The Easy Road to Cynicism, and the Perilous Expedition Getting Back

“The adventure begins,” I thought to myself while sitting on the couch after working hard to get my apartment furnished and in order. One would think I was referring to the idea of being an adult, independent, beginning a new life of being self-supportive. However, in this case, my thoughts were of something else entirely. The adventure was of me completely abandoning my pessimistic ways and completing my metamorphosis into a real idealist. I honestly didn’t think it was possible.

There is a running joke between myself and my fiancee where I, in a self-deprecating manner, call out my own 17-year-old identity whenever he bubbles to the surface. This age was peak cynic for me. Matt the Detractor, Matt the Skeptic, Matt the Pessimist, Matt the True Hipster, Matt the Overthinker.

Matt the Confused.

This is not self-loathing. On the contrary, I understand now that this was an important step in my journey towards being the better person that my creator wants of me, but it doesn’t mean I like myself when my brain goes into fact-checking mode. It is a sign of insecurity in yourself when all you can do is try to prove others wrong using facts and statistics, however true they may be. To do so expresses a kind of high arrogance, an assumption that your methodological way of viewing the world is the only correct one. The surface of rationale, argumentation, and dialectic, however, is cold and hard, and the consequences of such paradigm are two-fold.

First, you’ll find yourself without friends, speaking a language unintelligible by common folk. Or, at least, you hope that to be true, but in the recesses of your mind there exists one other alternative: that all you claim to be is just a collection of fancy words and mindless trivia, and that everyone else is just as smart as you. Second, you’ll find yourself adopting a view of the world that significantly darker than those around you. You’ll begin to pedestalize your own intelligence while reducing the value of the opinions of those around you. Soon, nobody’s discussions about anything seem to make any sense, despite them having existed in the world for as long as you have.

Here you are, you can put it on the map. When you assume that everyone else is either uninformed or stupid, you have arrived safely at Cynicism. There are no humans in Cynicism, only lonely individuals pretending to be gods without actually having the power to back it up. They dole out judgments where none are needed nor appreciated.

Getting to Cynicism is an easy drive on a Sunday afternoon with little traffic to get in the way. The journey back from Cynicism, however, is far more dangerous than that. It’s more like a hike through hot swampland with alligators and venomous snakes. My trip took at least five years, and featured a detour through chronic lower-back nerve pain, a case of Meniere’s  Disease, and experiencing a setback in my dream to teach college.

There on the couch I realized, I’m no longer that person. I have his memories, yes, and the skill of skepticism sure comes in handy while doing academic research, but I’ve been transformed somehow. God, with his actual power, has turned me into a better version of myself.

I suppose I made it official when I changed my name on Facebook from Matt to Matthew. Matthew the Idealist, Matthew the Dreamer, Matthew the Pollyanna, Matthew the Sociable, Matthew the Optimist. I’m glad my dangerous journey has ended, and I’m excited to start my new adventure of actually being human.

So, I must ask. Have you made the same journey I have? Have you been wooed by the lights of Cynicism, only to realize that once there, it was a very dark place? How did you escape? Did you escape? Are you still escaping, or are you headed down the road to Cynicism right now?

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Standing on the Edge of Something

Explaining the unexplainable. Putting words to things that exist beyond language. The mad ramblings of a man trying hard to understand the essence of his life. It may not make much sense, but it is how I search for truth. Blood flows through my veins, and air flows through my lungs, but life’s underlying truths are often shielded in mystery. Continue reading

Five Things You Think About While Falling

Now that my injuries have completely healed, I suppose I can now tell the embarrassing story about how I recently tripped and fell. It happened almost a month ago, and, as with most embarrassing things I developed a good cover-story. When people asked me why my right arm contained a huge gash, I said that I tripped while running. That by technicality was true in the following fashion.

A. I was running.
B. I tripped. Continue reading

Modified Version of Myself

 

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A good writer knows that in order to convey the messages, themes, and stories that he wants to, he has to wrap them in an interesting and compelling package. A reader will not stay tuned for the message if he or she has to get through awful dialog and badly conveyed story points. 

Blogging has an equivalent. A good blogger will not lie, but will pen subtle shifts in reality in order to more closely fit the preconceived notion of “real life.” The blogger will alter reality just enough to where it looks good on paper. Since this phenomenon, to my knowledge, has never been documented before, I will give it a name.

This is the “Modified Version of Myself” principle. 

I am ashamed to admit, I have done it. I haven’t done it as much as most bloggers, but I do it. Let me give you some examples from recent blogs.

From ON MY LITTLE PONY AND BRONIES
In fact, I will say that I’ve only seen one episode of Friendship is Magic in my life.”
Truth: I have actually only watched an internet review of one episode.

From THE GREAT TOILET PAPER DEBATE
“What’s even stranger is that my girlfriend prefers Type B, even though she is far more organized and strict about things being in place than me. I swear she’s even changed the orientation of the toilet paper before when she’s been in my bathroom.”
Truth: My girlfriend confirmed that sehe never once switched around my toilet paper. So either she’s lying or I am.

From GIRLS WITH BOY HAIRCUTS AND THE UNCANNY VALLEY
I admit, rarely a day passes when I don’t mistake a girl for a guy at first glance.”
Truth: This should probably be changed to “rarely a month passes.”

Now, in my defense, these are all from funny blog posts. 

But I was praying this morning, and I don’t want to be like that. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with being a modified version of yourself when you’re writing, but it leads to insincerity. What you, the audience, needs more than ever is truthful statements and human ideas.

God is not impressed when we make our lives seem more exciting for people. In real life, people who do that tend to get found out. I’m a person who is trying to be more than the sum of my parts. I’m trying to be better than the people who try to manipulate their way to the spotlight. If I’m going to be known for my writing, I’m going to be known for who I am.

So no more modified me. You’re going to get the truth, completely. 

The Absence of God, The Confusion of Man

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Satan can be crafty.

That should end this blog post right now, but I wouldn’t be doing my job as a writer without carrying on about a topic.

The more a person looses his or her focus on the absolute nature of God, the more the little things once found to be ungodly seems to be okay.

Saying a few cuss words when I’m really ticked off: “Maybe I shouldn’t do that” turns to “well, it doesn’t say cussing is wrong in the Bible.”

Sex outside of marriage: “It is wrong, it says it right here” turns to “Well, all the Bible says is the marriage bed shall be kept pure. What does that even mean, anyway?”

Pretty soon those little things build up. Your absolute belief in God’s divinity turns to thoughts of human logic. Suddenly God doesn’t make as much since any more. You start to wonder if everything you believed was based on emotions; that you were feeding yourself a lie.

And you find yourself doing the things you’ve always wanted to do, and you like it. And you find yourself looking at the things you once considered absolute, and you are more confused than ever.

Satan looks upon the life he’s sold you with satisfaction. “Another Christian neutralized, and it was so easy. They all fall for things that make sense to their little minds.”

But there you are, more entrapped than ever. Pseudo-freedom. You like the sin, and it feels good, but something doesn’t feel right. You can’t find fulfillment. You can’t find peace. 

All the while you’re so scared. What about eternity? What happens if I die tomorrow? Will I become nothing? Will I go to hell? Am I still saved?

This is the path for so many people. Stick with God. Being in sin is far more trouble than it’s worth.