Extreme poverty is a complex problem with many factors requiring a variety of approaches. Finding solutions requires money, time and effort. Obviously it is far easier to just throw up your hands and declare that it can’t be done. Usually this dramatic claim is made by someone who has refused to do anything. They have not gotten involved or made any effort at all and yet they stand back, with self-righteous indignation, and declare that trying to save “those people over there” is a waste of time.

Cynicism always takes the easy way out. It is a form of laziness that provides someone with an excuse for not making any attempt to change the world. Cynicism never makes anything better – only worse. It is a destructive attitude that can spread into a mob mentality because it thrives in numbers. Being cynical about improving the lives of one billion human beings serves no purpose. In fact, in the case of extreme poverty, cynicism can cost people their lives. When a destructive attitude prevents someone from helping, or even worse influences others to not get involved, the snow ball effect can be life threatening for the millions desperately waiting for help.

Cynicism is a way to hide. It is a way to ignore reality. It cannot stand up to the truth so it avoids it. A cynic has their mind made up even before they learn all the facts, and they refuse to let concrete information change their way of thinking. They are not emotionally strong enough to admit that they are wrong about our ability to save the lives of innocent children. They stubbornly cling to their belief that donating time, money and effort does no good in the struggle against poverty. They would rather save face than save lives.

Cynics are afraid to care. They don’t want to make an emotional investment in other people’s lives. They are self-absorbed, preferring to focus exclusively on their own problems; therefore, they use their selfish attitude to keep people who need their help at arm’s length. They can’t be bothered with engaging in a cause that is bigger than them. They can’t look beyond their own small life and see that the entire world needs to come together to stop the death and suffering of extreme poverty. So, instead, they pass judgment on anyone who is trying to make a difference. They ridicule the efforts of individuals and organizations that are working hard under incredibly difficult circumstances to save as many lives as possible as fast as they can. They continually state that the eradication extreme poverty is impossible. In their ignorance they loudly proclaim that it simply can’t be done.

What if they are right? What if we can’t entirely eliminate extreme poverty in our lifetime? Does that mean we shouldn’t even try? Does that mean the cynical point of view is correct?…Of course not. Even if we fail to totally eliminate the atrocity of poverty we can still make the effort and save millions of lives. Every life has value. Every life is important. And, although we may fail on some levels, we can still save lives on a far greater scale than we are currently doing. Every life that is saved is a victory.

Cynicism doesn’t just occur in individuals it also happens in governments, institutions and organizations, and if enough cynicism is present then the negative attitude begins to infect the entire group. At that point the effectiveness of these various entities is undermined. When an entire collection of people such as a government become cynical about offering help to those in extreme poverty the results can be tragic. Unfortunately, once cynicism begins to prevail it is very difficult to change the negative atmosphere that takes hold. Once entrenched, cynicism begins to run rampant. It takes over with a destructive stranglehold that forces out reason and compassion.

Being cynical is often thought of as being composed and detached. It is considered to be a sign of sophistication. Cynics are mistakenly given credit for possessing a deep awareness regarding the limits of what humans can accomplish which is somehow lacking in those who spend their time in passionate efforts to change the world. However, there is nothing reasonable about standing by and letting one million human beings die every 34 days. There is nothing self-controlled about allowing 25,000 children to die needlessly each day. There is nothing rational about coldly turning your back as 10,950,000 human beings die each year from extreme poverty. In fact, it is the height of conceit and arrogance to think that you are so smart that you see something that the people who bravely fight against all odds to improve the lives of other fail to see. The cynic is the one who is blind. He is blind to the suffering of others. He is blind to the misery of millions. He is blind to the faces of small children who starve to death in the dirt.

Being a cynic is a pathetic way to live because you miss out on so much. You fail to connect with others who are attempting to do something important and worthwhile. You waste your time and your abilities trying to discourage others in their efforts to make life better for those living without hope. You complain about the way things are, but you don’t lift a finger to change those things. You criticize what you don’t understand instead of taking the time and trouble to learn the facts. You go through life without striving for anything more than your own self-fulfillment, and all the while you judge those who are trying to save the lives of innocent children. Being filled with cynicism is indeed a cowardly and sad way to go through life. It takes true moral courage to care about others in a cynical world.




2 thoughts on “CYNICISM

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more, cynicism does kill. As a part of our operations, we feed 556 children daily. For most of these children, this is the only meal they have per day and in t6he village, water is a serious problem. Many occasions we’ve found ourselves stranded for water to cook for the children and despite water being available in a neighbouring town and on many farms around us, many couldn’t or wouldn’t believe that so close by kids were starving due to a lack of water. On such days, I’ve had to literally hold crying children; children who were hungry and send them away. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life and it haunts still. Even as I type this, I can still see their faces on those days and hear their cries in my ears…

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