Optimism Vs Cynicism – Who Wins The Debate This Year?

Posted by Jayasree Challa in GlobeScope, Society
December 22, 2016

Source: Google ImagesRight from the beginning of our lives, we are taught to look at a glass with water and perceive it to be half full.

I’m not denying that the hope of finding something better right around the corner, would get us to live to see another day. Hope does help people to hold the fort for a little longer when they are threatened. Hope and optimism are required to survive a tough time. But to evade such a situation, you need a little cynicism.

Being cynical is what kept the early man alive in times of grave danger. Being wary of their surroundings kept the early humans alive to populate the planet with the next generation. The one who got scared of a flood and moved to safer place, survived to tell the tale and the one who stayed back got washed away. What about us now?

Is cynicism necessary?

The year 2016 hasn’t been the best one in our recent times. I’m sure everyone reading this would definitely agree with me. S**t is going down everywhere. (Pardon my language, but it really is) People from a city are getting executed no matter how old they are, what their lives are like, they all are facing an imminent death (Aleppo just to be clear). We, in India, are struggling for cash. USA is hoping that a narcissist gains the wisdom to hold the most powerful position on the planet before he gets into office. These are just three examples to support the earlier comment.

Source: Google Images

I don’t know what we were supposed to do to evade these situations. But saying that no one ever saw this coming, isn’t true. There were all the signs. Syrian lives were threatened for months, even years now. India has been trying to deal with black money issue for years. Suggestions kept floating around whether demonetisation was the right way to go. It just so happened that no one took it seriously. Same is the case with the United States of America and its Presidential Election. The present President-Elect, Mr. Trump is known for his highly successful businesses, a well-received reality TV show, his lavish lifestyle and his highly tolerant and progressive statements(Sarcasm alert!). The people of not just USA but the entire world thought that Mr. Trump running as Republican Candidate would hardly turn into anything serious.

Actually, Mr. Obama, on his last visit to India pointed out that India in the recent times was becoming intolerant. Well, it wasn’t just India, the entire world was reluctant to accept ideas and people that were a little unfamiliar to them.

We could have noticed the signs when the places of worship were getting rampaged, children were getting killed and there were riots and many other acts of violence on innocents around the world. How could we ignore all the signs?

Cynicism and Optimism are two sides of the same coin

At a time when we were supposed to be cynical, question everything happening around us, we didn’t. Panicking now isn’t the answer. As mentioned earlier, we were conditioned to look at a glass to be half full. Instead, we should have learned to look at it and say that glass has water and air in it (I’m a science student like many others).

Yes, things around us are bad, sometimes even horrible. The situation we are in is something similar to a neo-noir film or a TV show. When the early signs were obvious we didn’t notice. All we can do now is find some solutions for those issues while hoping for the best.

When we can’t prevent a situation, rather than crying over spilt milk, we need to find a cure.


Who do you think I am? I’m just a jobless 20-something, sitting with a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection. When big political leaders of the world have no idea to fix it, how will I have any idea? All I can say is, we were optimistic at the wrong time. Now let us do the right thing now, and not lose hope when we badly need it.

Coming to the argument, optimism versus cynicism, I would say, realism. To survive the big bad world, we need to see a heavy rain as a potential flood and not look for a silver lining in the dark clouds. And when we waited too long for the rain to stop, we need to find a way to stay safe rather than find a way to blame each other.