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Hope Vs cynicism

I always believe no matter how bad things get, they'll get better, one day. That the natural flow of life is towards a positive charge. That despite naysayers calling this the Kalyug, good will prevail at the end. Shalini Singh writes.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2010 01:12 IST
Shalini Singh

A friend's Facebook status message the other day got me thinking. It read: "Is cynicism an easy way to behave like an intellectual? What is the difference between the spirit of inquiry versus cynicism?"

My own case was: "A spirit of inquiry demands a certain child-like enthusiasm that things will change to become better, a cynic resigns himself to the fact that they won't. Nothing makes him wonder, something has died within him."

I always believe no matter how bad things get, they'll get better, one day. That the natural flow of life is towards a positive charge. That despite naysayers calling this the Kalyug, good will prevail at the end.

At a party recently, a history student asked me to explain my job to her. The fact that I'm a journalist wasn't enough.

I didn't want to sound like a hack, throwing jargon, so I tried to say it as simply, "We write about life", and immediately found myself adding, "Our greatest battle as we go along is to keep that wonder about life alive, so we are enthused about the story ideas we propose and eventually write. Because, as you go along, from idealism to perhaps a certain sense of realism, it's easy to fall into a rut -- to propose and write without any sense of enthusiasm. You will find the maximum number of cynics in this profession, and if a journalist worth his ink wants to make even a minor positive change in society, his greatest battle isn't with the world he writes about, it's first with himself."

Well, she scuttled off immediately. And as I came out of my reverie, I realised this had been a reality check for me. How do you fight off cynicism in life in general?

I've picked out three quotations: Hope, deceitful as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route; In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments; and once you choose hope, anything's possible.

Choose yours.