Cynicism

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Cynicism

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:19 pm

I'm gonna try to make this constructive.

So anyway, I'm really cynical. Really pessimistic. You all know this and know exactly why.

Point being, how do I become optimistic? How do I see all the light in the world when I don't see anything but death and destruction?

I see nothing good in the world, nothing hopeful. I'm sure you all do. I know it's out there. I know it's hiding from me.

I'm still on the search for that one thing about myself I need to fix that will magically fix the millions of other things wrong with me.


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Re: Cynicism

Post by reboot on Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:55 pm

Cynicism is unrelated to optimism. The most cynical people I know are either optimists or pragmatists. So you might want to untangle your terms.

Optimism is the opposite of pessimism
Idealistic or trusting are antonyms of cynical

Which is it that you want to change?
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Re: Cynicism

Post by nearly_takuan on Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:20 pm

Since when is idealistic an antonym of cynical? It seems to me it's entirely possible to both feel strongly about the way things ought to be and believe one's efforts are futile and meaningless in a hostile and uncaring world. Razz
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Re: Cynicism

Post by kath on Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:56 pm

I don't think any of us are using any of these words in the same ways.

I was trying to pull definitions, and it doesn't seem like it will be useful, because the words are used in amny different ways in many different contexts.

Glides, it seems like right now you feel like everything sucks and there is no reason to believe that the suckage will ever abate or that there is anything you can do it about it. You think that other people do not thing that everything sucks all the time, and that they believe that things that do suck can sometimes be changed, and that trying to change them is worthwhile. You would like to be described more by the second sentence than the first.

Is that somewhat accurate? If not, could you change the two sentences so to make them accurate?


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Re: Cynicism

Post by Werel on Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:57 pm

reboot wrote:Cynicism is unrelated to optimism. The most cynical people I know are either optimists or pragmatists.

Yup.

Optimism isn't necessarily related to seeing the good in the world. I see a lot of beauty and "light" and magnificent things to be celebrated and cherished in this world, but I'm not an optimist-- I expect bad things to happen, to me and to all those magnificent things. Which makes it easier and more urgent to celebrate them, and the act of celebrating them sometimes helps make all the death & destruction feel a little more bearable. Does that make sense?

So which are you looking to change-- the belief that bad things will happen, or the inability to see and celebrate beauty despite the knowledge that bad things will probably happen?
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Re: Cynicism

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:22 pm

Glides wrote:
Point being, how do I become optimistic? How do I see all the light in the world when I don't see anything but death and destruction?

In order to be optimistic, you first need to get good at having faith. And since faith by definition is a belief that isn't supported by proof, you need to first ask yourself if you'd be willing to put aside your need for concrete evidence just so you can be happier.

Also, death and destruction cannot exist without life and creation. So there is some 'light'. Perceiving it is a skill and it can therefore be trained.

God, I sound like a douche.

I'm still on the search for that one thing about myself I need to fix that will magically fix the millions of other things wrong with me.

I think we both know that there is no singular 'software patch' that'll iron out all the other bugs in your system. There is no magic pill.

Like the other guys have asked, would you like to be more optimistic or less cynical?

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Re: Cynicism

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:25 pm

kath wrote:

Glides, it seems like right now you feel like everything sucks and there is no reason to believe that the suckage will ever abate or that there is anything you can do it about it. You think that other people do not thing that everything sucks all the time, and that they believe that things that do suck can sometimes be changed, and that trying to change them is worthwhile. You would like to be described more by the second sentence than the first.

Is that somewhat accurate? If not, could you change the two sentences so to make them accurate?

There's no feeling, only knowing.

Wait how do I change the sentences?

[quote="Werel"]
reboot wrote:

So which are you looking to change-- the belief that bad things will happen, or the inability to see and celebrate beauty despite the knowledge that bad things will probably happen?

That second one. Bad things happening are inevitable. Good things just aren't really happening. I get tiny little minor successes once in a blue moon, and then I'm questioned as to why I never celebrate my "achievements." Because they're not mindblowing, they're things that happens to everyone.

Get a minimum wage job where I'm treated like shit? You're not happy about that?

Get invited to a conference along with thirty of your classmates? They picked my name out of a hat.

My jerkbrain will not allow me to be happy. If I have a possibility at things working out, fate will either make things happen the worst possible way, or I'll simply ruin it myself because I do not deserve to succeed and be happy in any way.

