Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cynicism and Optimism

I found myself wondering about this just this morning, after making some cynical remark about something, capitalism, the moral ineptitude of the world, the glass being half empty... something like that. And I found it odd, that, for all my cynical notions, I would, at heart, be an optimist. I have a pleasant disposition, a usual very good outlook on life, even to the point of annoying the cynics in the crowd (not like a John Denver song, that's just too nauseatingly positive.) I tend to trust the customer, although I wouldn't say was too deceiving. I think this thought began when I was finishing up that last series of blogs, when I talked about hope even in the midst of a cultural revolution that might destroy the educational foundation of the country. Even in the midst of so many monsters being raised by self-gratifying parents, there are bright spots that lets me see the good in the world of gloom.

You have to think that way, or you become bogged down in the mire and the muck. According to Blake, you descend into the land of experience and see the world of the cynic, the downtrodden, and the deceptive. You can do one of two things: you can live with them, drowning in the knowledge that experience gives you, and the inability to do anything about it, or you can stand up and look beyond that, to what Blake called New Eden, to a place where cynicism is no longer needed, because the individual has banished it forever. Aristotle strove to always grow towards the greater good, which is where the eternal "forms" were. Thoreau, while he did show much cynicism in his work Walden Pond, nevertheless found much solace in the beauty found by the individual, and by the work that he accomplished alone.

The Romantic philosopher, as well as the Libertarian politic, believes that society is evil and is constantly drowning in the quagmire of its own negativity. And this I can believe, since the media feeds it and the politic nourishes it and bends it to their own usage. But the individual is good, and if they strive to reach Aristotle's "greater good," and they mold their being around what is right and wrong, then they can rise up above the world of Experience and reach "New Eden," as Blake would have said it.

Hope has to exist in this world. If not, Darth Vader would have been truly evil, Pandora would have found her box empty, and the Yin-Yang wouldn't have those two dots inside the black and white swirls. Hope has to exist for me, because it's the only thing that is possible. If there is someone who is downtrodden, it is up to me to bring them back up. And it's a tragic flaw, because there are so many people that will take advantage of those who trust, who find the greater good in everyone of us. Brown dirt, white glove. But I think it's better to do good, and be hurt by those who would take advantage, than to do nothing and never feel the great feeling that comes with helping someone.

While writing my blog and coming down to the last paragraph, I knew it had to end on a note of hope, because Postman didn't leave any answers or any hope that things were going to resolve themselves. Not that he thought that the end of childhood was good or bad, but that the status in which the disappearance of Childhood leaves us cannot be good for the human state. And although there's really nothing that can be done to fix the problem on a massive scale, there is the hope that the individual, who knows right and wrong, can live his or her life for the sole purpose of making this life a little better.

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