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Jun 06, 2019 20:53:17

What's the cure(s) for an optimism-deficit age?

by @jasonleow | 474 words | 348🔥 | 386💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 348🔥
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Parent post: Cynicism

I like @keenencharles recent post about cynicism. It made me sit up and reflect:

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.

I commented:

@keenencharles I agree. The creep of cynicism in this day is so pervasive. I find myself knee deep in it without even realising. What might be some personal practices to counter cynicism?

It's a timely reminder, especially for myself. It's easy to fall into cynicism and apathy in this age. So easy that I'm already in it without knowing. I think it might be due to a few reasons:

  • Too few trusted sources of information and news of high integrity and ethical standards
  • Polarised fighting online - it's not even a discussion anymore, just people taking positions and dissing each other
  • Catastrophes as what's considered newsworthy, and too few inspiring sources of optimism
  • Harder to find people to hang out with, who are genuinely and sincerely hopeful of the world
  • Ever-quickening pace of life, and forgetting how to stop and rest, and not let cynicism overwhelm you

Just making this list was kind of a relief, and felt helpful, for me at least. Being able to identify something and call it by its true name(s), is to start on the path to healing and resolution. If optimism is the moral opposite of cynicism, so in order to solve cynicism, perhaps I can seek out the opposite:  

  • Where are the trustworthy news channels with high journalistic ethical standards? This one is difficult for me. The Guardian? Vox? Anyone knows?
  • The only safe places I experienced recently had been some (some, not all) newer, niche-topic forums, Telegram groups and Slack communities. But those are about niche topics, not exactly places where people talk about the state of the world/country/society etc. Where are good places to read about issues where people are civil?
  • Where are the sources of inspiration and optimism? It doesn't have to be news. I know a few - On Being, Mindfulness Bell. Many spiritual/religious publications or magazines fall into this. Wish to read more secular ones like On Being. Where are they?
  • Find meetups and communities where optimistic people are. Maybe some meditation groups? Maybe "Optimistic People meetup" are not exactly search terms that will show up. What roles/jobs would they have, where would these people naturally gather?
  • Scheduling time to unplug, stop and rest. Moderate social media and news consumption daily. Walk away from anything toxic, but don't shy away from things that's difficult or uncomfortable to my own worldview (and being able to tell the difference). 

What else? I hardly think this list is exhaustive, or if I even thought this through. Suggestions, tips and links welcomed! ;)

From Jason Leow's collection:

  • 1

    @jasonleow I think you sum up the reasons for it perfectly.

    "Walk away from anything toxic, but don't shy away from things that's difficult or uncomfortable to my own worldview (and being able to tell the difference). "
    This really resonated with me. Being able to tell the difference is the biggest challenge. A lot of times you're not sure until it's too late.

    I've noticed how much just talking with more optimistic people helps. You begin to shed the veil of cynicism that clouds everything and see their point of view. You might not always agree with their positions but it gives you some hope. And a little hope goes a long way to being more optimistic.

    Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Jun 06, 2019 22:20:23
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      @keenencharles yes exactly, I think that discernment is a new muscle to develop in this new age. People as vessels of optimism have outsized leverage compared to reading online, isn't it? The challenge seems to be...where are all of them?! Any idea on where to find them? I don't suppose they are on Meetup haha

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 07, 2019 22:52:58
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      @jasonleow No idea where they all gather. I just googled optimistic meetups and there's actually a whole page for it 😂

      Some actually sound decent maybe there's a market for it...

      Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Jun 07, 2019 18:32:01
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      @keenencharles love the instinct at smelling market opportunity! ;)

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 08, 2019 22:39:38
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