reasonable hope not to. And, I think everyone is advised to hold similar values. General pessimism is generally destructive and we are advised to avoid it whenever and however possible.
As it turns out, atheism is faulty on an intellectual level in that it asks for belief in such unlikely random origins that it shouldn't be taken seriously. So, that only leaves the question even more pronounced, why do a certain minority of people choose such a dismal perspective if such a random belief is unreasonable? This might be related to a certain human need for independence that atheism can provide. That is, some humans might have seen some kind of abuse with regard to the optimistic beliefs of theism, and they are reacting against those beliefs. This is only one possibility. What I don't think is the case is that atheists have ruled out all reasonable opportunities to be optimistic. That's too bad as far as I'm concerned.
Warm regards, Harv