It seems to me that resignation in the religious sense IS a kind of optimism in a keep calm and carry on sort of way.
The book I was reading just before this -- the one that led me to reread "Slaughterhouse Five" was "How Children Succeed". In that book they talk a lot about another book -- "Learned Optimism" -- and how educators are using some of the lessons in that book to overthrow the "cognitive hypothesis".
According to this view, optimism is something you can (and should) learn and that you can practice it.
Do successful religions seek to express a kind of optimism?
I think that's a given -- at least to the religions adherents.
i'm not trying to be a dick, but i'm getting confused by the complicated relationship between religion and optimism in this and your previous statements. Is optimism it's own religion, or is it an ur-religion that contributes to all?
i get how optimistic reflexes and view-points could be developed, and thus how "practice", or "teaching/learning", could be involved. Those habits can definitely be the subject of instruction and enforced in supervised practice.
Re: the "So it goes" theme, i agree, it's content is ambivalent, per the wonderful author's intent, so i don't want to argue about which one of us is right or wrong. But when I mentioned "resignation" i wasn't referencing that sort of "soldier on" mentality that takes as given that we live in the best of all possible worlds. I meant to reference the sort of resignation that surrenders to fatalism. Just as "So it goes" might imply: "and so we go on in the spirit of progress"; it might also imply: "history marches on, so keep up, if you want to survive." I do not regard the latter as optimistic. As a Tralfamadorian might say, "when eternity is a given, history is inevitable."