Fuck The Cynics

When did it become “cool” to be cynical?

I think it started May 1, 2003:

May 1, 2003, from a speech titled “President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended

A whole generation has grown up expecting their leaders to lie to them.

Conspiracy theories have gone mainstream:

  • Example: It used to be a fringe idea to believe that our phones were all tapped.
    • Now it’s normal to think that governments and corporations are reading our texts.
      • The truth is that anyone with enough resources could probably gain access to your texts and calls, but no one is actually sitting around surveilling you all day.

I’m not saying there are no wolves out here. But please stop crying wolf every time.

  • The information we share is the information we consume.
  • When we amplify fear and anger, we distort our own reality negatively.

The worst kind of cynicism is sneering at ambitious projects, predicting they’ll fail.

  • Nothing good comes from cynical criticisms of earnest efforts.
    • Best-case, this hurts the feelings of someone trying hard to do the right thing.
    • The worst part is people get scared to share their most ambitious ideas for fear of ridicule.

Theodore Roosevelt calls out these cynics in his Citizenship in a Republic speech, right before his famous “The Man in the Arena” quote:

  • There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism… There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty.”

The new needs friends.

“The bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new.

The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.

Peter O’Toole as Anton Ego in Ratatouille.

Let’s lead the discovery and defense of the new!

I want to build a community of ambitious optimists and effective altruists trying to change the world.

  • Utopic Live is my first attempt at organizing us all together in one place.
    • DM me @neilthanedar if you have any ideas for events or topics at Utopic Live!

This idea is a work-in-progress. If you’d like to riff on it, hit me up @neilthanedar on Twitter!

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is an entrepreneur, investor, scientist, altruist, and author. He is the founder & CEO of Utopic, his startup studio. He is also the founder & chairman of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup, and Labdoor, a consumer watchdog with $7M+ in funding and 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has worked with community organizations since 2007 and political campaigns since 2016 to fight for better education and economic opportunities in Michigan.