Defeatism

I am currently reading The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, a Chinese science fiction novel. In the story, the leaders of what is called the space force, are concerned that the greatest threat to their force is defeatism. They study the problem and come up with a list of what defeatist attitudes look like among their troops. I found the list to be quite profound and applicable to real life. I will share it here, but I will change and remove some elements so that you can fill in the blanks for your own life….*

  1. Treating one’s duty in _________________ as an ordinary job: despite working with dedication and responsibility, lacking enthusiasm and a sense of mission, and doubting the ultimate significance of one’s work.
  2. Passive waiting: believing that the outcome of __________________ depends on [certain special people]; believing that prior to breakthroughs [in advancing your field of work], _________________ is just a pipe dream, and subsequent confusion about the importance of [your] present work; being satisfied simply with completing tasks related to establishing ________________; lacking innovation.
  3. Harboring unrealistic fantasies: … On the surface, this is a positive state of mind, a desire to throw oneself onto the front lines [of what is perceived to be a losing battle], but it is essentially just another form of defeatism. Lacking confidence in victory and doubting the significance of [the] present work, [your] dignity becomes the only pillar sustaining work and life.
  4. The opposite of the above: doubts about [your dignity in your work] … and that fighting to the end has no meaning; the belief that [your] dignity [in your work] only exists when there is someone to see it, and [if your work] ends in defeat [or failure] … your dignity loses its significance.

* Taken from: Cixin Liu, 2008, The Dark Forest, New York, TOR, pg. 78