I’ve been battling this one around in my own thoughts…is it okay to be cynical? Is there anything wrong with this? Can one be cynically healthy?
I “googled” cynicism and got these quotes (and a few more):
“Cynicism (Kυνισμός) was originally the philosophy of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics, founded by Antisthenes. The Cynics rejected all conventions, whether of religion, manners, housing, dress, or decency, advocating the pursuit of virtue in a simple and un-materialistic lifestyle.”
definition: “a scornful or jaded negativity; a belief that people are motivated by self-interest rather than acting for honorable or unselfish reasons.”
I’m not a cynic, in fact, I might be accused of being too optimistic, too hopeful. Part of that is personality, partly the level of self-confidence that is mine. I grew up in a home that encouraged, never dismissed my hopes or dreams, and helped me put rational thought into dreams so that I understood some things were outside reality.
So I ask again – is it okay to be cynical? It is, apparently, natural for some to be cynical. I guess I wonder if the cynic isn’t missing out on some good things?
First of all, it seems apparent that the cynical miss some good relationships. I’m not suggesting they have no friends, but rather they miss out on relationships with those who simply find the tone of conversation burdensome and so move on. Maybe that’s why the cynical band together?
I think the cynical also miss out on some of the joys of life…if cynicism is having a “jaded outlook” then there must be times when the kindness of others is only seen in the light of suspicion. Certainly what might be a joyful experience cannot be fully embraced, for the cynic must stand back and analyze with dark glasses the motive of the kind.
The other thought that I’ve had is around how cynicism must be reflective of faith…you can argue this one with me for sure…but I wonder if the cynic’s basic thought reflects some doubt around God’s care and provision. For certainly if I view life as a glass half full I am doubtful that God can do anything about the empty half! Don’t you think?
So to my cynical friends, I offer…what about viewing life a little differently? What would you lose by trusting instead of doubting? What would you gain if you smile instead of smirked? What would you win if you let God cover the gap?
So my cynical friends…what think ye?