Source: The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life's Biggest Questions (2017). p. 215 Middle. Note for Ch. 1, para. 1.
- Or when it [referent beneath] will occur. Stanislaw Lec famously said: “Optimists and pessimists differ only on the date of the end of the world.” Stanislaw Lec, it should be noted, was remarkably successful in delaying his own demise. Sentenced to death for a second attempt to escape a German work camp during the Holocaust, he was taken to dig his own grave. He used the shovel to kill his guard and successfully escaped.
The 'it' refers to p. 4:
To gain some clarity, one helpful distinction is between different domains within which optimists and pessimists might disagree. One such domain is the realm of the facts. An optimist might believe that some terrible fate will not befall him, whereas a pessimist might believe that he will fall victim to that fate. They both agree that the fate is terrible, but they have differing views about whether it will occur.1
Am I correct that the emboldened quote's an allegory? What's its hidden meaning?
The literal meaning is false, as optimists and pessimists can differ on love, justice, value of life.