A girl likes me (in the rare times that it does happen)? I'll find something wrong with her, and if I can't, then I'll simply turn into a complete dick to scare her off. Ladies don't like assholes.

This girl in my class has ironically been making some heavy moves at me, constantly trying to talk about sexual topics during class, it's very odd. She's kinda pretty, so my jerkbrain decided to hit me in my weak spot: my inherently sexist ways.

"Her stomach isn't flat." She is kinda chubby.

"No seriously, her ass is too big." So it is.

So it gets me in the most vulnerable spot, attacking her looks, understanding what a shallow asshole I am. And then it found every other physical flaw about her and constantly told me about them and now I'm completely repulsed by her, all because she was a little chubby with a big ass. And it's not fair to her, she seems kinda nice. But I'm shallow.

Every fucking time it does this. Because she wasn't some perfect supermodel, I became repulsed by her once I realized she was attracted to me. If it was the other way around, the jerkbrain doesn't activate. One-sided attraction is totally OK. One-sided attraction towards me is not. Mutual attraction is the worst.

TL;DR: I'm doomed.

Only silver lining is that ever since what remained of my social life imploded (I am once again mostly alone, almost all of the time. I don't really have friends any more since I scared them all off during my latest mental breakdown), my grades have gotten really good since I have fuck-all else to do except study. But I don't have the best GPA in the school.

That's how it works for me: my jerkbrain is Ricky Bobby. Either you're the best, or you don't matter one bit. And I will never be loved and appreciated in any other context, that much is true. I'm either the greatest filmmaker who ever lived, or I never should've gotten into school in the first place.

But the simple fact remains that there's no real beauty in my life, or whatever you call it. I know we've been down this road, and maybe I'll magically have an epiphany that solves everything, but I won't. Because the jerkbrain is smart, and he knows that Disney was wrong, dreams never come true. And it can use that logic to make me suffer until I die.

I'm just personifying that part of myself because it's easier to process that way, but I don't have schizophrenia. At least that's what Steve, my friend who no one but me can see, says.

We've been going in circles for two years, guys. I'm actually worse off than before I started on the forum.

The Law of Glides: Glides' life gets steadily worse in every way as he gets older, which in turn makes him annoying to be around, which scares off his "friends" because Glides is suddenly such a nasty shit, which leads to Glides feeling worse, which leads to nothing. Because that's all that's in store for Glides: isolation.

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Re: Cynicism

Post by Enail on Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:52 pm

I think seeing beauty, finding things interesting or good, is a skill, and one that I'd imagine is quite useful for a filmmaker (ETA: And actually, I think it's something your writing tends to show in a way, even while you're being negative you can describe things with great ...care? attention? you write about things like they matter) Maybe try practicing observing things to pick out something beautiful/interesting in them? I'd recommend going with emotionally neutral things so that it doesn't get caught up in your fears or self-esteem issues - weather features, objects, people so far out of your demographic that you wouldn't even think about considering them in terms of whether you're attracted to them or comparing yourself to them.

I don't know if you're familiar with the Japanese aesthetic of wabi/sabi? A professor of mine once described it as "the old, the cold and the lonely," the beauty of imperfection and impermanence. A quote I like a lot, from Leonard Cohen "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
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Re: Cynicism

Post by ChrissyOrig on Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:52 am

HermitTheToad wrote:
Glides wrote:
Point being, how do I become optimistic? How do I see all the light in the world when I don't see anything but death and destruction?

In order to be optimistic, you first need to get good at having faith. And since faith by definition is a belief that isn't supported by proof, you need to first ask yourself if you'd be willing to put aside your need for concrete evidence just so you can be happier.

Optimism IMO does not require faith, it means being a visionary. And seeing the vision does not preclude all the hard work it takes to make the vision a reality. This very much relates to filmmaking or any other creative endeavor. The ultimate symbol to me of the optimistic/creative/visionary experience is a painting by Magritte called La Clairvoyance. I look at it every morning and think about what it takes to make the vision happen. Good luck with your endeavors.

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Re: Cynicism

Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:48 am

Enail wrote:I think seeing beauty, finding things interesting or good, is a skill, and one that I'd imagine is quite useful for a filmmaker (ETA: And actually, I think it's something your writing tends to show in a way, even while you're being negative you can describe things with great ...care? attention? you write about things like they matter) Maybe try practicing observing things to pick out something beautiful/interesting in them? I'd recommend going with emotionally neutral things so that it doesn't get caught up in your fears or self-esteem issues - weather features, objects, people so far out of your demographic that you wouldn't even think about considering them in terms of whether you're attracted to them or comparing yourself to them.

