Saturday, December 01, 2012

My increasing cynicism

I am an optimist by nature.  My glass is usually at least 3/4 full.  Frankly, I dislike negativity and negative people.  I try to see the good side of things, and point it out when others around are gripy.  Is "gripy" a word?

Anyway, I'm disturbed to find that with increasing frequency I am disappointed by people, both individuals and groups or organizations.  The stridency, hype, and blatant lies of the recent political campaign is one example, but more and more I see people circumventing laws and rules, twisting the truth until it's no longer recognizable as such, to further their own agenda.

But I wonder: what, if anything, has changed?

Maybe it's me.  Maybe I've finally grown up enough to lose the innocence of youth and see things as they really are.  There has always been a percentage of the population with little or no moral compass or much of a conscience.  This is the group who will play the suckers, work the angles, con the unsuspecting and take, take, take.  But was the percentage always this large?

Remember the 80s?  Jerry Falwell popularized the term "moral majority."  The concept was that most people in the US were moral, honest and upright (and in Jerry's realm, this meant "Christian").  It sounded good, and I accepted the theory that most people were moral, honest and upright.  It was the vocal minority who were trying to ruin things for the rest of us.

Well now, 30 years later, I get the feeling that majority has slid over into the other camp.  There are few people, or statements made by people, that I trust anymore.  I tend to analyze actions and comments in a way I never used to.  "Why did he do/say that?  Did he meant it?  Has he got something to gain, or is he trying to pull something on me?  What's his real motive?"

Of course, there are lots of possible reasons for the apparent spinning of the moral compass needle.  My inclination is to list as chief among them the decline in religious faith I believe has occurred.  And not just Christian faith.  Most major faiths honor honesty, fair dealing, and compassion.

I dunno.  Maybe I'm just in a funk.  Whatever it is, my glass seems to be slowly leaking.

Anybody else feeling this?


kenju said...

Yes. My husband has 4-5 close friends who are so negative that I cannot be around them. We used to call people like that "psychic vampires" and they do, indeed, suck the life out of me. They cannot or won't see positivity anywhere and all they want to talk about spreads negativity. I have made my opinion clear and most of them do not want to be around me anymore. Pity.....for them.

Sis said...

Don’t give up on your philosophy!! It maybe that there are more con artists, truth twisters and nay sayers than there used to be or it maybe that we now have more ways to hear and see them than we used to. The stereotypical used car salesman used to only affect the people who came to his used car lot. Now we can see him on YouTube around the globe – and YouTube tends to capture the worst – not the almost truthful salesman, but the one who really goes for a killing. Like you I have always believed the glass is at least half full and if there is a problem you look for a way to fix it, not lie, cheat or steal to get around it. Maybe naively I am still convinced that the liars, cheaters and stealers do get there just deserts at some point. And YouTube does chronicle acts of heroism, altruism and charity. And I think there have to be as many acts of kindness that don’t make it to YouTube as there are acts of the opposite kind. But then I confess to still being an eternal optimist.