I was hanging out with friends last night -- some of my most favorite people here in Pigsknuckle. They are a group of funny, warm, loving, and kind people (they are also all smart-asses, which is partly why I like them best). I trust them... implicitly... with my secrets, with my feelings, with my child.
They're good people.
They love me.
So imagine my surprise, when they all ganged up on me last night, attacked my character, clouded my sunny disposition, soiled my fresh-from-the-laundry view of the world, and agreed with each other that I am... cynical!
Me! Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm! Little Mary Sunshine! Me!
I disagreed. Vehemently. 'Cynical' sounds so... negative... so... not very nice. And I'm nice. I'm a glass-half-full person. I'm an optimist, for crying out loud! I can't be cynical! I can't!
Now, I fully accepted the Sarcastic label with which I was also branded. I mean, that's a difficult one to deny, really, given every other word out of my mouth. But cynical? No sir, not me.
So I protested and protested and protested (shut up, you... don't even think about methinksing and dothing me!). They assured me this wasn't a bad thing and tried to make me feel better about being frigging Despicable Me. It didn't work. Finally, I just hung my head in very non-cynical sadness and went home...
... to look up the word 'cynical'.
Maybe I just don't really know what it means.
So, according to Wiki, contemporary cynicism is defined as such:
Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others' apparent motives, believing that they are selfish in nature and/or displaying that themselves.
OK, that's pretty much what I thought it meant. And I don't think that's me. I mean, I think there are lots of selfish people in the world (hello! You do, too!), but that statement implies I think most people are like that... doesn't it? And I don't think that. Do I?
I read some more...
A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human race or in individuals with desires, hopes, opinions, or personal tastes that a cynic perceives as unrealistic or inappropriate, and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. It is a form of jaded negativity, and other times, realistic criticism or skepticism.
That is pretty much how I feel about Republicans...
Emphasis on the negative aspects of Cynic philosophy led to the modern understanding of cynicism to mean a disposition of disbelief in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions.
Now, that is not me! Mostly. I mean, I don't believe politicians when they try to sound sincere and say they're acting for the common good. I think they're full of crap. But when it comes to the ordinary person doing good? I believe good things come from good motives... and I believe there are a lot of good people with good motives, doing good things.
Modern cynicism, as a product of mass society, is a distrust toward professed ethical and social values, especially when there are high expectations concerning society, institutions, and authorities that are unfulfilled. It can manifest itself as a result of frustration, disillusionment, and distrust perceived as owing to organizations, authorities, and other aspects of society.
Years ago, on my very first car, I had a bumper sticker which read, "The Moral Majority are Neither."
So it started early.
There was much more in the Wiki entry regarding cynicism, some of which sounded like me, some of which didn't.
So, I came to the conclusion that I'm not Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (I know, it was a shock to me, too)... but I do believe most people are good at heart and want to do the right thing.
I don't trust politicians and many people in authority and I don't believe they are in it for 'the people'... but I think those charlatans have earned my distrust and dislike.
I do believe there are many selfish people in the world, more concerned with themselves than others... but I am fortunate to know and spend time with many, many people who put others first.
I don't trust or think highly of people who try very, very hard to push their social and moral and religious views on the rest of us... but I am confident that over time, they will find themselves on the wrong side of convention.
So... I'm a cynic.
But I'm not full-blown.
I'm a Selective Cynic... a Partial Cynic... a Cynical Optimist.
That's it! I'm a Cynical Optimist!
Am OK with that.
I'm going to write my own Wiki entry!