Last night, the book club I'm a part of started talking about cynicism in books, blogs, and general attitudes. Cynicism is cool. People who are cynical often are witty, good communicators who have a way of putting things that can make us laugh or give our aggravations a sharp, clear voice. Cynics get radio shows and win popularity contests. Cynics get a lot of followers in times like these, when cultural, political, social, and emotional frustrations run higher than fevers.
Cynics demand change while simultaneously seeming to argue that change isn't really possible. I can be a cynic--but I confess, not a very cool one. Most of the time, cynicism just makes me a grouch.
It occurred to me as we talked that cynicism is what marks the difference between someone who gets laughs at a party and someone who is a true profound thinker. Cynics are anti. Contrary. Opposed to prevailing ideas. They have material to work with in the form of existing ideas that need to be torn down. The world is getting to be a really noisy place, and a lot of the cacophony is cynical demolition.
There was a time when I admired a really well written, cynical piece of writing. I've got clippings. But I'm tired now. A steady diet of cynicism is like a steady diet of glazed old-fashioned donuts. It just sets you up for a sugar crash.
What's the opposite of cynicism? Optimism? Hope? I think the antidote to cynicism is faith and invention. What are you in favor of? What do you believe in? What is within your power to create? (Human kind has the DNA of its Creator, you know.) How can you build up instead of tear down? How would our world be different if we were more interested in becoming inventors than wrecking ball crews?
Here's a teeny glimpse:
I hope to run this race of life with grace that leaves cynicism in the dust. (I've got my work cut out for me.) I hope I write stories that change lives for the better What do you hope to do? Who inspires you? Honestly, I find the things I have to say far, far less interesting than your stories. Do share.