Pessimists also tend to focus on the negatives of life in general or a given situation. The most common example of this phenomenon is the Is the glass half empty or half full, in this situation a pessimist is said to see the glass as half empty while an optimist is said to see the glass as half full. Throughout history, the pessimistic disposition has had effects on all areas of thinking. Philosophical pessimism is the idea that views the world in a strictly anti-optimistic fashion. This form of pessimism is not a disposition as the term commonly connotes. Instead, it is a philosophy or worldview that directly challenges the notion of progress, philosophical pessimists are often existential nihilists believing that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. Their responses to this condition, however, are widely varied, the term pessimism derives from the Latin word pessimus meaning the worst. It was first used by Jesuit critics of Voltaires 1759 novel Candide, Voltaire was satirizing the philosophy of Leibniz who maintained that this was the best of all possible worlds. In their attacks on Voltaire, the Jesuits of the Revue de Trévoux accused him of pessimisme, philosophical pessimists see the self-consciousness of man as bound up with his consciousness of time and that this leads to greater suffering than mere physical pain. While many organisms live in the present, humans and certain species of animals can contemplate the past and future, the philosophical pessimistic view of the effect of historical progress tends to be more negative than positive. The philosophical pessimist does not deny that certain areas like science can progress, in this sense it could be said that the pessimist views history as ironic, while seemingly getting better, it is mostly in fact not improving at all, or getting worse. This is most clearly seen in Rousseaus critique of enlightenment civil society and his preference for man in the primitive, for Rousseau, our souls have become corrupted to the extent that our sciences and our arts have advanced towards perfection. The pessimistic view of the condition is that it is in a sense absurd. The idea that thought would lead to human flourishing can be traced to Socrates and is at the root of most forms of western optimistic philosophies. Pessimism turns the idea on its head, it faults the human freedom to reason as the feature that misaligned humanity from our world, the responses to this predicament of the human condition by pessimists are varied. Some philosophers, mainly Schopenhauer, recommend a form of resignation, some followers tend to believe that expecting the worst leads to the best. Rene Descartes even believed that life was better if emotional reactions to negative events were removed, Albert Camus indicated that the common responses to the absurdity of life are often, Suicide, a leap of faith, or recognition/rebellion. Camus rejected all but the last option as unacceptable and inauthentic responses, philosophical pessimism has often been tied to the arts and literature
Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality was an attack on the enlightenment idea of social progress which he saw as morally decadent.
Schopenhauer had an influence upon later thinkers and artists such as Freud and Wagner
Camus used the punishment of Sisyphus to represent the human condition.