A Better Understnading of a Cynical Perspective
“If anything can go wrong, it will.” This is a saying that would likely come from me as a motivating phrase, while others would label it as cynical. By definition, a cynic is a person who believes that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest, leading them to have/show a distrust of human nature and motives. Traditionally, it is thought that the cynic takes a negative attitude towards action; remembering everything that has gone wrong, every bad thing that has happened before in their lives and in the world, and they expect the same in their future (The International Workplace, Cynicism..). More modernly a cynic is thought to be selfish, untrusting, disconnected, unsatisfied, and likely to be mistaken for a pessimist. For most people the word cynical and pessimistic are synonyms for one another; both reflecting a negative and generally unhappy outlook on life, however, they are two completely different points of view. Cynicism is not usually considered diffuse, but rather striking; not universal but individual (Caldwell, 137). The character trait of cynicism has been given such a negative connotation that it is naively thought to be only a vice (though if personally asked, I’d claim it as a virtue) across the board with no benefits to be gained from possessing the trait itself. As a cynical person I don’t believe everything is all sunshine and rainbows 24/7, however, I also don’t believe “the world is going to end” every time something doesn’t go according to plan — though I do know that it just might.
So where does the darker perspective, critical ideology, and skepticism take the cynic as they embark on future endeavors? Well, wherever it is that they choose to go. A cynical perspective does not limit us nor will it ever. Each day the cynic breaks down the barriers and disproves the stigmas placed upon us by a society that has chosen to turn their backs on us due to lack of understanding. They say “you are what you believe”; We believe that we can’t make things better unless we see quite how bad they are, we can’t do our best unless we guard against our worst, and it’s only by being distrustful that we can distinguish between the trustworthy and the unreliable. Sound cynical to you? Well so be it! “Yes, horrible things do happen. Happiness in the face of all of that… that’s not the goal. Feeling the horrible and knowing that you’re not gonna die from those feelings, that’s the goal”.