Thursday, April 24, 2014

Worldview I--Ontology

I readily identify myself as a cynic, both on this blog and in my everyday life. I possess an attitude of jaded negativity along with a general distrust of the integrity of most everyone. I have earned these two attitudes through much experience, so it comes honestly. At this point, I cannot imagine anything occurring in my life to alter my worldview in any significant way.

However, I have looked back over my blogging this past week and noticed something disturbing. There has been a purposeful shift in content. I have written more lately about science fiction while dropping in celebrity photos and avoiding all but the most irresistible political stories. I have done this for my own peace of mind. This place needs to be more fun, but I just cannot resist the Siren’s song of certain weighty topics. There has been a pattern amongst them.

In the last week, I have written about the murder of Dr. George Tiller, the misogyny of David Letterman, and the anti-Semitism of Jeremiah Wright. What I wrote about was not so much a condemnation of the events which brought them to my attention, but how I think the prevailing culture will permit the evil of what they have done slide.

For instance, Tiller is now a martyr for the cause of abortion because he cannot add to his death toll of 60,000 babies. Meanwhile, you would be hard pressed to identify Pvt. William A. Long as the victim of a jihadi murder in Arkansas. Letterman is considered hip and cool for implying either the statutory rape of a fourteen year old id funny or that an eighteen year old single mother would be inclined to have sex with a professional baseball player because she hada child out of wedlock. Take your pick. Either joke is disgusting and would never be applied to say, the children of any iconic liberal even if the child dropped a litter of out of wedlock babies. Wright makes conspiratorial statements about Jews and/or Zionists preventing him from communicating with Obama. No one particularly cares, probably because all but Wright know this is the most anti-Israel administration since the founding of modern Israel. Or because wright is just mad he cannot bask in the spotlight of the White House.

The fact is the sense of cynicism I am eaten up with which attracts me to these stories is a double whammy. They appeal to my cynical nature, but it is the cynical nature of our culture that allows them to happen without any sort of repercussions. I am strangely comfortable with the former being a part of my personality. I am not as thrilled about the former serving as a big part of my personality.

It behooves me to examine my worldview. I want to find out if I am falling faster than I ever wanted to or if I have good reason to think the world is going to hell in a hand basket and I just happen to notice it correctly. I am going to split this up into daily posts, deconstructing my concept of worldview just to see what makes me think the way I do. You know--metaphysical rambling.

I have to devote the first post to cynicism, since that seems to be me all over. There are five distinct forms of cynicism:
1. Animosity--is the idea that people are conceited, dishonest, selfish, immoral, incompetent, and/or downright evil. I am eaten up the Calvinist concept of total depravity due to Original Sin, so I have inherited this one honestly. I can sense I had the comfortable childlike idealism at one point, but I am pretty confident I lost it long before I should have. I do not feel like speculating exactly when. It was, like with just about everything, a combination of unfortunate twists of fate.

2. Social Cynicism--is a disappointment in family and friends--the people you should be able to count on. Everyone has feet of clay to some degree. I have had a difficult time deciding what qualifies as an acceptable flaw necessary of forgiveness and what is a good excuse to continue being an antisocial misanthrope. The further along I go, the less I care about making the distinction. Misanthropy has become the appealing path of least resistance. Obviously, I have this form of cynicism deeply ingrained in me, too.

3. Occupational Cynicism--is the failure to see the value in your job. I have certainly questioned my choice of earning a law degree. Much of it is a rationalization that if I had chosen a different path, my health status might have wound up much better than it has. That mindset is pure emotion talking. Had I studied journalism, for instance, I might have been hit by a bus crossing the street to the School of Journalism on the second day of class. Plus, if a genie popped out of a lamp tomorrow and restored my vision and colon, I would start practicing law at the first opportunity. All that said, the adversarial aspect of law drew me to it. The idea you can argue practically any side of an issue and when--a cynical idea bordering on moral relativity--was and still is appealing. Call this one a draw.

4. Organizational Cynicism--is the belief groups lack integrity. It involves a lack of faith in businesses, charities, political parties, and religious institutions. Organizations consist of large groups of people. Even with a worthwhile goal in mind, we have already established I suspect the individuals involved have feet of clay. I am certainly more down on organizations whose purpose is to seek power , money, or control. Then again, I want to see compelling evidence of altruism in action, too, so I have this one in spades.

5. Organizational Changes Cynicism--is ’meet the new boss, same as the old’ and ’those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Check and check.
If a worldview can be defined as a set of presuppositions about how the world works, then I have well established that my worldview leans towards the jaded with very little room for optimism. I have not yet established whether that is a good foundation yet I would like to be skeptical in applying cynicism to as much of reality as I apparently do, but I will explore in the next post whether I should be.

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