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SuperMouse's avatar

Are you getting more cynical with age?

Asked by SuperMouse (30713 points ) August 27th, 2012

I have always been rather cynical, and the older I get the worse it is. How has growing up/aging impacted your perspective?

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59 Answers

Coloma's avatar

No. I am an optimistic type and don’t burden myself with the woes of humanity. I HAVE become more discriminating in who I choose to spend my time with.
We do create our own realities with the thoughts we entertain. I “feed” myself a diet of good news and don’t seek out the bad. Complaining and being negative is like eating potato chips, once you start it’s hard to stop. lol

Judi's avatar

lol! @SuperMouse , I was just wondering if something was going on with you today! You seemed uncharacteristically defensive on a few questions. So it’s cynicism!

SuperMouse's avatar

@Coloma being cynical does not have to equal burdening oneself with the “woes of humanity” nor does it have to be all about complaining. I’m not a complainer by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, most of the time I bend over backwards to keep my negativity to myself.

@Judi your response made me smile. I must be feeling extraordinarily cynical at the moment! It is my natural inclination to be a cynic and there are times when I have a harder time fighting it.

CWOTUS's avatar

I am also generally optimistic, in a personal sense (and with respect to most of the world). I’m so optimistic that every year I think to myself, “I can’t possibly be more cynical than I am now!”

And yet, every year my capacity for cynicism also increases. It’s like magic! No wonder I’m so optimistic!

Coloma's avatar

@SuperMouse I wasn’t insinuating you are a complainer, but, the effect of negative thinking is still damaging, even if you do keep it to yourself. Of course we are human, and everyone has a moment of negativity now and then, but, once we become conditioned to always think and react in negative ways, we have sunk our own ship. :-)

muppetish's avatar

Hm. Yes, I am definitely more cynical than I was ten years ago. But when I find myself feeling particularly cynical, and this may come across as being very silly, but I always think back to Conan O’Brien’s last episode of the Tonight Show when he said “Don’t by cynical.” I try not to be. I want to believe that the world is getting better and I know that I have to be part of that process of it getting better. If I just sit back and be cynical, then how am I making the world a better place to live in? I would rather think of myself as a realistic optimistic—I know all those good, positive things aren’t going to happen over night, but that doesn’t mean they’re never going to happen.

syz's avatar

Yup.

cookieman's avatar

Why do you want to know? Huh?! What kind of scam you running here Mouse-Lady?

Oh, aaahh… I guess “yes” would be my answer then.

Coloma's avatar

Coloma skipping through with daisies in her hair tossing happy brownies out of a picnic basket singing a Disney tune. LOL

janbb's avatar

I am more cynical about politics but more open and trusting of friends as I age.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m definitely more cynical. I see more and more that people, and particularly politicians, are more out for themselves than the people they represent unless they represent people of means. I see religious people who are only paying lip service to the teachings of their church. (I also know people who are charitable and work for the less fortunate; but they seem a minority) I see fraud and cheating everywhere because of false values. My building is fancy on the outside and falling apart on the inside. Corruption is far too prevalent. My trust is waning. It gets harder and harder to rise above it all. And that’s just age and depression talking. Forgive me. Tomorrow I may feel better.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No. I don’t think it is a matter of AGE. It is a matter of EXPERIENCE. Now, that may go along with age in some people, but not necessarily.

The more you see and experience, the less optimistic you become about people and their decisions.

flutherother's avatar

I have become more cynical with big companies which I distrust more and more. I have become a little more cynical with politics, especially American politics.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know if I get more cynical, but maybe more realistic. I’m an idealist by nature, and always want to believe the best about people/situations/humanity as a whole. That idealism is now more tempered by seeing things as they actually are, while still acknowledging that they could be a whole lot better. When I’m depressed, though, all bets are off. Then, everything sucks. ;)

Coloma's avatar

@augustlan Well said, yes, discernment. I am not a Pollyanna, anymore, but I am also still pretty damn open and trusting, just tempered with more reality based wisdom. lol

Bellatrix's avatar

I am more cynical now than I was in my youth. This is a by-product of aging and no bad thing in most cases. I am not negative and I don’t automatically distrust people but my bullshit radar is more acutely tuned now than it was in the past. I have seen too many politicians, corporate leaders and people in general spout utter bullshit and I am more aware of the realities of human nature and this has dulled the idealistic faith of my youth.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Absolutely. The more experience you have with humans it’s only natural you get more cynical. The thing you have to focus on is that there are random acts of kindness everyday all over the world that we don’t see.