I don't know if you're familiar with the Japanese aesthetic of wabi/sabi? A professor of mine once described it as "the old, the cold and the lonely," the beauty of imperfection and impermanence. A quote I like a lot, from Leonard Cohen "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

Been bouncing this idea around a bit. I like it. It's easy enough to spot the beauty in an abstract and fictional tragedy—such things are, after all, still entertainment, even when they're self-pitying propaganda pieces that also hit a little too close to home. It gets harder when it's your own life...but maybe it's worth trying. Hell, maybe it is approximately what I've been trying lately. Something shitty happens, or just the ongoing state of things feels shitty, and among the multiple reactions I simultaneously have to whatever-it-is I try to focus just a little more on the quiet voice that just thinks, "but isn't this kind of an interesting story/poem?" It's temporary, because I always eventually snap back to the reality that it isn't all that abstract—it's a thing that is happening, either to other people or to myself—but the impermanence is poetic, too. And I squeeze a few more moments of not-caring out of it by marveling at how everything is temporary, followed by recursive chuckling at the whoa man that's deep-ness of trivial/tautological observations.

Anyway. Guess it sounds to me like Glides is describing a life without joy, not a life without beauty. Still not a fun thing to be stuck with, but the distinction is meaningful if we're looking for solutions or harm-reductions.
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Re: Cynicism

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:32 am

ChrissyOrig wrote:
Optimism IMO does not require faith, it means being a visionary. And seeing the vision does not preclude all the hard work it takes to make the vision a reality. This very much relates to filmmaking or any other creative endeavor. The ultimate symbol to me of the optimistic/creative/visionary experience is a painting by Magritte called La Clairvoyance. I look at it every morning and think about what it takes to make the vision happen. Good luck with your endeavors.

Sounds a lot like, "You can be anything you want to be as long as you work hard for it".

Yeah, no thanks. Not everyone gets to have what they think they want.

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Re: Cynicism

Post by ChrissyOrig on Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:01 am

HermitTheToad wrote:
ChrissyOrig wrote:
Optimism IMO does not require faith, it means being a visionary. And seeing the vision does not preclude all the hard work it takes to make the vision a reality. This very much relates to filmmaking or any other creative endeavor. The ultimate symbol to me of the optimistic/creative/visionary experience is a painting by Magritte called La Clairvoyance. I look at it every morning and think about what it takes to make the vision happen. Good luck with your endeavors.

Sounds a lot like, "You can be anything you want to be as long as you work hard for it".

Yeah, no thanks. Not everyone gets to have what they think they want.

No idea how you're getting that message. Does not make sense to me. From my experience: Almost no one gets everything they want. Hard-working visionaries generally get some things they want. People without vision, from what I've observed, tend to get things they've randomly stumbled into or things other people have deigned they deserve.

HtT, if you feel that you don't get to have what you think you want, so be it. I'm concerned about Glides, who has demonstrated on numerous occasions through his writing that he has a strong creative force. I suspect that he also has the visionary force to succeed in creating interesting work, but (like all of us) has other parts of himself in conflict with the visionary, creative force. So, to Glides I say: Good luck with your endeavors.

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Re: Cynicism

Post by reboot on Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:14 am

HermitTheToad wrote:
ChrissyOrig wrote:
Optimism IMO does not require faith, it means being a visionary. And seeing the vision does not preclude all the hard work it takes to make the vision a reality. This very much relates to filmmaking or any other creative endeavor. The ultimate symbol to me of the optimistic/creative/visionary experience is a painting by Magritte called La Clairvoyance. I look at it every morning and think about what it takes to make the vision happen. Good luck with your endeavors.

Sounds a lot like, "You can be anything you want to be as long as you work hard for it".

Yeah, no thanks. Not everyone gets to have what they think they want.

Of course most people do not get what they think they want or even what they know they want. It is a series of compromises between what you desire and what you can achieve that are occasionally completely reset by luck, either good or bad. Some people get all or most of what they want through effort and/or luck and some get little to nothing of what they want and have to make the best of what they have, even if they never wanted any of it.

