Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Thought 562: More Cynical = Fairer?

To see how far from (moral, philosophical, physical, aesthetic) ideals reality actually and practically manifests itself is often labelled being 'cynical' which prompted comic George Carlin's statement
"Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist." 
I have recently toyed with the idea that in some contexts, being more cynical results in a fairer judgement in the sense of, perhaps, more accurate to reality as well as less biased and angled by prejudice.

Thus, a few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on Facebook the statement 
"Women use men."
A woman replied to this post saying "I feel exactly that way about men."

While both the statements 'women use men' and 'men use women' reflect a cynical view of the opposite sex, they single out the latter for moral blame, excluding one's own sexual gender. 

Yet, while more cynical than the above, since including a greater number of people under its purview, the statement 'humans use humans' strikes me as fairer and more truthful. 

Another example I'm fond of is the statement often found on the internet as to the toxicity of the 'mainstream media', some commentators recommending looking at alternative sources of information for a more accurate and balanced view of the world. 

Yet, like I've suggested before, all media - whether mainstream, alternative or social - can be toxic and constitute poisons for the mind! This is both more cynical - since even alternative media is seen critically as potentially falling way short - and yet more mature in so far as it understands that no form of media is exempt from being manipulative and harmful. 

So, all this to say that, in some cases, the more cynical view, in the sense of the view that takes the more pessimistic angle, is sometimes the fairest and wisest one.

Differently put,  qualifying a blanket statement (e.g. politicians are hypocrites) with an even more cynical blanket statement (e.g. humans are hypocrites) may, paradoxically, result in an outcome less cynical in affect, since opening up the statement to include more than its intended original groups and categories and thereby making it less unduly discriminating and purposefully targeted. 

Addendum - It's recently occurred to me (in part thanks to researcher and film analyst Rob Ager - see his video on the concept of 'conspiracy by convenience'), given the growing popularity of anti-establishment 'conspiratorial' discourses (e.g. David Icke, James Corbett, Alex Jones), that even these most dark and cynical portrayals of political reality are not cynical enough because they fail to see how the corruption and depravity of elites and 'the ruling class' are also present in the population at large that constitute 'the ruled'. 

Abusive, dominator behaviour as well as things like cheating and lying of all kinds is not the sole preserve of the powerful - whether governmental or corporate - but exists among 'the people' as well. In that sense, the anti-establishment discourses mentioned above suffer from too narrow a conception of power, failing to see that power imbalances and power abuse occur on the ground level as well (e.g. including within the same 'family unit' or neighbourhood) with often a more dramatic effect on others (e.g. bullying, rape, murder, theft) than the more pervasive, systemic power abuse they attribute to established institutions such as the police, the military, school, the financial sector, the healthcare system etc.

[Of course there is likely a strong link between established corruption at the top and dysfunctions occurring on the ground level, since the more immoral the ideology and deeds of a government and ruling class, the more immoral the social fabric as a whole will tend to be, being in large part determined by the operations of centralised power, and therefore the more suffering to be caused collectively. Some societies can reach such an extreme stage of immorality that wrongdoing itself is deemed ‘good’ and legally supported whereas moral action is deemed ‘bad’ and possibly made illegal.]

Mark Passio, who is generally lucid when it comes to the mechanisms of established domination, still regards the 'real' enemy as being what he calls 'the sleeping masses' (see this video) who, ignorant and conformist, perpetuate 'the system of slavery' now in place (I mentioned this angle a while ago in Anarchism as Elitist and Mark Passio and the Chess Game). While this view also has its problems, it does have the merit of understanding that the minorities in power are very much propped up and en-abled by the supposedly powerless majorities, who give their implicit and often explicit acquiescence to psychopathic and dominator discourses and policies (see Why Not Vote?, Thoughts about Voting, Freedom in Peril: World War 2 Poster). Indeed, compliance, which signals obedience, can be read as constituting a form of acquiescence. 

Additionally, the political divide between the (im)morality of the private sector (consumption) as opposed to the public sector (taxation) and vice-versa (touched on in my The Problem of Taxation - Importance of Morality) also suffers from a lack of due cynicism, in that it has transpired since the corporate-friendly nineteen eighties that corporations are just as much open to malpractice, fraud and crime as the public sector ever was. This is an insight that was reached by blogger Paul Craig Roberts, an architect of 'Reaganomics' (see his book The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism).