That Loathesome Thing

by Jocibet

Here is what worries me about cynicism – and yes, I am using it in terms of the general usage of the word today, not the philosophy of Cynics of ancient Greece. What concerns me about cynicism in terms of dialogue, especially in the realm of politics and society, is that it is lazy and insincere and hence stops short the process of understanding. It prevents new ways of thinking, new approaches or honestly evaluating past and current approaches. It perpetuates prejudices and hopelessness. The arrogance of it looms so large that real and new problems are totally unnoticed or dismissed as they are just swept into everything that cynicism encompasses.

Here are some of the most egregious examples of cynicism in the United States political environment right now – usually opined by all sorts of pundits and politicians alike:

The government is generally evil and/or causes evil. (I intend to find an example to link here.)

The government must protect people from themselves.

People are lazy.

People will only ever care about themselves. (I intend to find an example to link here.)

The free market and/or capitalism will correct [insert societal/economic/civil ill here].

Corporations and industry will destroy our environment and individuals.

Cynical shortcuts, all of those statements – however these are bedrocks of political dialogue today. They may not use those exact sentences, but if you read or watch the news, listen to pundits and talk show hosts, and listen to politicians you will hear those statements, couched often in code words and phrases (“hard-working Americans” a code phrase that is meant to bring to mind all those non-hardworking Americans or “corporate greed” is a code word to remind you that greedy people just lost Grandma’s retirement and put mercury in all the fish).

Feel free to comment if you would disagree with the cynical nature of any of those comments.

So – what is so good about wisdom? How does wisdom strengthen dialogue? What does wisdom provide that pure intellect or knowledge might miss? Is there such a thing as wisdom, or is it the same as intellect+knowledge? I have a hard time answering this one myself although I have a lot of ideas, and would welcome thoughts on this.

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 6:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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