Jupiter Opposes Saturn: Optimism Vs. Pessimism
When last we saw Jupiter and Saturn, they were trying to reconcile their differences with the help of a Human Being who had climbed up onto Mount Olympus to talk to them. Today they’re having an argument about whether optimism or pessimism is the right approach to life. We catch them taking a break in the argument.
Jupiter: Hey Saturn, last time we argued, we got a Human Being to help mediate. How about we try that again?
Saturn: That’s the first thing you’ve said that I’ve agreed with!
He scans the Earth, then points.
Saturn: Look, there’s one now. She’s just graduating from university and has a lot of important years ahead of her. She needs to hear from me.
Jupiter: And me!
The two of them turn into clouds of smoke and whirl down to Earth, where the Graduate is backstage, just about to give a valedictory speech. When they appear before her, she nearly falls over in surprise.
Graduate: Woah! Hey, you’re not. . .
Jupiter: We absolutely are!
Saturn: Bona fide deities, at your service.
Jupiter: We just want to help, but we get kind of tangled up sometimes. . .
Saturn: Because we disagree so much. It’s his fault.
Jupiter: No way! I’m always ready to agree! It’s just that you’re such a pessimist.
Saturn: I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist. There’s a difference.
Jupiter: A wet blanket is more like it. You always see the downside of things.
Saturn: That’s because I’m a problem-solver. I spot what’s not working and fix it.
Jupiter: Think positive!
Saturn: Stay in touch with reality! And look before you leap!
Jupiter: He who hesitates is lost!
Saturn: Be the diligent ant, not the frivolous grasshopper!
Jupiter: All work and no play make Jack a dull boy!
Saturn: Early to bed and early to rise make a man healthy, wealthy and wise!
Jupiter: Like Ben and Jerry said, ‘If it’s not fun, why do it?’
By now, both of them are shouting at each other across the Graduate.
Graduate: I’m so confused!
They are starting to poke at each other, so she pushes them apart.
Graduate: All right. You came here for mediation, so here goes. Now Jupiter, you have hope, right?
Jupiter: Yes, of course.
Graduate: And Saturn, you have long-term goals, correct?
Saturn: Well, who doesn’t?
Jupiter: Everyone other than you, that’s who!
Graduate: Shut up, Jupiter. I’m thinking. And what I’m thinking is that you two actually have a lot in common. You both like to think about what might be and move towards it. You just do that in different ways.
Saturn: Very different.
Graduate: You, Saturn, see the goal, notice the gap between here and there and then critique yourself towards the place you want to be.
Saturn: Nothing wrong with that.
Jupiter: Says you!
Graduate: And you, Jupiter, you are always filled with positive expectation, very focused on places other than the here and now, right?
Graduate: And your approach is to be adventuresome, exploratory and expansive, right?
Jupiter: Of course. Why would I want to be different?
Saturn: So I can believe your promises, idiot!
Graduate: Chill! I’d like a clear statement of purpose from both of you. Saturn first.
Saturn: If you undersell yourself, you will always be able to over-deliver. This makes people take you seriously. It garners you respect, status and power. My way makes the world a better place—through hard work, self-discipline and integrity.
Jupiter: But if you don’t toot your own horn, how will people see what you have to offer? Aren’t you sick of being surpassed by people who aren’t better than you, but just have more self-confidence? You’ve got to believe in yourself before anyone else can believe in you. My way makes the world a better place by rewarding you for what you’ve done right instead of punishing you for what you’ve done wrong.
Jupiter and Saturn glare at each other.
Graduate: Ah, I see where this is going.
Jupiter: Life is a wide-open landscape in front of you. The possibilities are endless.
Saturn: So you’d better figure out what you want to do and get started fast because time’s a-wastin’ and the way to success is to get on track and stay there till you arrive.
A giant light bulb appears over the Graduate’s head, glowing brightly.
Graduate: Now I get it! Having both of you here is giving me much better advice about my future than either of you could give me alone. Without you, Saturn, I’d have no purpose, no goals to strive for and I certainly wouldn’t have the strength of character and integrity to follow through on those goals. But without you, Jupiter, I’d have no hope, no reason to get out of bed in the morning and I’d forget why I do it all. Life would have no meaning. So I’m afraid you’re going to have to get along with each other, because I can’t choose between you. I need you both.
Graduate gathers both deities together for an uncomfortable group hug. She gives each a giant kiss on the cheek. Jupiter puffs with pride, Saturn contracts bashfully.
Graduate: God, suddenly I feel like I’m in a buddy movie. Now go on, you two—other people need you too!
She gives them a push. They grin and go up in individual puffs of smoke. The Graduate smiles to herself, then turns and walks onstage to give her commencement speech.
Previous post in this thread:
Jupiter Opposes Saturn: Expansion vs. Contraction
Jupiter and Saturn make their final connection in March of 2011.