Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Saluting cynicism

Disenchanted but engaged !
I used to wonder at cynicism. Could it possibly be a defense mechanism, engineered and fitted into the species by the life force? Surely it is not a product and monopoly of 2011. Man has been cynical a while. In fact, the Cynic philosophy is credited to Diogenes of Sinope (in present day Turkey). It is said that he was prone to tearing down the government with his rude, opinionated and independent views. But he was also committed to improvement in public life. What we have today is the former attribute of his personality with not a trace of the latter.

The political and social air of the country is thick with disbelief, lies and shenanigans. One capsule of national news is enough to neutralize all the endorphins I gain at my Zumba class. The political theatre is like a shot of anaesthesia, star cast being self-interest, power pangs and exploitation of public apathy.

How then does one find any sense or value in political activity that seems bent upon stamping out public discussion or autonomous thought? It is cynicism that comes flooding into this disenchanted space as a corollary.

But is cynicism any use or is it merely an unaffordable negative? Is it true that a cynical attitude forces us to re-examine our fundamental assumptions? On the other hand, does it not bring about a form of disempowerment, thanks to the anger, the fatigue and the resultant alienation it causes? One thing is certain and immutable, we cannot move forward in any meaningful way without productive, collective action. But the crorepati question: who is going to persuade us and get us around to it?

The cynical bog makes me weep. Will this flow chart of embitterment ever veer? The moral of the story perhaps is, "Lets be cynical but engaged." 

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