The other day at a meeting in town I didn’t place a vote when a vote was called. I was asked why I didn’t and I said, "It doesn’t matter if I vote or not." To this the person asked, "What do you mean it doesn’t matter?" I then just muttered and said, "I guess I’m just being cynical."
It’s been a few days since that meeting and I’ve been thinking about it. I looked up the word cynical and found the following definitions.
- 1. Believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity
- 2. Doubtful as to whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile
- 3. Contemptuous; mocking
- 4. Concerned only with one’s own interests and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards in order to achieve them
After reading the definitions I realized a few things. Not only was I being cynical but also many other people were as well and it isn’t a desirable quality. As a member of many boards I am often distrustful of human sincerity and believe that many people are motivated by self-interest. I am beginning to be doubtful whether things are worthwhile and whether things will happen or not. I imagine I am contemptuous and mocking along with sarcastic. But the one thing I am not is concerned only with my own interests.
On the last one I am way off the chart for being concerned with everyone else’s interests. I try to represent or go to bat for what everyone else wants and needs. I want to make other people happy and I often find myself doing things for that reason only.
Then I began to wonder if doing everything for everyone else is what is making me cynical. If I weren’t on such and such board, or involved with such and such group, or doing such and such for so and so then would I still be doubting a person’s sincerity? Would I still be distrustful and think others are motivated by self-interest?
If I just stayed in my own little world at the end of the Gunflint Trail and wasn’t involved with my community then would I be less cynical? Or does living in your own world only serving your own needs make you even more cynical?
Does anyone have an answer to this? Sometimes I’m not very smart and the obvious is often overlooked. Like take corn syrup, it finally hit me that it was made from corn. Really. Isn’t that strange?How did anyone come up with making syrup out of corn when it is usually made from sap out of a tree? What is the process to make corn into syrup?
So I’m hoping there’s something obvious right in front of me that someone can point out and say, "Duh Sue, if you just did "A" then everything would be ok." OR, "You will be less cynical if…" I’m here and I’m wondering, so please, tell me, I’d appreciate it.