Cynicism

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is cynicism. What is it? Why is it all around us? Can we escape it if we claim to be intellectuals?

I’m reading a book called Seeing Through Cynicism, by Dick Keyes (the director of Boston L’Abri) and it’s offering some good thoughts.

Here are some quotes I liked:

A cynic is “a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.”

“[Cynics] have maintained their detachment from all the things that less sophisticated people take seriously.”

And I’ve decided that although useful in making me feel smart, cynicism might ultimately be keeping me from something truer or at least better. I think I might give it up for a while. I’m eerily hopeful and trusting. I’ve taken cynicism, folded it neatly, and put it on the shelf…for now at least.

So, I made a list of things NCP’s (Non-Cynical People) do.

1. People who aren’t cynical anymore don’t smoke, especially if they have asthma.

2. When someone tells the NCP she is praying for her, the Non-Cynical Person believes her, and she might do the same.

3. She thinks people are telling the truth when they call in sick.

4. She stops at stop signs, and she writes her grandmother a letter.

5. She believes in a cause.

6. She can let go of the pain from a friend who has disappointed her, and not be bitter when that friend asks, “How ARE you?” She can understand that it’s not about her.

7. She welcomes people any time, even if they are inconsistent, inconsiderate, or boring.

8. She knows all she has has been graciously given.

9. She isn’t resentful with someone asks her for time or money, but she prayerfully considers the request.

10. She thinks about how much she can give rather than how much she can hold.

11. She looks for the health in people rather than waiting to see their dysfunction.

12. She folds the laundry instead of leaving it in the dryer overnight.

13. She cries in church when she hears the gospel; she doesn’t fight the tears.

15. She unclenches the fists of her spirit and learns that she can trust God.

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