Skeptic or Cynic?
I’ve been fighting with cynicism more and more lately. The formal definition is the belief that people are motivated by pure by self-interest or a predetermined belief that all outcomes will be bad. I see it as an inclination to dismiss any new information before even giving it a thought. I figure it comes from a deep-rooted distrust in people and things. And although it sounds miserable I often find that it is too easily justified in the 21st century, at least for me.
I would love to float like a butterfly and go about my days with an idealist grin, smelling opportunity around every corner, and too many days I force myself to do just that. Banishing the negative thoughts, ignoring the miles of traffic and skipping over videos of polar bears drifting on ever-smaller ice burgs. It’s called looking at the bright side and its what has kept me sane and numb for last two years.
My question is: Would you look to the sunset across the fields if your little house on the prairie is burning behind you? It would be hysterical if that answer was yes, more so because it would be fucking crazy and not so much because its funny. And this is exactly my problem with this “bright side” attitude toward life, its delusional and misses the point.
Some times we need to look at the bright side — I get it! But it can’t be a way of life. Too many times it becomes a trap and does the exactly the opposite of what it claims to do. (It disengages rather than engage)
We’ve all heard the story of the Wall Street cat who wastes three years of his life to finally quit after there is no more soul left. This is the ultimate example of looking at the fields when there is a fire brewing behind you, but it can apply to so many other career choices and life decisions. I suspect that Mr. Wall Street justified the long hours, threw away any moral compass and just focused on the money. It doesn’t work home-slice!
The point is there are real problems in this world and we shouldn’t be ashamed for noticing them. More so, living in illusion to these issues for the sake of engagement is insanity. Be a skeptic not a cynic and see things as they are fully, not only their bright side.