Forget the euro, dollar, pound or even the Smackeroony – cynicism is the new currency being traded across the world.
And business is booming.
Witness the virtual vitriol poured over anyone who marched for women’s rights as El Trump took charge of the world’s most powerful country.
Why are you doing it? what’s the point? It’s not your fight – who do you think you are?
If society is a stick of rock then the word cynicism is carved through it on every strata – from bored youths on YouTube to flat-caps ranting about foreigners at the bus stop.
Somewhere along the line we decided we’d had enough.
Maybe we got lied to so often we decided everything was lies, maybe listening to vacuous celebrities made us deaf, maybe we simply lost the courage of our convictions. Or maybe we just saw Del-Boy falling through that bar one too many times.
Whatever happened, cynicism went viral and then went into the DNA of what makes us human – shutting us off from empathy and removing the drive to do, to change, to evolve.
Cynicism breeds a bitter contentment with our lot – everything is rubbish so why bother trying?
It’s not a case of right and left anymore – or even right and wrong. Labels and insults have taken over from engaged thinking: Brexiteer or Remoaner, racist or snowflake, cowards, chancers, liars and losers – there’s a brand for everyone.
Healthy cynicism can be productive – questioning those in positions of authority, their words and their actions is essential – but the empty cynicism now running amok can only ever be destructive.
Meanwhile, money remains in charge – power remains in charge.
It’s up to us to change that – and it starts local. With us – individually – making a choice: a choice to hear without sneering, comment without trolling. I guess I’m admitting that my cynicism isn’t the armour I thought it was. It’s a straitjacket.And social media is the padlock.
Groupthink is in charge – you are free to agree, but not to dissent. And even if you do, the dissent is restricted to your own personal echo chamber – part of the sideshow keeping us busy while communities are dismantled brick by brick, pound by pound.
So what do we do? What can we do? It’s a choice: choose to care. About what? Anything you like – take part in a march, rescue a dog, hatch a human, write a book, run for election – care, share, create, connect, organise, act.
Yes, in the end, nothing matters, we’re all just bags of atoms, hopes and fears being recycled through the eons - but that doesn’t mean that we give up. Why would we? Where’s the fun in that?
At any rate, it has got to be better than watching 28-year-old footage of a trenchcoated man plunging through a bar to the sound of empty laughter.
Alan Muir, Cumbernauld (Twitter: @alanmuir74, visit https://caobs.wordpress.com/)