The Cynic and Idealist

February 15, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

(Brief update from Silver City, NM: I have not taken a photograph in two months and eight states. Instead, I've been doing a lot of thinking and physical engagement - walking, kayaking, scrambling, biking - in the landscape. Slowly, but surely, we are working our way back to Missoula, for good. More on that soon. These are my thoughts today.)

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THE CYNIC AND IDEALIST

I am equal parts cynic and idealist. Never at the same time, but always simultaneously. Lately, my inner cynic has been gaining ground on my inner idealist.

Locally, I am an idealist. I trust easily. I love freely. I trust in the goodness of people within my orbit. I do not own a gun.

Globally, that is, life outside my immediate orbit, I am a cynic. I do not believe our political system is salvageable. I believe climate change will inevitably lead to major resource conflicts, staggering migrations and mass extinctions (including humans). I believe that corporations can only be trusted insofar as money is not involved (never). What a bummer...

People distrust vaccines because large organizations - governments and pharmaceutical companies - have, at times, proven untrustworthy.

People steal because they were stolen from.

People buy guns because people bought guns.

I fault no-one in-particular and everyone particularly. This is human nature. We live in an impossibly complex system of karma in which every action - every word we utter, thought we share, step we make - directly affects those within our orbit (usually in imperceptible ways). And, all - every single human, plant and animal - of our orbits, eventually, overlap. This includes time and geography: generational effects with international consequences. Local becomes global and global becomes local.

All of this I have been ruminating on lately. What are we to do? What am I to do? The path that calls to me is this: discard the cynic and embrace the idealist. That is, dismiss passive engagement with the global (perseverating on impeding doom in which I have no power) and channel my pragmatic energy to the local (acting on imminent love with those around me).

People listen because they were listened to.

People give because they were given to.

People love freely because they were loved freely.

Today, I choose to listen, give and love freely. I choose to positively engage with all within my orbit, including this audience. I choose to contribute wholesomely, whatever I can, to the immediate world around me. This is not a pursuit of perfection, but a chosen path of positively controlling what I can and relinquishing what I can't. I will fail and I will succeed. It is a trajectory, not a destination.

Onwards and upwards.


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