Glides might have the talent to become a great filmmaker or he might have what it takes to survive as a filmmaker but will never be known as great or may never be known at all by anyone outside the industry or he might wash up and change fields. But without the vision of becoming a filmmaker he would never try.
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Re: Cynicism

Post by Enail on Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:08 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
Been bouncing this idea around a bit. I like it. It's easy enough to spot the beauty in an abstract and fictional tragedy—such things are, after all, still entertainment, even when they're self-pitying propaganda pieces that also hit a little too close to home. It gets harder when it's your own life...but maybe it's worth trying. Hell, maybe it is approximately what I've been trying lately. Something shitty happens, or just the ongoing state of things feels shitty, and among the multiple reactions I simultaneously have to whatever-it-is I try to focus just a little more on the quiet voice that just thinks, "but isn't this kind of an interesting story/poem?" It's temporary, because I always eventually snap back to the reality that it isn't all that abstract—it's a thing that is happening, either to other people or to myself—but the impermanence is poetic, too. And I squeeze a few more moments of not-caring out of it by marveling at how everything is temporary, followed by recursive chuckling at the whoa man that's deep-ness of trivial/tautological observations.

Anyway. Guess it sounds to me like Glides is describing a life without joy, not a life without beauty. Still not a fun thing to be stuck with, but the distinction is meaningful if we're looking for solutions or harm-reductions.

I see your point to some degree. I was talking about beauty b/c that's where things landed in trying to get more precise - the ability to see and celebrate beauty despite the knowledge that bad things will happen - but I do also think the ability to see beauty is pretty related to the ability to take joy. Not just beauty, either - humour, curiousity, joy, they're all connected to me, anything you can appreciate is a kind of happiness. Some people are just happy people; the bad things weigh less to them, or they have a belief system that  comforts them that the good things matter more in the long run, or they can set them aside and not notice or worry about them and just go back to enjoying the good things. But if you're not a natural optimist, if you're someone who notices the negatives and doesn't believe there's a greater meaning to make it better, as I am, I think you kind of need to be able to turn that noticing to the good things as well in order to be able to find joy even when there are bad things. And sometimes you need to step out of your own head and look at other things to do it.

If you're having the worst day in the world, decide to make yourself a comforting cup of tea, go to get a spoon and come back to find a dozen ants have drowned themselves in your cup, and your tea is ruined, everything is awful. If you're having the worst day in the world, decide to make yourself a comforting cup of tea, go to get a spoon and come back to find  a dozen ants have drowned themselves in your cup, and you can laugh your head of at how ridiculous a final straw that is, or you can be amazed and awed at how ant societies are so driven to explore and discover that they'll send worker after worker to drown in your tea just to make sure there isn't really something wonderful at the bottom, if they can just survive the perils - then you live in an amazing world, even if it tends to demonstrate its amazingness by hitting you upside the head.
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Re: Cynicism

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:55 am

@ChrissyOrig: For some reason I thought you were talking to me. I'd argue my point further but I'd only be derailing even more.

In any case, it's not my intention to discourage Glides from gunning for whatever he wants in life.

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Re: Cynicism

Post by ChrissyOrig on Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:41 pm

HermitTheToad wrote:@ChrissyOrig: For some reason I thought you were talking to me.

Oh, yes, I can see that now. Sorry about that. I'll try to be clearer in the future. [I'm just really concerned about Glides.]

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Re: Cynicism

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:31 pm

ChrissyOrig wrote:
HermitTheToad wrote:@ChrissyOrig: For some reason I thought you were talking to me.

Oh, yes, I can see that now. Sorry about that. I'll try to be clearer in the future. [I'm just really concerned about Glides.]

Getting anywhere in any industry is basically a giant gamble, whether or not you'd like to admit that. And I don't really have any kind of delusions that I'll be the next great voice of cinema or some bullshit, even though I'd very much like that.

Needless to say, it's all futile, but I really don't have any other option. Until I know that I have definitively no chance of getting anywhere, I can't give up. Every other aspect of my life is a nonexistent wreck, I will not let this become part of that. I am a failure in every other capacity, and it's the tiny little possibility that I could justify my failings by being some great genius artist or something. "Oh no, Glides wasn't bad with women, he just wasn't on the same level mannnnnn." Like that.

Now, the difference is that I genuinely have no interest in being famous, that's not the goal. It's to make as many films as possible that are moving, that emotionally impact the audiences that watch it, that create a positive change in people because of it, therefore justifying my existence. M. Night Shyamalan is famous, Tommy Wiseau is famous. Directors like Edgar Wright and Alfonso Cuaron wouldn't be recognized in the street and they've made some of the most incredible films of the last decade and had financial success. I don't want to be rich, I want to be comfortable. I don't want to be famous, I want to be appreciated.

