Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Reluctant Cynic

For someone who really considers himself an optimist and as such strongly decries cynicism, I fear I give in to cynicism far more often than I care to admit. Of course, I prefer to think of myself as being more jaded than cynical, but realize the line between the two is often so thin as to be non-existent. Be that as it may, no matter how hard I try, I can’t escape the fact that I truly despair by what I see as the state of the world. We seem to constantly be presented with views of the underbelly of humanity.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed that one of the strongest recurring themes in these blogs is my utter inability to understand either the world, or, far too often, other assumed members the species to which I belong. How can anyone with an iota of awareness possibly understand, let alone justify, what lies behind and beneath the incomprehensible stupidity, cruelty, bigotry, hypocricy, and ignorance that constantly assail us—and that we ourselves too often display?

How can any intelligent person cling to hope for the future of mankind when nearly every TV commercial seems very deliberately designed to mislead us; when every computer’s “In” box is awash daily in dangling bait so egregiously insulting to the most basic concept of intelligence? How can anyone capable of communicating thought not only produce such utter garbage but expect anyone capable of reading to respond to it? What motivates them to do so is simple: 99.5 percent of all the steaming elephant dung plopped into our computers' Spam folder—into which I regularly dumpster-dive for blog material—has one reason for being there: greed. Those who respond to it are complicit by eagerly seeking something for nothing (a Ph.D. in brain surgery by mail? Earn $10,000 a day at home typing envelopes? It is to weep!). Our politics is an open sewer of self-serving lies and hypocrisy and misrepresentation.

Our media is increasingly being taken over by talking-head pundits and predatory political sociopaths without conscience, compassion, remorse, or regret (Fox News, anyone?). Their claim to being human is largely genetic, and they apparently derive a sense of superiority in pouring gasoline on any potentially volatile issue.

Of course, the saddest, most discouraging and "abandon-all-hope-ye-who-enter-here" aspect of the internet is that it is, indeed, a net cast into a rich feeding ground for predators. If there weren't huge numbers of people unwilling to use, or incapable of using, common logic, the predators would starve. And while that prospect is unlikely in the extreme, there is some small comfort to be taken from the fact that from what I can gather—the exact same message being received from several different spammers, for example—that major spammers franchise out their crud to lesser spammers. It appears to be some sort of a pyramid scheme and a perfect example of a snake swallowing its own tail. Secondary spammers are conned by the primaries into thinking they're going to get rich. All of which proves that those who send out spam are just as prone to being suckered as the people to whom the messages are sent.

That after several thousand years of struggle and sacrifice to establish a civilization we, as a race, have produced a society which seems to thrive on taking advantage of others, and we are back at the first sentence of this blog.

Gloom and despair descend upon the land, and the dark closes in.

Quick! Someone bring me a basket of kittens!

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

Believe it or not, I remember the first time I received a piece of SPAM mail while on AOL. I was at that time only receiving e-mail from friends and was thrilled something popped up from someone I didn't think I knew (or by someone I thought wanted to know me)!

It was for cheap medication from Canada. I was very, very, very incensed. And it was the start of many yet to come...