Nick Cave Shares His View on Joy: “I choose to be an optimist out of necessity”


Nick Cave shared his views on joy, optimism and the state of the world.

Fans asked the Bad Seeds singer via his blog The Red Hand Files: “What is joy? Where is it located? Where is love in this world that is such an evil mess?” together with the question: “Are you an optimist?”

Answering the question yesterday (January 23), the musician began his answer like this: “If we are not engaged in the work of projecting delight on the world, what are we really doing?

“If we are not looking for joy, but are looking for it, deeply drawn to it, what are we saying about peace? Are we saying that ill—will is the routine of life, that oppression, depravity and humiliation are the essence of the world itself?

“What do we meet every day with suspicion, bitterness and contempt? It seems to me that to make suffering the center of our attention, to testify only about the malice of the world, is to serve the devil himself.”

The alternative rock icon then addressed if the world is “heading for disaster” by sharing: “I suppose so.”

He clarified: “We are constantly and mercilessly told about this. Do I hope for his future? Well, yes, I am.”

Cave continued that he prefers to be an optimist “out of a kind of necessity,” adding, “In my experience, pessimism is a destructive and destructive position that casts a shadow over all things, causing a kind of social disease, a polluter that ultimately reinforces and glorifies the problems he supposedly hates.”

The singer further explained that for him, the pursuit of joy has become “a vocation and practice.”

“It is carried out with a full understanding of the conditions of this sanctified and tormented world.

“I pursue it with the realization that joy exists both in the worst of the world and in the best, and that joy, the fickle, nervous, amazing thing that it is, often finds its true voice in its opposite.

“Joy sings small, bright songs in the dark — these moments that are so easily overlooked, so quickly discarded, are shining points of light that pierce the darkness to affirm the world. This is how light penetrates, Leonard Cohen tells us, while at the same time throwing away his genius and joy forever among the cosmos.”

In conclusion, he assured fan Maya that “joy exists as a bright, persistent spasm of disobedience in the darkness of the world,” urging them to “look for it. It’s there.”

Cave has talked a lot about his experience of grief, having lost his 15-year-old son Arthur after he tragically fell off a cliff in 2015, and his son Jethro Lazenby, 31, last year.

Last year, Cave revealed that live performances were part of his grieving process, sharing that “the care of the public saved me.”

In another recent issue of The Red Hand Files, Cave described ChatGPT and AI songwriting as “a grotesque mockery of what it means to be human.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here