Cynicism

March 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm (Uncategorized)

“I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” —Carl Sandburg

 

The thing about cynicism is that it’s really easy. Cynicism requires that you consistently look for the worst of all possible worlds; that you are never surprised or have wonder because even the joys in life are filled with potential for something to go wrong soon. It’s a worldview that is convenient to hold because idealism sets you up for constant failure–the world will often let you down, or slap you in the face, or confirm that nightmares can come true as easily as dreams. You’re not wearing the armor the cynic uses to protect from a world that is not yet the world you see in your mind.

The thing about idealism, though, is that it allows you to experience the joys in life fully, embracing them and seeing them as springboards for even greater things yet to be realized. Idealists often turn into cynics, because after a person gets hurt enough they feel like they have no choice but to put on the armor. I can understand the impulse. I feel, however, that thinking that way is shortsighted.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t be prepared. Idealism requires an understanding that while things are generally on an upward track in this existence, the arc of life is a long one and sometimes you cannot see the bend (or that it even appears to be heading downward!). I don’t know if there is a magical ratio of realism/pragmatism that has to be added into everyday affairs, but I do know that a positive attitude can put unfavorable situations in perspective.

In essence: stop searching for what you dislike about things and start looking for what you enjoy. We’re all just riding on a spinning little blue ball through space, and none of us get to be here long enough to spend our days being unhappy. I mean obviously I can’t force people to act one way or another, but our thoughts influence our emotions which influence our actions which in turn influences the world around us. So to some extent you get to control what happens to you, at least the little things within your grasp. Many small things=life.

In addition to that, think about how many assholes there are out there. Think about why they’re like that. Some of them are just naturally that way, but I would wager the the vast majority are lashing out because life has beat up on them. Why not ease the burden on one another? Kindness can cure the world, it just takes all of us. Which is a tall order, but not, I don’t think, an impossible one. We just have to start treating people like people. Fairly simple.

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