Cynic or Idealist?

I look around me everyday and I realize the lack of purpose in human existence. “What is the purpose of life?” is an age-old question that has been debated by Plato, Christ, atheists, scientists, countless philosophers­, and basically every single person on this planet.  Are we to just bear through daily existence and survival?  Nowadays, work and survival are the first thing on everyone’s mind, because, let’s face it: you have no money, you have nothing.  And that is so true.  Think about it: money is necessary for survival.  You cannot just walk into a store and not pay for your purchases.  That is stealing and thieves get caught (most of the time…).  Please point out to me a human on this planet who has no need for money and can survive without it.  I thought so…but in reality, money is an abstract idea, just like mathematics.­  It does not exist; it is an idea created by humans.  Value is the idea that prompted the start of trading, and later, the making of money.  All right, my point is: do we see anything in this world now besides money?  Idealism and morality are fine, but what happens when you are faced with…starv­ation, for example?  What do you think of then?  Of course: getting food and water, which requires you to have money to pay for that.  But can you just walk into a store or restaurant and demand food just because you’re hungry and flat broke?  The employees would just throw you out and care less…so much for human compassion.  You can be hopeful, but I’ve experienced too much of my fellow humans’ displays of character, self-righteo­usness, and hypocrisy to believe that there is a future for us humans.  Money, Money, Money by Abba is a song that describes the division of the classes perfectly.

Yes, I am cynical and pessimistic,­ I admit it; but I am on the other hand an idealist too, however ironic that may be.  However, the official definition of a cynic is “one of a sect of Greek philosophers, 4th century B.C., who advocated the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity*.”  Therefore, cynicism has only obtained its negative connotations because of the common belief that cynics think that everyone is selfish and acts on selfish motives…

I know this world will never change, but I am always wrapped in an idealist state of mind; some would call me a daydreamer or an idealist.  I love books and some movies because they show me a glimpse of an ideal world, with ideal people.  A “utopia,” though most books are based on real life with (sometimes) hints of how all things should end.  But reading ends and when I am back in reality I am filled with despair at the “life” that society is trying to force me into.  Freedom?  There isn’t any.  Humans, the “dominant” species, has forced their own kind as well as all the entire earth into a slavery that will only end in destruction.  H.G. Wells agreed with me on that point, as noted in his novel The Time Machine.  I believe in Plato’s noble principles, while I note now, as he did in his times, the corrupt and depraved nature of this world.  I conclude that to live through this life one must be both an idealist and a cynic while searching for the ultimate Truth.

Natalie Gorna

*definition#2 of cynic: