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Another day, another dollar... and a rant. - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
feren
feren
Another day, another dollar... and a rant.
Went and did the work thing. Came home, played with Ra, did the music thing. Skimmed the 'net, hopped on IRC and read LJ. Nothing particularly interesting or insightful there this evening.

But if you roll back a dozen hours or so....

I did have a conversation online earlier this morning that got me thinking. I started tossing things over in my head because of something that was said in open honesty but still rubbed me the wrong way. The rest of this entry is because of that old axiom, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I recognize that what was said wasn't meant to hurt, it was merely an observation that was meant to illuminate a point and I hold no ill will against the person who said it.
But I still am going to rant at length about it anyway.

What caused all this, you ask? It's all because of the comment that I am "a wee bit young to be so cynical." This kicked some gears over in my head and got me thinking, and what followed it up actually made me rather cross and is the basis for the remainder of this journal.


I wasn't really sure what to make of the comment that I was a wee bit young to be so cynical at first, and the more I thought about it the more interesting I found the questions that statement raised -- and at the same time, my ire was raised. What sort of statement is that? It bothers me a great deal simply for the phraseology of it, which implies that there's a "right" age for cynicism, but I haven't reached it yet. Befuddling! Who defines what is "too young" and "too old" for any one thing, especially a state of mind? Compared to me the person who made this observation is not significantly older -- we share the same age bracket for all intensive purposes. Are they at the right age? How long is the duration of this period? Six months? A year? A decade?

Let's face it: physical age only accounts for so much in this world, it's the experiences behind the age and the resulting level of maturity that go a long way towards lending or subtracting credibility for an opinion. I won't go into some preachy mode where I list all the suffering I've gone through in my life, because I find that to be grandstanding of the highest order. I've seen it played out before where some sad sack has to play "top this" with the misfortunes he's experienced, trying to do what... "Best" somebody else? In the process all sorts of unnecessary laundry is aired, and I'm not interested in doing that myself. It will suffice to say that the people I trust in this world know what I've gone through, and they're able to judge for themselves if I've put in my time or not in the world of pain. As for myself I look back on what I've experienced and I know without a doubt that it gives me a unique perspective on life, just as the injustices and sufferings others have gone through have tinged how they look upon things. My view is right for me based on the life I've lived, and I make no apologies for it. I'm in my mid twenties and, for most purposes, I act like it. I make plans, identify goals, and work to achieve them. I am self-disciplined and self-managing. I am responsible for my own actions and helpful where I can be. Occasionally I have an insightful moment. Occasionally I am funny or generous. All this is where I am, right now, in my mid twenties. On the other hand I know people older than me by one to three years who are the complete opposite. They're slobs of the highest order. These people have no ability to achieve goals, cannot manage themselves and expect others to hand them the world on a platter even though they're too lazy to get off their own asses and take the garbage out. Hell, I know people in their thirties like this, who would utterly fall down and self-destruct if there wasn't somebody very dedicated there to catch them and steer them away from their own disabilities. Some of these people are inheriting money that looks like it belongs on a giant billboard advertising this week's lottery payoff.

Yet somehow I'm "too young" to be this cynical.

But, as I mentioned before, it wasn't that line that really burned me up, it was the sentence delivered afterwards. "Life is difficult," I was told, "but it's still worth doing." Hold on here, time out, flag on the play at the twenty yard line. Let's go back to the instant reply and see just what the hell happened here.

Yes, there are times when I was down and brutally depressed that I questioned if life was worth following. If I wasn't so lazy I could go back through this journal and link to evidence of it, but that's besides the point, I know I've said it and if you've followed this journal for any amount of time you know it too. Those (relatively speaking) few instances do not reflect accurately upon my mind set or my outlook upon life as a whole, however. Hell, those times represent unique points in my life that are so far off the plot that if this were a statistics course it'd have to be discarded as erroneous data. So let's break this down one last time and get this clear. Ready? Here we go.

I am a cynic. I am a misanthrope, a social reject, a jester with a veneer of bitterness. I ridicule those who I perceive as pompous, pretentious or downright nasty. I am not above my own sharp tongue, because I see that I too have flaws that would easily be remedied were I to buy make the effort. I am bitter with a subversive wit, and nothing makes me smile than a wry comment, a dry quip, a self-deprecating remark or to cut somebody deserving down to size. I did not have cynicism thrust upon me, nor was I born into it. I grew into it, learning it, absorbing it even as I went. I discovered that there was a state of mind that coincided greatly with my own, and that this state had a name.

If I do not program my own mind, the world will program it for me.

I am cynic.

As a cynic I'm frequently looked down upon -- people don't want to hear negative things, and that's where the problems start. It's become o-so-fashionable in today's society to just hold the negative things at arm's length, turn away from them, plug your ears and loudly sing "LA LA LA LA LA" so that one can try to convince oneself that the illusion of "All is well" is actually the truth. To that end broad, sweeping generalizations are made which usually function along a false line of logic, to wit "Anything that is not positive must be negative." And what do we do with the negative things, ladies and germs, boys and girls? That's right, we push them under the carpet because there's not enough room in our lives for anything that would challenge us like a negative experience would! Guess what? Ignoring it does not make it go away.