So I absolutely have an ego, and I was in denial about it for a while. But the possibility that I could make something great, that tiny .000000000000000000000000000000001% chance that I could do it, that's basically the only thing keeping me alive day to day. Pure simply irrational hope. I can't conceivably imagine how i'll do it.

Actually, I had a moment similar to Enail described yesterday. I'd just completed yet another horrifying shift at work, where I accidentally spilled coffee and I was threatened with being fired because of it, and the other employees talking about how stupid I was, and just how fucking hopeless everything is for me right now, and how I really should just end it all but for whatever reason I don't. And I wandered like a drunkard to my car, and sat in the seat, and was just about to have myself a good cry, and I suddenly thought about how fucking horrible everything in my life is and just burst out laughing. I laughed harder than I've laughed in a long time.

"Yeah, I bet all of this suffering is meant to justify success later, right?"

And I kept laughing, hitting my head against the steering wheel.

"Yeah, that's why no one likes me, because I'm going to find the perfect person for me when I'm fucking fifty!"

Harder laughing. It was all just too much. It was irrational and I didn't care.

"You should die tonight, any night, any day, you should've died before you hit puberty and you didn't, you stupid shit!"

And this went on and on, just marveling at the sheer horror of it all, and just how completely fucked in half I am, and how I've basically backed myself into a corner.

I really must be a masochistic asshole, because I'm still alive, and I'm going to be alive tomorrow and the day after that and for a very long time, and I really must like suffering if I'm still here, because that's all I've got. If suffering was a currency, I'd make Bill Gates look like a hobo. You just hit the point where nothing hurts you anymore, where you stop caring because HOW MUCH WORSE CAN IT GET? And you realize it could in fact get much worse, how I could have no shelter and no car and no food and no nothing and no health. I'm not grateful, it's just funny. I don't know why.

And I'm placing all of my bets on a dying industry in a dying artform, which nobody gives a fuck about. And everyone else in my class loves TV and the golden age of cinema, and yeah, I'd direct a TV episode or two if I could, I just wouldn't like it. And the medium that I fell in love with is an old and outdated media that's falling to pieces so fast that entire industries are falling apart. The VFX industry is mostly gone apart from ILM. There's less than a hundred film composers currently working. Only a few thousand directors making a living off of it. Screenwriters are having their work stolen left and right, everyone is running to television as a last ditch resort. Movies are dying and I had the bad luck of growing up exactly when it dies.

And I continually say I'm doomed and no one believes me because no one knows what it's like to be me. And I don't know what it's like to be you, I can't say I'm suffering worse than you. But it hurts worse to be me than anyone else's pain that I know, becuase I don't know what it feels like to be anyone else.

Besides, cinema's the only thing that makes me feel connected anymore, I actually think good movies and good media of any kind is what is keeping me even remotely sane, because without it, I'd be dead now. I need that one film that gives me an emotional catharsis, just to see something raw and human, when I don't see a single shred of genuine human empathy anywhere else (this includes myself). I'm not seeing it where I live.

I'm basically isolated, not physically but mentally, like feeling lonely when I really shouldn't be. I don't feel a single shred of a connection to any other living being right now. It's not apathy, because I want to care, and that's the closest I get to it. But I just don't feel, it's all muted right now, all being repressed instinctively. And so I watch any film that's reccomended to me and then I watch a great one and feel something again, because goddamn do films seem to feel more than real people now. You're seeing imaginary people reveal their real naked fucked up selves to you, that's what cinema is for. And that's why I'm delusional and I want to do that too, because a little boy saw a movie one day, and that film suddenly made him feel less alone for the first time in his life. He entertained the possibility that maybe he wasn't alone in his misery. And then he wanted to do the same thing, because he desperately wanted to find people like him, people who would just tell him, "It's OK. You're one of us. I feel how you feel."

I mean, it's a delusion, but it's a really nice one.

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Re: Cynicism

Post by Enail on Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:13 pm

Your story reminds me a lot of http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2013/05/depression-part-two.html.


