Monday, December 03, 2012

Message #24 - Cynicism Doesn't Help!

It’s easy to be cynical.  Especially as you grow older.  You’ve had more time to see how the world works and doesn’t work.  You observe and you reach your conclusion.  Of course, you think, why would I expect it to be any other way?  It’s always been fucked. 

There’s only one problem with your conclusion, my friend.

Cynicism Doesn’t Help!

Yes, it’s an easy way to get off the hook.  You don’t have to be responsible.  After all, if it is inevitable that he or she or it or the system or something is so screwed up that no one, least of all you, can do anything about it, what’s the point of even trying?  But getting off the hook is the refuge of a coward.

Oh, oh.  Now I’ve gone and done it.  Now I’ve gone too far.  How dare I call you a coward?  I have no right to insult you.  And besides, we don’t even know each other, so how can I be sure I’m right?

Okay.  Good point.  I can’t be 100% sure.  I can only be 99% sure.  99% sure that if you are cynical your cynicism is a smoke screen behind which you can hide.

Cynicism is not an answer.
Cynicism is not a solution.
Cynicism is an avoidance mechanism.
Cynicism is for the lazy.
Cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You say a situation is hopeless.  And it turns out it is.  You’re right.  End of story.  You are now free to move on to the next hopeless situation.

Is there an antidote to cynicism?  Sure.  It’s staring you right in the face.  Take a look at how a child sees the world.  Too much innocence?  Maybe.  You can make that argument.  But you make it from where you’re standing.  You’re not looking through the eyes of that child.  The child has not been taught that everything is fucked, so she sees possibilities that you are blind to.  And is happier for it.  You’ve surrendered a world of possibility on the altar of tough-minded realism.

And what’s it gotten you?  Has it made you more alive?  More enthusiastic about getting out of bed in the morning?  More satisfied at work?  Happier at home?  A better citizen?

Don’t pit idealism against realism.  They are not enemies.  On the contrary, I say that idealism is a high state of realism.  And it’s not owned by the young.  Unless you say so.  Shame on you if you cede your birthright to any group, young or old.  It is your right to have ideals.  It is your right to stand up for them.  It is your right to not accept as inevitable the conclusion that everything is fucked.

Now – you aren’t required to fight for your rights.  I am inviting you to do so, but you don’t have to.  And remember:

Cynicism Doesn’t Help!


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