Cynicism: More Than Just Pessimistic Idealism.

2006-07-30 00:00

Since I can apparently only write about how the site is not available, I should write something a bit more useful, no?

Cynicism. When it comes right down to it, most of what rubs people the wrong way about me is that I’m cynical.

The dictionary defines cynicism a bit negatively, and it’s easy to see why. (Dictionary.com defines it thusly.) Cynics take the world, and mercilessly mock, criticize, ridicule, and otherwise pick apart what’s wrong (according to themselves) with it. As such, cynicism is just a world-weary sense of idealism. At heart a cynic can not be a realist. If they were, cynics would accept the world we live in and `get on with it.’ That cynics don’t is a strong sign they feel the world ought to know better, one way or the other. This idea is more in line with the Greek Cynics than the dictionary, as cynics throw their thoughts naked before the world, unpolished and (usually) without tact.

So, other than being an abrasive nuisance to everyone around me, why am I a cynic? Because I don’t take crap for no reason. Because I want things done Right. Because “Right” is different for everybody, and very few people understand that. Because there is such a thing as an absolute reality, and it should be payed attention to. Because I care. Because I’ve not given up yet. Because I think there’s hope.

What I’m talking about is the kind of cynicism Dr. Seuss wrote about. The kind of attitude the Lorax has. I have no power, really; neither does the Lorax. But both of us can speak. The hope is that someone with power will listen.

These beliefs (which I am not too proud to think will never change) guide me to an abrasive attitude towards wasted effort and pointless endevour, refusing to learn to do something the Right Way, and willful ignorance. This, combined with my tendancy to assume people might be ignorant, but are intelligent and rational, tends to put me in a condescending, arrogant, and generally holier-than-thou frame of mind much too often. It sucks, but you can’t blunt your weapon and expect it to work. Being wrong is painful, and hurts. Being told you’re wrong should be, that way you won’t want to do it again. As long as you don’t have any pathological behaviour, you should be fine. If you over-use defense mechanisms instead of actually dealing with your problems, there’s going to be trouble anyway…some people are just way too attatched to their ideas.

It’s not that I care too much, or not enough. It’s not that I’m too lazy to be an activist. (Alright, maybe a little.) It’s not that it can’t be changed. It’s that I can’t do it alone.

I am skeptical of experts. There are some things experts are necessarily better at than people who are inexpert. Experts are good with specifics; and as long as they are talking about specifics within their field, generalizations. When experts attempt to apply their field of study to the broader scope (often under the guise of “ramifications” or somesuch) they often fail to consider issues outside the scope of their expertise. This is why economists see everything through statistics and numbers and trends. (Check out Freakonomics for an example of this.) Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There’s little to distinguish the two but the tests of time.

Alright, cutting this rant short because I’m swaying way off topic. Point being, I’m a bit of a jerk, because I want the world to be a better place. It owes me. (Ha-ha, only serious.)

Note: This entry imported via Facebook's Note feature from my old website, much is expected to be broken.

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