I'm basically isolated, not physically but mentally, like feeling lonely when I really shouldn't be. I don't feel a single shred of a connection to any other living being right now. It's not apathy, because I want to care, and that's the closest I get to it. But I just don't feel, it's all muted right now, all being repressed instinctively. And so I watch any film that's reccomended to me and then I watch a great one and feel something again, because goddamn do films seem to feel more than real people now. You're seeing imaginary people reveal their real naked fucked up selves to you, that's what cinema is for. And that's why I'm delusional and I want to do that too, because a little boy saw a movie one day, and that film suddenly made him feel less alone for the first time in his life. He entertained the possibility that maybe he wasn't alone in his misery. And then he wanted to do the same thing, because he desperately wanted to find people like him, people who would just tell him, "It's OK. You're one of us. I feel how you feel."

I mean, it's a delusion, but it's a really nice one.

Somebody made those movies. People are out there making stories one way or another, however they can, and people are out there desperately watching those stories, or reading them, or listening to them, whatever, reaching out for feelings of connection and meaning. It doesn't seem that delusional to think there are other people like you out there.
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Re: Cynicism

Post by trooper6 on Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:05 pm

Glides wrote:
Point being, how do I become optimistic? How do I see all the light in the world when I don't see anything but death and destruction?

Glides wrote:
Bad things happening are inevitable. Good things just aren't really happening. I get tiny little minor successes once in a blue moon, and then I'm questioned as to why I never celebrate my "achievements." Because they're not mindblowing, they're things that happens to everyone.

First thing's first. If you have clinical depression, then your jerk brain is a chemical situation and you can't just will away chemical situations. So if this is chemical, then fighting chemistry with chemistry would probably be the better way to do. Talk to your therapist.

That said, here are my thoughts for those not suffering from a chemical thing and struggling with this issue.

When I was in middle school, someone gave me a quote that always stuck with me. Now, this quote was given to me in the early 80s, so I don't remember the exact wording, but it was basically: A surefire way to be depressed is to spend too much time thinking about ones self.

So note the two quotes here. Glides you start with "How do I see all the light in the world" (A comment about the world in general) and then morph "Good things just aren't really happening" (which can still be a comment about the world in general) to "I get tiny little minor successes..." which clarifies you seem to really be talking about you. Other people have successes, but you don't.

I am an optimist. There is a lot of sucky stuff in the world. And sucky stuff happens to me. And right now I'm in crazy stress that is freaking me out. And I'm a person of color in the US in a time when dudes like me are shot by the police and people argue that that is totally fine. But the world is not only about me. And the world is not only now. When I get depressed about racism, I remember, my mother had to drink out of a colored watering fountain when she was a kid. And black people were just regularly straight up lynched in town squares...NOT THAT LONG AGO. It has gotten better.

When I was in the Army I knew friends put in prison for being gay. Earlier than that queer people were considered to have a mental illness and given electroshock therapy and institutionalized. Now gay people are allowed to be in the Army and there is better queer representation and gay marriage is creeping across the country. It has gotten better.

Before the 1970s it was legal to rape your wife. Sexual Harassment was legal. Women could be fired for getting pregnant. Women could be excluded from being on juries because they were women. You couldn't divorce without proving some liability. Women couldn't go to college. Women couldn't wear pants. We still live under patriarchy that oppresses women, but it is better.

As MLK said. "The Arc of the Moral Universe is long but it bends towards justice."

That is on the socio-political picture.
On the aesthetic picture. There is so much beauty in the world. Whenever I want to be reminded of that, I go walk in nature or I listen to music. I cannot think there is no beauty in the world when I listen to someone singing music of the Baroque composer Barbara Strozzi, or Nina Simone. Or when I see someone really good dance!

I haven't dated anyone in about...14 years. And just because I'm trans, a LOT of people would never want to date me. I may never have the opportunity to date again. I have to put my tenure packet in June 1st and my book isn't done yet. If I don't have a finished manuscript and a book contract I will lose my job. And if you get turned down for tenure at one institution it is hard to get a job at any other institution...you become damaged goods. And the academic job market is especially terrible. My father died suddenly last December and now both my parents are dead. All the family I have left are on the other side of the country. None of my close friends live near me. I could go on and on and on. But that is just me fixating on myself. And that is not a way to find beauty in the world.

Instead, I turn on my current jams and let myself have some time just listening to music and thinking about the amazingness of craft in that work of art. Or I go get some really great tasting food and just enjoy that. Or I think about those people who have sacrificed for others, those who have done heroic things. I mean, we live in a world where people stand up to save other people's lives. We live in a world with gross people...but also amazing people. We live in a world with forests and mountains and rivers...and beaches! The ocean!

