The Flip Side of Cynicism
Last Updated: 2019-11-07 19:58

I've noticed myself getting more and more critical lately. As in, when people say things or when I hear new ideas (or maybe ideas in general? or ideas of a certain flavor/category?), I notice myself immediately looking for reasons it will fail. I think this is the unfortunate hallmark of playing the intellectual superior for too long. And I'm definitely not in the position anymore (and I don't think I ever really was).

I think one immediate remedy is to agree that being critical of things is fine; there are always flaws and room for optimization, but credit must be given where it is due. There are things in the world which work rather well, all things considered. There are people who are doing a fairly bang-up job of it all, all things considered. And I want to be more cognizant of that.

For example:

  • It's great that our sewer system works as well as it does
  • Some of my professors are actually pretty good at teaching

This isn't just about looking at the bright side of things in life, although I could imagine it devolving into that. Just more about how I ought to pay attention when people are doing things right.

Also, something about misery being omnipresent in the human condition, and how re: hedonic treadmills, you're going to find things going poorly no matter what. So hedging your bets and finding good coping strategies seem like the right response.