It's this overliberal of "good versus negative" that is the root of the problem. I complain, all right. Everyone who's met me for even a few minutes should know that by now. I bitch outright that life is harder than it should be when we live in an age where we can order a pizza and have it delivered without ever having to actually speak to a person and MREs are bought and thrown away in bulk by the military. I rant and rave about the vexing evils that I perceive around me, the easily cured injustices (like the hundreds of millions of dollars a year that go into keeping a golf course prim and proper, which could be doing so much more with a charity... like feeding a homeless person or buying blankets for a battered woman's shelter) of the world at large. I complain at length about these things, and I rail at how hard it makes it for me to get up every morning, knowing that I have to face these ridiculous situations while the rest of the worker drones around me blindly accept it. All you have to do is open your eyes, and you will see the bad things around you. They're there, right alongside the good things. And, at the risk of cliche, you can't appreciate the good things without the bad. They're made to play off one another. I just think that right now things are very much out of balance, with the heavier weight going to the bad right now.

So I say these things, I bitch, I moan, I wail like a banshee. But while I'm decrying the idiocy around me and stating how unnecessarily hard it makes life I do not (outside of the rare occurrences referenced above) ever say that it isn't worth continuing the struggle. In fact I strongly advocate the opposite, I firmly believe that one should push forward in spite of the resistance our world presents with such delight. From pain and adversity comes inner strength.

The reasons I continue the struggle are my own. I do admit that a lot of it is that I gain motivation and strength knowing that I piss people off by continuing to try and succeeding at what I focus on. But somehow this never enters into the equation... people see that I'm a cynic and automatically make the assumption that I think the world isn't worth living in but am just too cowardly to off myself.

This pisses me off greatly. I am tired of having words like this put in my mouth, not because they upset me but because it's just plain wrong.

Look, people: it's possible to see the negative, embrace it and not be completely gloom and doom. Not all of us believe the answer is to suck off a shotgun -- some of us just believe that not everyone is willing to work to change things for the better. Able to, yes; willing, no. That makes us bitter, because we want to believe the fairy tales, that hard work and a willing spirit triumphs over adversity and that the little guy will win the lawsuit against the cruel corporation; we want to believe there's a "happily ever after," we desperately want to believe that good triumphs over evil and that the cowboy rides off with the belle into the sunset. But we are aware of the world around us, and we see that ain't the case, even when it clearly should be.

It may seem like I talk like the "fringe" members of society, similar to those who shun everyone who don't match up to their specifications (I am to an extent guilty of this behavior, I admit). It seem as if I walk like these fringe members, disassociating from them or even looking down on them in some cases. I may talk like them. That doesn't mean my message is the same as theirs, but that doesn't matter because you're not really listening anyways. If you had been, you would not assume that I am like them. This is exactly why I am cynical.

Damn, this was disjointed. I guess what I'm shooting for is this: When you hear that I'm a cynic, or figure it out for yourself, don't try to pigeonhole me unless you want me to explain to you in loving and lengthy detail why I think the way I do. I will go to the ends of the earth to explain my position and opinions about why the world we're in can suck so hard... and not once during that tirade will you hear me say that it's not worth doing. Goddammit, I feel that in spite of the difficulties it's very much worth doing, so please stop putting your words in my mouth, okay? Please, stop giving me ammunition for my position.

well it's all right it's all right!

Current Mood: bitchy bitchy
Current Music: Evil 9 - Cake Hole

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Comments
From: ex_miang438 Date: August 12th, 2003 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
*applause* Very well said.

Should anyone decide to play the "you're too young" card again, feel free to point out that there are plenty of people who are just as cynical and even younger than you. (*ahem*) ^_-

All one really needs to start down the path is a bullshit detector. Granted, those do get more finely tuned as the years go on...but one only requires an ability to reason to acquire the BS detector in the first place, and most intelligent people are capable of doing that before they hit puberty. (And if they're not bitter, cynical individuals yet, middle school and high school will fill in the rest.) :Þ
spoothbrush From: spoothbrush Date: August 13th, 2003 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
...I always thought that jaded cynicism was part of the purview of youth.
feren From: feren Date: August 13th, 2003 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Bonus points to Spoothbrush for using a vocab word!
shiver101 From: shiver101 Date: August 21st, 2003 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)

We aren't pessimists!, we're just cynical!!

People often don't look beyond the tip of their own nose, putting people into large, vague catergories. There can be few things more infuriating!!

You've said a lot of things I personally agree with, and I've copied and pasted parts of it onto my computer to make into a sort of cynics manifesto... I'll get back to you when it's done ;)
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