And then I do things. I work on my tenure packet (or my Visual Novel). I do class prep. I grade. I do some mentoring of my students. I help other people. I put beauty in the world by engaging in acts of kindness.


Last edited by trooper6 on Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:00 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Cynicism

Post by OneTrueGuest on Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:43 pm

Trooper - speaking of beauty this is a beautiful post and a much more in depth and accurate explanation to what I've been telling Glides for months, about thinking outside of himself, about tasking himself to see if he can add more kindness to the world, what can he do to for others. The way, as you say, to not only to survive in this world but thrive is to realise it is so much bigger than us. Honestly I can't add onto what you said because you said it so wonderfully. I just really wanted to post and say "Yes! This!" And to tell you thank you. What you wrote today has added to that beauty that can be found in the world Smile .


(and as a small pep talk, as someone constantly up against writing book deadlines - in fact I need to finish my novel today [ack!] - you can do it!! The feeling of it being almost impossible to hit the deadline means you are right on track to hit the deadline! Smile )

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Re: Cynicism

Post by Guest on Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:58 pm

trooper6 wrote:
Glides wrote:
Point being, how do I become optimistic? How do I see all the light in the world when I don't see anything but death and destruction?

Glides wrote:
Bad things happening are inevitable. Good things just aren't really happening. I get tiny little minor successes once in a blue moon, and then I'm questioned as to why I never celebrate my "achievements." Because they're not mindblowing, they're things that happens to everyone.

First thing's first. If you have clinical depression, then your jerk brain is a chemical situation and you can't just will away chemical situations. So if this is chemical, then fighting chemistry with chemistry would probably be the better way to do. Talk to your therapist.

That said, here are my thoughts for those not suffering from a chemical thing and struggling with this issue.

When I was in middle school, someone gave me a quote that always stuck with me. Now, this quote was given to me in the early 80s, so I don't remember the exact wording, but it was basically: A surefire way to be depressed is to spend too much time thinking about ones self.

So note the two quotes here. Glides you start with "How do I see all the light in the world" (A comment about the world in general) and then morph "Good things just aren't really happening" (which can still be a comment about the world in general) to "I get tiny little minor successes..." which clarifies you seem to really be talking about you. Other people have successes, but you don't.

I am an optimist. There is a lot of sucky stuff in the world. And sucky stuff happens to me. And right now I'm in crazy stress that is freaking me out. And I'm a person of color in the US in a time when dudes like me are shot by the police and people argue that that is totally fine. But the world is not only about me. And the world is not only now. When I get depressed about racism, I remember, my mother had to drink out of a colored watering fountain when she was a kid. And black people were just regularly straight up lynched in town squares...NOT THAT LONG AGO. It has gotten better.

When I was in the Army I knew friends put in prison for being gay. Earlier than that queer people were considered to have a mental illness and given electroshock therapy and institutionalized. Now gay people are allowed to be in the Army and there is better queer representation and gay marriage is creeping across the country. It has gotten better.

Before the 1970s it was legal to rape your wife. Sexual Harassment was legal. Women could be fired for getting pregnant. Women could be excluded from being on juries because they were women. You couldn't divorce without proving some liability. Women couldn't go to college. Women couldn't wear pants. We still live under patriarchy that oppresses women, but it is better.

As MLK said. "The Arc of the Moral Universe is long but it bends towards justice."

That is on the socio-political picture.
On the aesthetic picture. There is so much beauty in the world. Whenever I want to be reminded of that, I go walk in nature or I listen to music. I cannot think there is no beauty in the world when I listen to someone singing music of the Baroque composer Barbara Strozzi, or Nina Simone. Or when I see someone really good dance!

I haven't dated anyone in about...14 years. And just because I'm trans, a LOT of people would never want to date me. I may never have the opportunity to date again. I have to put my tenure packet in June 1st and my book isn't done yet. If I don't have a finished manuscript and a book contract I will lose my job. And if you get turned down for tenure at one institution it is hard to get a job at any other institution...you become damaged goods. And the academic job market is especially terrible. My father died suddenly last December and now both my parents are dead. All the family I have left are on the other side of the country. None of my close friends live near me. I could go on and on and on. But that is just me fixating on myself. And that is not a way to find beauty in the world.

