Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on Sept. 3, 2011
We have created a culture where cynicism is cool and in vogue. Cynics are realists, theyre hip and informed. Maybe cynics grew out of the me generation: if everyone is out for himself and not for the community in which he lives, then we will applaud or find humor in like-mindedness.
Seinfeld hit a chord with people because we saw ourselves in their extremely selfish, cynical characters who were repeatedly surprised by their own undoing.
Cynicism, or negativity is overrated. Cynics are less likely to be creative, less likely to pick up on a great idea, and slow to move. But cynicism is not a static condition; no one can live in a state of negativity for too long.
People naturally go through good times and bad times, high and low moods, times of creativity and times of dullness. If we were always cynical, I would be worried, but even the biggest cynic has to come up for air sometime.
To me, the opposite of cynicism is not positivism but romanticism. If cynicism is akin to realism, then romanticism is intellectual and aesthetic elitism. Unfortunately, both extremes seem a little harsh. Life is not an all-or-nothing ism.
We seem to be exiting the era of labeling our ages like Age of Enlightenment, Industrial Age, Information Age, into an amorphous state of homogeneity. From this position, all things are possible, and all things cycle back.