Mottos and Axioms

In the last several years I’ve been fond of saying, “expect the worst and everything becomes a pleasant surprise.” Today I was watching a German documentary on Frank Zappa which quoted Frank saying:

Don’t expect friends, don’t expect fun, don’t expect the good life, don’t expect anything. And then if you get something it’s a bonus.”

Is that cynical? I don’t generally think of myself as a cynic. Maybe I’m more of a realistic optimist. I believe the world is terrible, has always been terrible, but it’s slowly getting better in tiny, imperceptible increments. There have been fewer wars than ever before, less famine, more peace, slavery is at an all-time low, and for the most part we’ve stopped sacrificing virgins to appease the rain gods. If these things don’t particularly impress you, then you expect way too much from your fellow well-dressed primates. Perhaps you’ve watched too many movies and TV shows or you were mislead by your culture into thinking that everything is completely spiffy.