Is being cynical/depressed delusional or being a realist?

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Scottish Person
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Despite only being 21 would consider myself to be extremely jaded, I just can't seem to catch a break. Friends and family constantly moan ironically that I'm like Marvin the paranoid android from hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. They argue that I would have a much better life materialistically, socially etc... In general if I wasn't so cynical and that I'm my own worst enemy. My argument is that it doesn't really matter so much as it is the world that made me cynical rather than the other way around.

You could probably just play the theme for curb your enthusiasm over most parts of my life and it would fit perfectly. It is at the point something moderately good happens I take cover expecting something horrible to happen like if I actually ever pass my driving test I should probably check if my family and friends are all still alive and well or if I get another girlfriend think "whats the catch?". At least I still have my bad sense of humor.

Of course the usual argument is "appreciate what little you do have some have even less!!!" but to be honest that's worse that things are even more depressing for some and that many people are in an even worse situation.

To get to the question though throughout my life I've had negative opinions about most things clearly and I still get constantly surprised by people and their unwavering optimism. I suspect they do it because it makes sense to be delusional if it benefits you but I struggle to do it even when I try. When I do actually attempt to say the silver linings of things it sounds like I'm being sarcastic which just makes whatever situation worse lol. So is everything that's gone wrong on earth my own doing due to my negativity or am I just reacting rationally to the things going on around me?
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Retired_Messiah
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If you'll allow me to get very meta here I would argue that no form of emotion is actually a "realist" point of view. No world event holds any form of objective emotional response in of itself, emotions are subjective. Therefore no actual show of emotion about any event should objectively merit an emotional response. Being an optimist or a cynic both aren't "realist" points of view, per se. They're just one's subjective meaningless opinion on events.

If you then disregard both therefore as somehow self-delusional, it makes more sense to attempt the optimistic view as you're picking the delusion that makes you feel better.
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INTit
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Your probably not acting rationally it sounds like a mild depression to me.

You go into a bad mood and its like wearing sunglasses your perception is distorted towards the negative, not only that you end up looking for and inventing justifications as to why you should feel bad- making yourself feel worse untill something as basic as doing housework eventually turns into "look how im wasting my life".

The negative emotions create negative thoughts and perception, the negative thoughts feedback into negative emotion amplifying them in a delusional loop making you feed jaded. See if you can spot the thought pattern, you can then try consiously decide to be more positive.
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shadowdweller
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I think some level of cynicism can be good at times - you need to be prepared for bad things to happen too. That said, it sounds like yours is rather in excess. If you always expect the worse to happen, and don't try things because of it, you're making the negative things more likely to become a reality.

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Asolare
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No, I think that's the problem a lot of people who are cynics tend to have; they think their negative outlook on society is correct because people have always messed them over in one way or another. It is very easy to be a cynic and to overly critical of the world; it does not correlate with reality. As mentioned before, the only way to get the best look of reality is to approach it with no emotions at all*

(Though, rather ironically, this is what the Cynics of Ancient Greece tried to.)
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math42
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Both.
Usually depressed people are delusional with regards to themselves but realistic with regards to the world.
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laurenliem234
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Apparently, I'm very cynical and harsh. I don't think so, but some people just don't want to hear the truth.

I wouldn't worry about it if I were you
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Peroxidation
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Cynicism is a good thing. It prevents delusion from setting in. It's like the matrix question of red pill or blue pill, would you prefer to live in a dream world or face up to reality?
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ward47
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I've yet another person that has been called a cynic and a pessimist by many of my family and friends. However as a wise man once said to me "the great thing about being cynical, and expecting the worst is that you'll never be disappointed". I personally think that most people are too naïve rather than people being to cynical. Therefore don't worry about it.
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viddy9
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(Original post by Scottish Person)
Despite only being 21 would consider myself to be extremely jaded, I just can't seem to catch a break. Friends and family constantly moan ironically that I'm like Marvin the paranoid android from hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. They argue that I would have a much better life materialistically, socially etc... In general if I wasn't so cynical and that I'm my own worst enemy. My argument is that it doesn't really matter so much as it is the world that made me cynical rather than the other way around.
Being rational involves holding beliefs that best conform to reality and increasing your credence in a belief in proportion to the evidence in favour of it. Realism is realism; realism is not pessimism or optimism. If you're attached to either, you're probably not going to be being realistic in all cases.

