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5 Comments on Cynicism: Ignorance masked as Intelligence. [i.e. Be Smart, Not Cynical.]

  1. Johnny

    I think it is awesome that you reply You say that most people are good. Most people follow rules because of fear of being caught and how society views them. Its better to be feared then loved. I like how you post your name, address, an SSN on here. I mean if only a percentage of the people in the world were malicious then chance are you will be fine pretty high right? Please don’t ask me for mine. I’m the crazy cynic! You speak of human motivation and how you think it rules the world. I don’t know where you from and don’t know you, but apparently have enough to eat, and have the internet/computer, and go to college. Don’t you think the human world would be better served if everything were distributed evenly. The opposite of cynicism is that the world is even and fair, or at least “positive”. I know the world isn’t fair. I don’t know if the world would be better fair. I just know its not. I was born in America, I’m smart, and not destitute. I had nothing to to with any of that. Luckily I have the serenity to accept what I can’t change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    • “Most people follow rules because of fear of being caught and how society views them.”

      No evidence to support this, you’ll find no peer reviewed study to support it. Likely a trivial effort to find the counter. There are social and hierarchical quirks to the human psychology that sometimes cause people to act differently than they would on their own, but these are much more complex than simply “people bad.”

      “I like how you post your name, address, an SSN on here. I mean if only a percentage of the people in the world were malicious then chance are you will be fine pretty high right?”

      False equivalency. There are 7 billion people, it only takes one to mess up your day (or potentially your life). But this doesn’t mean all people are bad. It’s just a numbers game. It takes thousands of people every day for you not to die, but only one to kill you. I defer to the pareto principle on this.

      “Don’t you think the human world would be better served if everything were distributed evenly.”

      Unfortunately this is more complicated than simply saying it. The logistics are pretty big and it would only take a small handful of people to ruin it for everyone. Entropy is a bit of a monster and requires incredibly amounts of energy to overcome.

      “I know the world isn’t fair.”

      Indeed it isn’t. Which is why humans have modified a lot of it to fit their needs. (As do most animals, to be fair, within their power) Fairness is a bit like perfection, it’s more of a concept than a real state of things. But with every passing generation the world gets better than it was prior.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/01/26/the-world-is-getting-better-why-dont-we-believe-it/

      I can’t speak to the rest. But at any rate, it’s not really a topic worth debating. This borders on the edge of faith, and there are a lot of psychological quirks at play that would make this a fruitless endeavor.

      I’m happy that you’ve found a belief system that works for you. That’s the best I can say. Have a good one!

  2. Johnny

    I think it is awesome that you reply You say that most people are good. Most people follow rules because of fear or being caught and how society views them. Its better to be feared then loved. I like how you post your name, address, an SSN on here. I mean if only a percentage of the people in the world were malicious then chance are you will be fine right. Please don’t ask me for mine. I’m the crazy cynic. You speak of human motivation and how you think it rules the world. I don’t know where you from and don’t know you, but apparently have enough to eat, and have the internet/computer, and go to college. Don’t you think the human world would be better served if everything were distributed evenly. The opposite of cynicism is that the world is even and fair, or at least “positive”. I know the world isn’t fair. I don’t know if the world would be better fair. I just know its not. I was born in America, I’m smart, and not destitute. I had nothing to to with any of that. I’ve also never been shot, but I’m pretty sure bullets exist. Grant me the serenity to accept things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. .

  3. Johnny

    I am a cynic, intelligent, and decent person. Cynicism like all things is a grey scale. You infer that cynics don’t do anything and can’t deal with the world because they will be wronged. Cynics expect people to be self centered and so they prepare to be used. I think most people are in it for themselves and the biggest thing that keeps their actions seeming normal is they don’t want to be perceived as bad. Watching what people do when they don’t know anybody sees them, or they think they are not being judged is astonishing. True motives are complicated and almost always masked. Simple example guy gives a homeless dude some money while on a date. I’m sure he is a bleeding heart activist of poverty and doing all he can to help. If people were truly good there would be no need for police, crime, justice, records, law, rules, contracts, etc. You could just trust that it would all work out. I do agree with what you say about people and media. We do focus on the negative stories and spread them. Its so much easier to hear of negative things in across the country. A comedian talked about how in the 20s to be convicted of a bank robbery you pretty well had to be caught in the bank red handed. If you go to the next state nobody would have ever heard of you. After all you are who you are. You can change what you do, but not why you do it.

    • I’m on a phone so I’ll be relatively brief. Its also late so this might be a jumbled mess of nonsense.

      Laws are necessary because some folks are bad and you need to accommodate for that.

      If people werent, on average, good, you’d see crime rates far higher than they are. Probably even that is too optimistic. You’d not be alive to see it because someone would have murdered you or someone in the time line to reach you.

      You can think anything you wish about human motivation. But for the most part I think it’s lazy. I did examine human activity very closely, I spent most of my time in college taking numerous courses on psychology. There was no deep dark secret or surprise to the human psyche.

      I’ve been alive almost 30 years now. Wandered by thousands upon thousands of people. I’ve been stolen from twice across all those interactions. A couple more serious incidents too, but ultimately it’s blips on an otherwise miraculous reality.

      This is the best time to be alive, on average, in all of human history. And the trends continue to move that way. If cynicism even had a granule of truth these sort of things wouldnt be so consistent.

      I think some folks confuse healthy skepticism for what is now the most common form of cynicism (mean world syndrome). Any Rand like views of the world are considered a joke in all circles of psychology, and communal animals will almost always trend towards positivity because it maximizes the odds of everyone surviving.

      There are exceptions, always, but I find it difficult to justify just about any negative outlook when you compare the incidents that do happen with the number of people that didn’t do those things.

      Seems to me it’s more a matter of the pare to principle principle for problems and loss aversion for the trend of focusing on those problem areas.

      Anywho, just my two cents. Not saying you are wrongheaded, and frankly I don’t even recall what I wrote, but I would suggest the next time something bums you out, compare it to the whole picture.

      It becomes very easy then to be instead surprised it isn’t far more common. Whatever it is.

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