Cynics, by Vivek Shah


This article has been submitted by Vivek Shah for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.


‘For we all are naught but particles of dust, engaged in a cosmic dance with everyone and everything around us. Lucky are those who find someone who dances to the same tune as them.’

Isn’t it fun to be a cynic? To look at life through a dark perspective, convinced that the world has never been worse, and it will never be better?

“Cynicism makes you feel smart; I know it, even when you aren’t smart.”  ― Richard Ford, The Sportswriter

But cynicism does a better job than cancer at eating you up from the inside. It kills the beauty within you, the hope; it brings out the worst in you. And since you are so focused on the worst within yourself, you start finding a fault with everything and everybody else. It is true that misery loves company. Cynics think cynicism is fun. It is, for a while. Cynicism makes you a condescending and unbearable. Not only unbearable to others, but also to yourself.

“He loves his nature despite of what it did to him” – Forrest Tucker

Cynics love looking for the tragedy in life.

“But in life, a tragedy is not one long scream. It includes everything that led up to it. Hour after trivial hour, day after day, year after year, and then the sudden moment: the knife stab, the shell burst, the plummet of the car from a bridge.”  ― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Cynics are only happy when they are miserable and everyone else around them is too. They get a certain ignoble glee from looking at the world and seeing only the worst it has to offer.

“Poor Earthworm,” the Ladybird said, whispering in James’s ear. “He loves to make everything into a disaster. He hates to be happy. He is only happy when he is gloomy.” – Ladybird, James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl.

Cynics will tell you that the reason they look at the worst in the world and do not keep very high expectations from anyone is that they do not want to be disappointed. They want to feel the pain, so that they can enjoy and cherish the happiness when it comes their way.

“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but it’ll suffice to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”  – John Green

Cynicism is the bastard child of an inferiority complex, sadism and masochism. Cynics are forever drowning in the sea of self pity and sorrow. Of course, everyone tells the cynic to stop looking at the worst this world has to offer. And the cynic tries. But eventually, a swim in the black sea of self pity is too tempting to resist.

“Among our egocentric sad-sacks, despair is as addictive as heroin and more popular than sex, for the single reason that when one is unhappy one gets to pay a lot of attention to oneself. Misery becomes a kind of emotional masturbation.” – Tom Robbins, Wild Ducks Flying Backward

And yet, again and again, the cynic tries their best to get to shore, to dry off and to enjoy a sunny day on the beach out of the joy-sucking black water of the sea of misery.

But, “The lesson of history is that no one learns.” – Steven Erikson

A cynic does have some hope within him, though. That someone will save them from drowning in the black sea. That someone will save them from themselves.

“We’re built of contradictions, all of us. It’s those opposing forces that give us strength, like an arch, each block pressing the next. Give me a man whose parts are all aligned in agreement and I’ll show you madness. We walk a narrow path, insanity to each side. A man without contradictions to balance him will soon veer off.” – Mark Lawrence

Eventually, the cynic forgets how it was to feel truly happy. The cynic doesn’t know how to respond to kindness and love when it is directed towards them.

“I was helpless in trying to return people’s kindness, but also helpless to resist it. Kindness is a scarier force than cruelty, that’s for sure. Cruelty isn’t that hard to understand. I had no trouble comprehending why the phone company wanted to screw me over; they just wanted to steal some money, it was nothing personal. That’s the way of the world. It made me mad, but it didn’t make me feel stupid. If anything, it flattered my intelligence. Accepting all that kindness, though, made me feel stupid.” – Rob Sheffield.

The cynic doesn’t live, the cynic merely survives. So please, if you ever see a cynic, please help him get to shore.
This is a fellow cynic, signing off.

It seems fitting to end this post with a quote.
“I write to discover what I know.” -Flannery O’Connor



Vivek Shah is a seventeen-year-old law school aspirant. He is a bibliophile, but is currently suffering a book hangover from “A Song of Ice and Fire.” His favourite music band is Snow Patrol. He also loves rock and classical music and often listens to Before The Lobotomy and Tchaikovsky’s #6 Symphony on repeat. He loves good quotes, as is seen in this post.  Apart from the law, his one true passion is the Universe and its mysteries.


    • Yes, I realise that.
      But this was never meant to be a brilliant, original post which would win this Blogpost competition. I wrote it late one night after a bad day, since writing is cathartic, and thought I’d send it in to CLATGyan because I liked it.

    • Hello Amber. Congratulations on making that observation! It is startlingly true. 

      However, I believe you completely missed the point of using all the quotes, apart from the fact that Vivek liked them, of course. The quotes are the words and ideas that the write up has been built around, given, but if you’ll look further you’ll see that they’re intricately woven into the piece. More so, it is my opinion that it is commendable that Vivek has managed to maintain his voice and convey his message to the reader despite the fact that the text is littered with the quotes of literary heavyweights. 

      The text describes a journey, it tells you a story without any specific main characters. See that. Look close, look beyond what first meets the eye. 

      And most importantly Amber. Vivek has done what any respectable writer should do while borrowing an idea from someone else- he has given credit. 

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