Allright, so I have this friend. To preserve his anonymity, we're going to call him MW. Yesterday, MW and I were talking about matters related to sensitivity vs toughness, but more importantly, something TV Tropes refers to as the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs Cynicism. Read it here. In short, it's about how those two concepts belong on opposite ends of a continuum. And perhaps they do.
So guess which end I'm on? Yeah, I suppose that didn't take much effort on your part. The reason I mention MW is because he's the self-proclaimed opposite. Whether this is true or just wishful thinking on his part is his concern, because that's the problem cynics have: they distinguish between the two.
I used to be a cynic, myself. I hated the world and everything it stood for. I was never a misanthropist, unlike a certain ex of mine (who herself fulfills most of the criteria for cynicism). But I certainly was quite negative, not to mention depressed and disillusioned with the world.
And then something changed. Perhaps I am mistaken or overly optimistic in assuming this change is for the better. But my senses tell me it is. Life isn't nearly quite as empty when you take a look at it, and realise, hey, I'm actually achieving some of those goals. This is really happening. We're not scaremongering....
Forgive my Radiohead moment. (What kind of idealist listens to Radiohead, anyway? Or loves films like Fight Club, Sin City and American Beauty, not to mention said person's own films always seem to be about depression and suicide).
So perhaps we're not all achieving our goals. In that case, I can understand cynicism. But a certain amount of achievement, be it in the arts, the sciences or the wonderful world of seduction, is bound to make a person realise, hey, life isn't all that bad. We have agency. We have a 'reality' fully built out of our own subjectivity.
And that's when things start to get really weird. (See my post on solipsism). After talking to MW, I went to see my psychologist, whom I was imagining was pretty sick of me and my delusional monologues regarding sociology, politics and individual psychology. But I started developing a theory (honestly, one I'm completely unable to let go of, for letting go would mean letting them win. And that, I refuse to do. Acquiescence to my enemies' constructed reality isn't happening any time soon.
My theory is: Efficiency is a virtue. And the best one. But I need to redefine your idea of efficiency first. You're supposedly only thinking about terms of work and success. And those are great things. But there's another dimension entirely to efficiency - your happiness. It's total bullshit that up to 85% of people are forced to do jobs they hate. They're not contributing much to the world, not because their jobs aren't worth much, but because they're not happy. A happy person is a far healthier, more engaging, more EFFICIENT person. The so-called virtue of hard work should be replaced with a virtue of EFFICIENCY. See, hard work isn't efficient, or else it wouldn't be hard, but smart.
I have thought of many ways to go about my life and have as much fun as possible, while still being productive. And I've realised that the way I'm going to do that is by championing the kind of efficiency that looks after the individual. People aren't as lazy as we think. Indeed, we only call people lazy in opposition, say, to doing work they don't want to. WHY SHOULD THEY HAVE TO DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE? Societal determinism has created a situation where you must choose the lesser of two evils: work hard instead of starving. What I'm trying to say is that this is WRONG WRONG WRONG! It's a DYSFUNCTION of the system when a person is unhappy. Happiness, if represented by a critical mass, will solve all the world's problems. This I guarantee you. Your environment determines your life. Not your personality. So, let's work on the goddamn environment, and turn as many people as possible (obviously, it will never be everyone) into individuals that love, care for and look out for each other. And slowly the dysfunction of the world will vanish. Institutions that are no longer relevant will fade into obscurity.
EDIT: I had to rush off, but I'm back. To make sense of what I'm saying, you will have to understand my mathematical take on the world. Imagine that people's happiness is represented on a scale, say from 1 to 100, 100 being happiest. Happiness is contagious and reinforces itself. So if enough people have an average over 50, reaching critical mass, it will be a good enough world that most people can reach that. Let's imagine all people walking around with auras. Those with green (happy) auras improve their world around them. Those with red auras damage it. With enough green auras (which engage in energy transfer and, if left unguarded, entropy) the world will be improved far faster than it can be destroyed. See, I belive happiness is absolute, and there is an unlimited quantity of it, yet it is highly vulnerable and currently unstable. That is why it needs to be protected. By eliminating waste and caring for people, we care for the human race, and as a result, the planet. Dumping waste in rivers is inefficient - it destroys far more than it helps. This goes for any kind of environmental degradation - it is inefficient to destroy life. It causes more harm than good. So we must focus on doing good instead of harm.
I hope this post makes sense, for to me this is nothing short of a vital epiphany.