Cynicism is a hallmark of our time. As a response to the absurdities of the world, many of us have become distrusting of everything. We've lost faith in humanity and the structures of modern society.
It seems a natural reaction to the changes in the world. We live in a time of unlimited access to information. News that could be carefully crafted and slowly disseminated before is now available instantly. There are fewer storylines being told. We've seen the cracks in the stories we grew up with. Our historical heroes are human now, riddled with faults and mistakes. When faced with a world where you know a lot and yet can't trust most of it you respond in kind.
We're naturally inclined to protect ourselves. Change our natural tendencies to suit the world around us. So we grow cynical as we push against the boundaries of the world and find the limits.
But cynicism infects everything. Not just our view of the larger society but our views of each other and ourselves. We grow weary and sceptical of trying because the system isn't fair. Our bad experiences are calcified into poor judgement. To protect ourselves we lose our innocence and assume the recurrence of past hurts in others.
It's human. But something we can consciously fight against. There's a balance to be achieved between realistic views of society and each other and optimism and belief in our potential. It's our true selves but we lose it due to the disappointments of reality. Maybe it's best to retain that idealism. You might leave yourself open to future hurt, but you also leave room for future potential.