How to overcome cynicism, and Cymande
I will dispense with poetry and speak plainly here. When I watch the increasing polarity in thinking spread across the internet, I feel nervous.
With increasing frequency, I am observing friends, and acquaintances slip into some form of cynicism - a deep lack of trust. Admittedly, it is hard not to mistrust everything that we see and hear. Disinformation campaigns have plagued everyone all over the world in the last 5 or 6 years - this is an indisputable fact at this point (read This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends by Nicole Perlroth). We have been given more reasons than ever to question the motives of those who govern us, and those whose responsibility it is to maintain and improve the conditions of our lives.
Hopefully, we are becoming increasingly aware that we mistakenly operate under the myth of meritocracy, and we raise up celebrities and people who are "successful" to heights where they will inevitably fall and destroy themselves (and our fantasies of them). Hopefully we are gaining clarity that someone's financial position, political power, charisma, and persona do not translate into sincerity, generosity, compassion, or ethical convictions.
It is not a wonder so many of us turn to cynicism, mistrustfulness, to cope with such challenging circumstances. It almost seems naïve not to be skeptical of motives. To be crystal clear - I am not making a moral judgment on cynicism. I can only remind us all that cynicism leads to closing our hearts to mystery, possibility, and creativity. I am here to celebrate skepticism, because that can also lead us to curiosity.
All that said, what are we supposed to do when faced with so many places where we must question what we see?
I would invite you to consider these questions when overcoming cynicism, and practicing skepticism:
1. Who profits from my cynicism? Who directly or indirectly profits from my lack of trust?
2. Am I being asked to believe something or someone has the power to "correct" all that is "wrong" with everything?
3. Am I being convinced that the responsibility is entirely mine to "correct" all that is "wrong" with everything?
4. Am I increasingly withdrawing from my network of support?
5. Am I seeking a network of support to validate or reflect my beliefs or thinking back to me?
6. Is my lack of trust improving the quality of my life, or anyone elses?
7. Does my "free will," "right to choose," help or hurt me or someone else?
8. Am I free to change my thinking on what I believe?
Beyond our thinking about facing the cynicism and polarization, we must also ask, what should we do about it. Here are some thoughts:
Inspired by Cymande - Bra