There is a lot of cynicism in the world these days, or maybe it’s always been there, it’s just easier to see in our interconnected societies. It’s an easy mindset to fall into, as we look at challenges that aren’t being met, and others that seem ignored. Checking today’s social media feeds provides a fair amount of proof that cynicism is alive and well. The trouble is, cynicism does not help solve the challenges before us.
Do you know anyone with a cynical attitude? Most likely, you do. Cynics believe that people are motivated by selfishness. Cynics come off as scornful and contemptuous of anything that looks like virtue or integrity. Cynics pride themselves on having a “realistic approach” and mock those with a more optimistic view. But have you ever noticed that cynics, more than likely, are unhappy people? They are not only unhappy, but they seem dead to the spiritual values that give life meaning.
You might have heard cynics described as failed idealists who commit a kind of intellectual suicide. Now that may seem a bit extreme but think about it. Cynics build no bridges, make no discoveries, and expect people to behave badly. They see no room for improvement, so they abandon hope and, in the process, give up their power to act and bring about change. In effect, cynics give up on themselves before they give up on everyone else.
Now, our minds are nourished by a continual supply of new ideas, which we then put to work with a purpose in mind. But if there are no worthwhile new ideas, as the cynic believes, the mind becomes stagnant. A stagnant mind is a danger to its owner and worse than useless to the community at large. It’s also a tremendous waste of possibility and potential.
So, refuse to be influenced by the nay-sayers and cynics in your midst. Hold to your hope and humor, your ideals and dreams, your compassion and imagination. For it is these things that give life meaning and bring us all a better world.