Barking

by MW Cook

Have you ever looked up the definition for cynic? The origin of the word is related to dog. Woof woof.

I used to be a cynic. A certain part of it still lives in me, though I honestly try to kill it. A cynic, I think, is generally a pessimistic person who assumes the worst for everyone. You know, the kind of guy who is certain that everyone is motivated by they own greed and self-interest and protests against it in a very contemptuous way. As much as I loved my time at Bible college, I think it made me quite cynical.

I don’t think cynics ever change the world, as much as they’d like to. They’re too…mean. They’re too pessimistic. They’re too unlike Jesus, who advocated for wild optimism (see Matthew 7:7-8). The key to changing the world, I think, lies in lifestyle. Unconventional living wins over cynical remarks.

Why unconventional living works better than cynicism.

  • Cynicism has its roots in anger. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but either is used in anger, they only hurt the wielder. You cannot be a cynic without being angry. Yes, there is a time for anger, but cynicism is born and nursed on anger and anger alone. Lifestyle, though, is multi-faceted and pregnant with much more power than angry rhetoric can muster.
  • Cynicism is impotent. First, it cannot change the world because the cynical man is too cynical to lift a hopeful finger to help. Second, cynicism never converts anybody. Few people comes to care about things because someone called them names and used angry words about it. Change is inspired through life. The pen is not mightier than a living example.
  • Cynicism is toxic. It’s hard to hang out with the cynical because nothing is good to them. Cynicism is rooted in pessimism and its only happy when its ranting. The cynical mindset poisons everything, expanding and growing until there is nothing sound left in the world. It kills where is spreads. Lifestyle, though, gives new hope and life wherever is spreads. It’s unfortunate that it’s harder to give it root.
  • Cynicism destroys work ethic. This is because it’s so damned easy (I use that word literally). Anyone can be a cynic just like anyone can be a critic. All you need is a little dissatisfaction. Lifestyle breeds discipline, because it forces you to work for the glory you yearn for.
  • Cynicism is arrogant. To be a cynic you need to assume everyone out there is motivate by pure self-interest. Except for you, of course. You and the people you look up to. But everyone else is evil. Lifestyle refuses to comment on the complex inner workings of others because it recognizes that my own inner workings are complex. Why would anyone else’s be less so?
  • Cynics are not happy people. How can you be happy when you’re the only sane person in the world? How can you enjoy life when it’s full of crap? When there is no tangible hope? But living the change you want to see brings joy because fruit does come.
  • Cynicism is mostly barking at a problem. Teeth bared, ears flattened. Lots of noise. Lots of disturbance. Lifestyle is walking up to the problem, calmly and quietly, and taking a big bite.