I imagine myself standing up at a meeting with people that I don’t know and giving my name and saying that I am a cynic and I have been one hour and six minutes without a shot of cynicism. The room fails to applaud my achievement because they are, of course, distrustful of my claim. Welcome to my first meeting with the group Cynics Anonymous!
I am in fact a dreadful cynic and I am desperately trying to recover. I don’t believe that we are predisposed to such a fate but rather it is the result of our overall life experience. The worst sufferers of this malady are those such as myself who have been in law enforcement. For sixteen years everyone lied to me, (note the word everyone being an illustration of the severity of my case). Officer I swear I wasn’t speeding, I didn’t steal that, I don’t have drugs on me, I only had one beer… the list is endless. Worse yet cynicism helps to keep cops alive. If you don’t trust anyone then you are likely to be much more alert for potential harm to be inflicted upon you.
Life based cynicism isn’t unique to cops as everyone is lied to or taken advantage of to some degree. How about landlords regarding rent checks? Constituents believing politicians? Employees trusting employers? Employers trusting employees? This list is endless but no doubt we have all been lied to and we have all been hurt.
The question that I pose to you and which I myself face is how healthy is cynicism in both a physical and psychological sense?
I for one have spent my post law enforcement years trying to be more trusting. I try to see good in people and I try to believe them and what they have to say. For me it is an ongoing struggle in which I often fail miserably.
One of my earlier posts to this blog is called “A Homeless Man and a Fallen Bird”. Last night someone named Naser added a comment to that post. In that comment Naser relates that he is homeless and hungry. He states that that post brought him some level of comfort and inspired him to focus on helping others who were worse off than he was.
I was immediately touched by his comment but within fifteen seconds I had already turned to my wife and said “I wonder if this is some kind of scam?” Again- my life experience was interfering with that which should be pure compassion. I posted a reply back to Naser and offered suggestions to better his plight and he posted back a response that brought me back to the compassionate side of the tracks. I would encourage you to scroll down and read that post and the associated comments. My sense is that Naser is truly suffering. That Naser, beyond anything needs to pray to God for deliverance from his circumstance. I also believe that Naser needs the prayers of others- both me and you as well so that he may better his circumstance. Who am I to stand in judgment of a man I have never met and who has asked of me nothing but words.
“Hello- my name is Chet and I have now been one hour and twenty minutes without a shot of cynicism.”
I am still met with deafening silence….