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The cynic already heard the punchline and doesn't think much of your joke. He's on to the game and firmly believes it's all just and only a sad parody. He purports to understand what really matters, though nothing qualifies as meaningfully significant. In the long run, he quite logically insists, we're all dead anyway. In the short run, where we inescapably exist, the cynic rather too proudly holds his head in long-run clouds, an elite perspective utterly useless for living. The cynic appreciates nothing because he subtly insists he already understands all.

Not negative but also purposefully not positive, the cynic inhabits an orthogonal plane. Neither this nor that, he's not opposed and also not convincingly supportive. He smirks in lieu of smiling. He complies rather than caring. He lusts instead of loving. He seems to long for more than he's received.

The psychologists might insist he's just a wounded optimist except that wound never heals. It quite publicly festers instead. But the cynic isn't pessimistic. He's seen through that game, too, and already assumes it goes nowhere, like everything else in this life.

The cynic doesn't quite qualify as depressed. He quite enjoys revealing the rub to those less sensitive than he. Nor could he be reasonably understood to be nihilistic, for he seems to religiously hold beliefs, if only in his own infallible perspective. He doesn't so much rain on every parade as purposefully piss down upon them like some perverse Greek god enjoying his work. His mission seems to be to clue in the rubes who swallowed the rubber worm of faith, hope, or clarity. He's a snow globe filled with mud.

He appears supremely unaffected and evangelizes with flat affect, the wry smile, the pity-ing smirk, levitating above the crowd. Nobody ever lays a finger on him, or a hand, or a heart. He lives apart, insulated from mere trivialities, heartless where only heart could possibly matter.

He commits the sin of cynicism, the gravest crime, apparently without acknowledging the cost. He maintains his schism at all costs, a studied separation between him and all that might matter if only indifference could allow anything to matter. He has his patter down. He utterly dismisses every possibility and in so doing seems to utterly dismiss himself. God Bless the cynic's soul, for the cynic's not likely to ever bless his own. He sees meaningless ritual as merely meaningless, and imparts far more meaning to meaninglessness than meaninglessness rightly deserves.

Of what possible utility might such separation serve? The wallflower at the dance dreams he's walking around without his pants, then interprets his dream literally, as if he were the only wallflower and his dream unique only to him. He seems to not quite understand that his existence extends only allegorically from his presence here. He insists upon interpreting everything literally, logically, as if it was supposed to carry its own meaning rather than the one each of us imparts to it. The cynic dooms everything and everyone, including himself, with this one small and otherwise insignificant fundamental act of misattribution. He ascribes no particular significance to meaning, which might be the only essential significance anyone ever experiences.

We find ourselves washed up in a time of growing cynicism. Whether or not caused by that wounded optimism, many seem to have chosen to shut down their sole influence over the quality of their own experience and encourage other wounded and lost souls to follow them to the literal end of the existence of their own world. How could anything possibly matter, now that hope reaches the end of his tenure? If black is the new white, and white the new black, how could any distinction possibly matter? These questions fuel the schism. Fundamentally undecidable, they fully qualify only for fully human consideration. They are not the reason for cynicism but the argument against it. The cynic dismisses the question because it's fundamentally undecidable when the very purpose of human existence might well be to consider the fundamentally undecidable and make choices anyway.

I must, it seems, know enough to fully justify cynicism and still choose not to become cynical. If I don't know enough to justify cynicism, I might find myself simply naive. The world does not need more naivety. Should I choose to be cynical, I erase any influence I might possess, especially all that subtly significant kind I could never know I own until I see myself contributing it.

Our President-elect seems a cynical bastard, seemingly believing in nothing but himself, and that so very unconvincingly. He pantomimes a life suspended above and slightly behind, which he claims affords him a panoramic view of humanity and its future, but he tap dances unconvincingly. He offers not a vision of any future but the argument that vision doesn't matter. He reduces significance to petty controversy then dismisses its very significance. He lives larger than life on the outside while frantically searching for any evidence of life on the inside. To follow him is to conclude that lost is the new found, that utterly blinded is the new sight, and that cynicism is what passes for faith, hope, and clarity now.

I won't go there. I sincerely hope that you choose to not go there with me.

©2017 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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