Friday, June 1, 2012

How the Internet is Making Me Less Cynical

Quiet a while ago there was a picture that I saw on facebook of a boy holding a pup, and then the same boy, all grown up, holding the pub, all grown up, in the same spot. It was a great picture. I wish I could find it to share. The boy turned man was wearing the same shirt in both pictures, though it looked well worn, and didn't really fit, in the second. Despite knowing that by reading comments on the net you risk lowering your IQ, raising your blood pressure, and seriously reducing your faith in humanity, I read themthey can sometimes give you a bit of insight. This time the comments helped me see that overly cynical people are often, well, idiots. Some of the comments were scoffing at, and trying to disprove the picture since, apparently, it is unbelievable that kids and pups grow up.
The evidence presented:

The foliage in the background looked different. Now this is hard to explain since trees and bushes don't grow and therefore wouldn't change over 10 years.
The roof on one of the buildings looked newer in the second picture, and since we all know roofs never need fixing, or re-shingling, we know that that couldn't be.
Then there was the "fact" that no one would have the same shirt for ten yearsthat is impossible! I liked that one because it means that at least a 1/4 of my closest exists outside the realm of possibility—a fashionista I am not. 
But the smoking gun, if I recall correctly, that proved the picturewhich made you feel good about life, inspired joy and reminded us how much the simple things matterwas faked, was that the brinks on the back building looked newer in the second shot, which would be interesting if it weren't for the invention of digital photography—the bricks didn't really look newer, the digital photograph just provided greater detail.
So why am I talking about something that I saw ages ago now? Because this morning I saw a great shot of a man giving a lion a foot massage; and those looking for company in their misery once again hopped in and started saying things like the lion was dead. This time I just Googled "lion getting foot massage" and found an article that explained the whole thing. So, I commented by simply posting the article. The cynics keep on going with one wild theory of after the next, ignoring the article and instead backing up much of what they said with "facts" they invented.
Strangely though I found it comforting to see how most cynics don't care about knowledge or truth, they just want to appear to be clever. Sadly though they can be very convincing and they appear have great influence upon the opinions of others—even in elections. There's nothing wrong with being clever, it's great for joking around, but it can't replace intelligence which comes from doing a little research. Though to seek the truth in anything you have to be willing to be proven wrong, which can be difficult.
When you've been smug about the "fact" that you're right and people who don't recognize that are stupid, to then discover that you're the idiot . . . that combination of  ignorance and arrogance can be hard for you to face and overcome.
That's why the internet has been making me less cynical, I'd rather enjoy the moment and find out later I was naive to believe, than be miserable, make others miserable, and find out that I wasn't just "being honest", I was just being an assholeand that extends far beyond heart warming pictures on the net. 
It's good to question, but until you have a definitive answer, the one you come up with says more about who you are than it does about the subject at hand.


  1. Here's the link to the picture you referred to -