Remember the video of the teens torturing the bus matron? The other day on my way home, I saw a large woman in an old car holding up traffic during rush hour, and who rescued her but 2 teen boys, being encouraged by their g/f’s.

It warmed my cynical little heart.

serenade's avatar

“The blows that come to unquestioning innocence provide the ground for the religion of cynicism. The result is not the intended protection from false gods, pipe dreams, or snake oil salesman. By the time cynicism has taken root, the result is a constricted life… When I investigate the feeling under the protective cover of cynicism, I discover a pain. And when I stop protecting myself from that pain, I experience it fully… I feel the rawness of being consciously human in a world that does not conform to my ideals… I notice that I am aware both of the futility of much of humankind’s endeavors, and also the beauty and mystery of the entire display.” – Gangaji

I am working to molt my very cynical skin. I think it’s possible to push through intense cynicism into something beautifully woo-woo.

woodcutter's avatar

I call it using life’s experiences and applying reality to gauge expectations.

Could be why most really young people are Democrats

poisonedantidote's avatar

I was born in to this world and idealist, and in a way I guess I kind of still am. However, the longer I spend on this planet the more cynical I become.

The worst part is probably the fact that I can justify my stance by backing it up with so much experience and past evidence.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I don’t feel it’s that way for me but age has had the effect of taking off the rose colored glasses of inexperienced optimism I once felt.

Earthgirl's avatar

I was raised with the dictum “if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is”. Now, I know this is skepticism but I think it can be related to cynicism in a way. If you naturallly question things that appear innocent, if you are always looking for hidden agendas and ulterior motives you will certainly find them! They aren’t in short supply by any means. That brings another expression to mind. “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” I don’t think my cynicism has gotten worse, I think my bullshit meter has become more finely tuned and can pick up lower frequencies!

Symbeline's avatar

I’m not entirely sure. A lot of my deal is wanting nothing to do with most people, regardless of whether I believe or not they’re only out for themselves, but this on my part has little to do with how cynical I might or might not be.
Personally, I believe that on a subconscious level, everything we do is ultimately for ourselves and our surrounding benefits, and that in the end we only listen to our survival instinct, physically as much as otherwise. Societal development, its values and moralities certainly have to be a part of our adaptation and evolution… I’m not entirely sure that at this point, I could call myself cynical though, since I think that a lot of the things we do serve some purpose other than the one we think it serves. This tends to lean me towards a slightly nihilistic nature rather than cynical.
That said, I have absolutely no doubt that many are selfish and heartless, although I wouldn’t doubt it if a lot of that is from self projection. Although so far in my life, I can’t seem to pinpoint any drastic change or significant degree shift in how I think regarding this issue. If there is or has been change, it probably happened much too gradually for me to really notice.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m a cynic, a pessimist and a existentialist. I go through stages. Sometimes I care enough to be cynical, but other times I don’t. I haven’t noticed an increase or decrease.

Being cynical means I’m interacting with the world, at least. Sometimes I live entirely in my head. So, I guess cynicism is sorta positive for me.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I think that I am becoming more discouraged by some of the attitudes displayed by some of the people who inhabit the United States. A lot of these people do not seem to feel any empathy or sympathy for other people – they seem to be totally unaware of just how inter-connected we all are to each other.

Adagio's avatar

You bet, I do have my surprised by human kindness and/or joy moments though, I think they serve to keep me moderately sane.

ETpro's avatar

I have cynically refused to let life make me more cynical.

woodcutter's avatar

that statement seems…odd?

DominicX's avatar

A little bit, especially in regard to politics. I used to think the people who said politics was all bullshit were bullshitting themselves, but now I’m kind of agreeing with them in that it truly is all bullshit. But that is subject to change of course. I’m still voting and all that—not going to hurt.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have always been a bit of a cynic, or doubting thomas, or, and this is the most description I think, I see the irony in life more now than ever. Or maybe there is more irony now. People say crime is going down, but more people are scared, the world is a better place because we tell our kids not to slug the bully but to talk nicely with him (is that turning the other cheek? that’s a funny attitude on an atheist site). I sometimes think life was better when I didn’t have to lock the front door and when you had your big brother beat the crap out of the bully. And if you didn’t have a big brother, you paid a hit man. Ah yes, the good old days!

woodcutter's avatar

this is an atheist site?

