I was taught that if I wasn’t sure of the answer that the best way to take a test was to rule out what I knew to be false. Sometimes simply posing the question differently makes all the difference, especially when I have been asked cynical questions by community members that have firmly given up. Testing the Values of Cynicism in Community Art….This is how I posit responses to cynical thinking which is toxic (and often contagious and convincing if not addressed immediately.)
“Why bother painting a mural?- the kids will just graffiti over it” I’m not sure if the kids will just graffiti over it … but I know the answer to this. “Will ignoring the graffiti make less graffiti?” Solid No. “Will a mural express more neighbors’ viewpoints and will it inspire?” Yes. And usually the kids won’t graffiti over it.
“Why waste your time teaching those kids?- they don’t care to want to learn or better themselves.” I’m not sure … but I know the answer to “Will ignoring the kids make them smarter?” Solid No. “Will exposure to new ideas lead to smarter kids” Yes.
“The trash will just pile up again – what’s the point in even trying to clean it up? I’m not sure… but I know the answer to “Will ignoring the trash make less trash in park?” “Would you rather look at something beautiful or sit in broken glass and trash than look at something beautiful?” Solid No. “Will less trash in park make it safer and encourage more people to use park? Yes.
Countering cynicism helps me maintain my can do attitude…. without it the status quo wins.
Will not caring about others, beauty, education and safety make our lives better?
How do you combat cynicism within yourself?
remember changes from the past Posted by Alyssa
Cynicism can be a self fulfilling prophecy if you use it as an excuse to not even try. Cultural habits can change- people don’t smoke cigarettes like they used to, for instance. Societal structure can change- slavery was abolished, for instance. It took persistence and fight, but it happened. That’s all I need to think about to chase away cynical thoughts.
Time to put an end to this age of cynicism and scorn
The West is living through an age of plenty but voices of optimism and joy struggle to be heard