For example, I'm concerned about the state of the world, and people often become quite cynical because of the constant barrage of negative news headlines. There are good reasons to be pleased about the state of the world: humans are happier, healthier and richer than ever before. In terms of the proportion of humanity and absolute numbers, fewer humans are in extreme poverty than ever before. Child mortality rates continue to fall. If you had to pick a time to be born, and you didn't know anything about yourself beforehand, you'd pick now. Of course, news stations won't get high ratings if they report on peace continuing in North and South America.

That said, there are reasons to be unhappy about the state of the world: we still have 16,000 children dying every day from preventable diseases; billions upon billions of animals continue to suffer in factory farms; and there are millions around the world suffering with mental health problems including depression.

Keeping perspective is the best way to approach the world, although defensive pessimism might be helpful in some aspects of life.
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ChaoticButterfly
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(Original post by viddy9)
billions upon billions of animals continue to suffer in factory farms;
This and just the natural biological world in general mean to me that the only sober response to that is depression. If a theistic God exists he is an evil monster. I can;t evil look forward to the escape of death (assuming I am right in that I will no longer exist in any meaningful way) as I am biologically programmed to fear death. Life is like an addiction. It feels like a loosing battle but I can not give it up.

I am happy when I successfully delude myself. Which gets harder and harder.
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DailyMailIsALiar
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i am a fat and ugly ******
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Martian872
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(Original post by DailyMailIsALiar)
i am a fat and ugly ******
Welcome to reality. We're all that in one way or another.

I think the OP is really just talking about the way the world is, I don't for example think there is anything wrong with his opinions. On the other hand as people have said, this life is not as wonderful as we might think; It generally just means we should accept that life is not great and just get on with living with the world in which we live. I think when we grow up - heaven forbid - we just learn to accept that reality is what it is and get on with it. If anyone is to blame it's the people who made promises that existence would be magic. It is not of course.
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viddy9
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(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
This and just the natural biological world in general mean to me that the only sober response to that is depression. If a theistic God exists he is an evil monster. I can;t evil look forward to the escape of death (assuming I am right in that I will no longer exist in any meaningful way) as I am biologically programmed to fear death. Life is like an addiction. It feels like a loosing battle but I can not give it up.

I am happy when I successfully delude myself. Which gets harder and harder.
I have periods when I'm down, certainly, due to the immense amount of suffering in the world today. But, every time I feel that way, I try to think about why a defeatist attitude is counter-productive, and the opportunities that are available to reduce the suffering in the world. Your attitude is completely understandable, though.
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Martian872
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I'm clinically depressed I think no one these days considers it in any other way than it is what it is.

For example you wont get told to cheer up by x. Or that you could get over it in 5 minutes if you tried.


Suffice to say, people get depressed, there is no need to chastise or rebuke them for this. It is what it is, if you never get depressed you are lucky.

It's neither being delusional or being realist, it isn't that simple. Some people are predisposed to depression, some people were abused as a child. and so on.

I personally find it funny that people can consider it as little more than a cheer up it might never happen thing. But you have to see it from their perspective they are seldom depressed so empathy is impossible.
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Martian872
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(Original post by DailyMailIsALiar)
i am a fat and ugly ******
Is that what your mum said?
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miser
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I recall hearing about a study that found along the lines that depressed people made more accurate predictions about the future (i.e., they're more realist), and average people are irrationally and delusionally optimistic.

That being said, I'm sceptical the world made you cynical and that it isn't naturally a part of your personality. And if something good happens, taking cover and expecting something bad to follow is also irrational.

Actual realism is difficult to achieve and requires a mature understanding of the causes and biases behind your own thought patterns. I don't think it's related to a natural predisposition towards cynicism, since cynicism itself is something to overcome.
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TorpidPhil
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(Original post by Retired_Messiah)
If you'll allow me to get very meta here I would argue that no form of emotion is actually a "realist" point of view. No world event holds any form of objective emotional response in of itself, emotions are subjective. Therefore no actual show of emotion about any event should objectively merit an emotional response. Being an optimist or a cynic both aren't "realist" points of view, per se. They're just one's subjective meaningless opinion on events.

If you then disregard both therefore as somehow self-delusional, it makes more sense to attempt the optimistic view as you're picking the delusion that makes you feel better.
Very ****ing true.
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