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo I know that nobody wants to hear it. It makes much better press to rant against the new crime wave. But violent crime and murder have, with notable outlier blips when major wars broke out, been steadily declining for thousands of years. I think this has gone on long enough to say it’s a trend and not just a flash in the pan.

Nullo's avatar

I’ve always been either a cheerful cynic or a cynical optimist, whichever gets a kick out of schadenfreude. I tend to be cynical about humanity, but optimistic about individuals.
As I have grown older, I have found more things to be cynical about, but I wouldn’t say that the degree of my cynicism has changed any. Just the amount.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ETpro – I didn’t know statistics were available from thousands of years ago? But even if you take just the last 50, it makes me wonder. 50 years ago I was 17 and I left the keys in my car when I went into a store, windows down. The doors of our house were never locked, nothing was ever taken from our back yard. Girls could walk around the town on summer evenings and not be afraid. You know the rant as you call it, so tell me if it is so much safer now, why would you not dream of doing any of that now? My brother lives in the same town where we grew up and he now locks everything!

@woodcutter – didn’t you know that

Nullo's avatar

@rooeytoo It’s not stated anywhere. Just a lot of you happen to be Godless.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Nullo – I’m not godless, I’m just clueless but I believe in insurance! I’m scared of the rabidly godless, well…... actually, I’m intimidated by the rabidly godly too!

woodcutter's avatar

i thought it was a gay site….fluther?...get it?

augustlan's avatar

Gay friendly, atheist friendly

janbb's avatar

theist friendly

augustlan's avatar

penguin friendly

janbb's avatar

auggie friendly

augustlan's avatar

cynic friendly

Group hug!

Keep_on_running's avatar

I feel like I’m becoming less cynical and more accepting over time.

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo We have enough data points in history to form a view of what’s happened since the end of prehistoric times. While I am sure many murders and much brutality went unreported in the dawn of written history, the fact that what was written down still makes that a much more violent time than recent history is telling.

Two hundred years ago, slavery was legal and thriving virtually everywhere. Governments, religion and the existing social order supported it. Today it is illegal virtually everywhere.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ETpro – so let me ask you this, do you feel safer walking down a dark street at night because it is safer now than it was thousands of years ago? Perhaps men do not fear as much as women but I don’t think that could be true, you are no match for a gang of thugs who want your wallet regardless of how much is in it. I have never thought of myself as paranoid, or cowardly but perhaps I am because I sure as shootin don’t feel safer than I did 50 years ago. Why are kids not allowed to walk to school anymore? Because their parents don’t feel it’s safe. There are lots of whys. But if you think the illegalitiy of slavery makes the night time streets of cities a safer place, I am pleased for you!

tinyfaery's avatar

Ok. Even though I usually don’t hug.

cookieman's avatar

:: sneaks up behind @tinyfaery ::

… ((BEAR HUG))

tinyfaery's avatar

If you do that you might get knocked out. Best to approach from the front.

janbb's avatar

Step away from the faery.

cookieman's avatar

:: sneaks up behind @janbb ::

… ((BEAR HUG))

@tinyfaery: So you’re looking for a full-frontal bear hug? Awesome!

tinyfaery's avatar

Well, maybe from the side, with your arms out, palms showing. :)

janbb's avatar

@cprevite I’m not proud; I takes hugs any ways I can gets ‘em. Especially from cookie monsters!

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo Feel as afraid as you need.

meanderingpath's avatar

I am so cynical of conventional medicine – after working it for 14 years and seeing how much unnecessary money it makes and then being a patient with extensive life altering symptoms and being told it’s all in my head…it’s driven by politics and law suits and Big Pharma driving the car….

ETpro's avatar

@meanderingpath Welcome to Fluther. And may I add that I don’t doubt a word of what you say?

rooeytoo's avatar

@meanderingpath – the same is true of socialized medicine as we have in Australia. Those who don’t have it see it as a panacea but it does indeed come with its own set of problems. And I have no idea what the solution is????

meanderingpath's avatar

Thank you ETpro :). Rooeytoo, I don’t know they right answer either – I would like to be more nature oriented, but it seems we need to mix alternative medicine with conventional medicine for the best results.

rooeytoo's avatar

@meanderingpath – I think that is true but as you said with big drug companies involved, and the docs in their pocket, not likely to happen. By the way, I love your user name!

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