Instead, I turn on my current jams and let myself have some time just listening to music and thinking about the amazingness of craft in that work of art. Or I go get some really great tasting food and just enjoy that. Or I think about those people who have sacrificed for others, those who have done heroic things. I mean, we live in a world where people stand up to save other people's lives. We live in a world with gross people...but also amazing people. We live in a world with forests and mountains and rivers...and beaches! The ocean!

And then I do things. I work on my tenure packet (or my Visual Novel). I do class prep. I grade. I do some mentoring of my students. I help other people. I put beauty in the world by engaging in acts of kindness.

I was trying to figure out what I could cut out to properly respond, but I couldn't cut anything.

Firstly: undoubtedly I'm very self-centered, and I guess a better way to rephrase what I previously said was "I can't see any beauty in myself, since I am the only world I know." Something pretentious like that. But I'm completely full of myself and accepting that I'm probably a narcissist has actually made me more empathetic in some cases, because I can catch on when I'm about to start thinking of myself first. I want to be more empathetic, it's just that I'm so used to being a self-serving individual.

Case in point of the tiny amount of progress I've made: I had a bit of a breakdown today, and was this close to messaging someone I cared about deeply and ruining their day because I wanted to be validated. I wanted attention, I wanted to be cared about, the whole nine yards, I was thinking only of myself. And I thought, "you know, said person is already in a bad mood, and what I'm doing would make it much worse for them." And they've been there for me in the past and dealt with my bullshit, being an ungrateful little shit that I am. And so I didn't. And I was somehow able to calm myself down.

To be fair, I really had no idea that I'd sort of accidentally stumbled on a possible way to improve myself, and I'd never been told anything like that before. Generally the advice from god knows how many dating sites is to fix yourself, fix yourself. Fix your body, fix your mind, don't be a coward, yadda yadda yadda. But it doesn't make you a very inviting person, doesn't make you open to opportunity. So you basically contextualized it in a way that made me understand myself even better.

So I deeply appreciate that, and you know it takes a lot for me to be even a little bit vulnerable in any circumstance.

The mistake I've made the entire time was saying "what's the world doing for me?" And I know I'm taking this from JFK's speechwriter, but I need to do more for the world, eliminate all desires, that kind of Buddhist deal.

And I also don't want to come off as the kind of person who would say my problems are worse than other people's problems, even though I end up implying so when I get really pissed off. I wish I had the kind of empathy you have, honestly, with so much against you and still remaining optimistic. And I think another problem I have is that I'm a little too used to people pretending to be empathetic, pretending to know the kind of pain you're feeling while having none of it. And those people always are able to turn any of your problems into a segue into their problems, which just goes to the other extreme. I'm a little too used to that from people, this extreme narcissism that a lot of people have, so it's deeply refreshing to see something genuine in response, and not many people would open themselves up like that. So I'm definitely grateful.

And I can't guarantee that I'll be a perfect little angel and never do anything bad again (though I hope I don't), but all the same, you and me don't have the same kind of pain, not even close, but that doesn't mean that neither of our experiences aren't valuable. So thanks again for that.

And don't expect me to be so lovey dovey again for a while, so count yourself very lucky that you have a talent for being able to express things in a way I haven't heard before Razz

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Re: Cynicism

Post by reboundstudent on Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:12 am

Glides wrote:I'm gonna try to make this constructive.

So anyway, I'm really cynical. Really pessimistic. You all know this and know exactly why.

Point being, how do I become optimistic? How do I see all the light in the world when I don't see anything but death and destruction?


I try by finding things that make me laugh, both at the world and at myself. I try to find things that bring me joy; even if they aren't strictly "optimistic" things, things that make me feel "That was an hour of my life I am glad I have" is a big improvement.

Here, I got us a gif that makes me double over with laughter every time. Meet Henri the Existential Cat:

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Re: Cynicism

Post by trooper6 on Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:45 pm

Glides wrote:
And I can't guarantee that I'll be a perfect little angel and never do anything bad again (though I hope I don't), but all the same, you and me don't have the same kind of pain, not even close, but that doesn't mean that neither of our experiences aren't valuable. So thanks again for that.

And don't expect me to be so lovey dovey again for a while, so count yourself very lucky that you have a talent for being able to express things in a way I haven't heard before Razz

Thanks for the kind words!
I just want to add though, that you don't have to be perfect. No one can be perfect. Just try to be a bit better each time. And sometimes you won't succeed at that--because we all mess up ("To err is human..." and all that). But we just keep working to be better. And that is good!

Since you are feeling lovey dove, Jedi hugs to you! (and also fist bumps!)

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