The Most Devout Cynics are Believers at Heart. ~ David Foster

Via on Jun 27, 2013

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Comedians are often guilty of making obtuse statements of fact that are actually opinions, where we attempt to objectify the subjective, draw lines where they don’t exist, or make claims of laws that are impossible to prove or disprove.

The best comedian in the world even did it on his recent special, Oh My God, where he claimed that all older people are smarter than all younger people simply because they’ve had more experience(s) than the latter.

I laughed and loved it as I do in response to every word that comes out of Louie’s mouth, but couldn’t help but silently play devil’s advocate to the untruth of his claim.

Obviously there are 35 year olds in the world who as a result of superior courage, upbringing, and probably innate intellect, have had more dynamic lives with much greater learning experiences than many 60 year old mindless, conformist drones.

I understand this is comedy, and we’re asked to not take things so literally—but I feel that is an unfair, and even hypocritical cliché to employ concerning a philosophical bit whose intention is to make a point of fact.

We should hear and judge the words literally.

It is inconsistent for the comic to ask us to agree with the bold statements they mean literally, but then conveniently ask us to look the other way when the thought process gets looser without notice, as a result of creative oversight.

My brother is one of the only people I’ve known capable of occasionally poking holes in my adamant philosophies. He does this sometimes with all seriousness, sometimes in jest (an ability that is mark of an actual genius, instead of someone posturing as smart, and whose delivery lacks flexibility as a result of it needing constant conscious monitoring).

He regularly does the latter by quoting a movie in response to my occasional proclamation:

“There are two kinds of people in this world…” He says: “Those who think there are two kinds of people in this world, and those who know better.” I forget what flick it’s from but it always simultaneously amuses and frustrates me when he does this.

I believe it to be true. I believe there are two kinds of people in this world—not literally two of course, but two in regards to perspective of the world and subsequent approach to life.

There are subdivisions within the two, but two fundamental groups exist: cynics and people of faith.

The people of faith can easily be split down the middle into the mindless followers who likely adopted the same religious beliefs and/or spiritual practices as that of their parents, and the critical thinkers, who discovered while in search for “something more” out of life (a logical search for any intelligent mind), tons of philosophy and literature that more or less proved that something more exists.

I was raised “agnostically Jewish,” which means our religious affiliation had more to do with proximal social culture, not at all to do with spiritual devotion. Typically this transformed into simple agnosticism for me.

Then in college, where all the smart kids learn to hate religion and realize that God is fake just like we learned of Santa Claus ten years prior, it became Atheism.

Not long after college an unquestionably brilliant girl I fell in love with introduced me to the book, Metu Neter, which was something of “a bible,” that denounced organized religion as we know it. It also systematically broke down the cosmology of the universe, discussing God and metaphysics in ways I had never heard before.

The text didn’t talk about God as some superior being who sat somewhere up high in judgment of all of humanity for swearing or shoplifting or sucking a dick; but instead referred to an underlying wisdom that pervades all beings.

It tied us all together, but separated us with the very specific intention of having the human experience.

The simultaneously radical but super-logical thought process of the writer was irrefutable in my mind, and I’ve been open ever since. I’ve read books on quantum physics, astrology, Buddhism, reincarnation, spiritual philosophy, and went through a four-year Masters program in Traditional Chinese Medicine, all of which solidified my perspective that there is much more going on than meets the eye.

Although I am a “person of faith,” I cannot consider myself a person of “faith,”as “faith” implies doubt, hope or room for chance. I consider myself to be a person of knowledge, as a result of courage and open-mindedness. I was raised a Jew who became a total cynic and then transformed into who I am now.

I feel I have a clear understanding of the psychology of each group’s etiology.

There are many variations and degrees of cynicism. It is appropriately poorly defined, as each individual cynic’s existence is a result of different degrees of ignorance to information and/or openness to acceptance. Some don’t believe in God, but they “believe in something” (these are the people who are usually just scared of looking stupid to cynics).

Others know for a fact that God does not exist (these people most often came from a strict religious family, not unlike people with racial fetishes come from a racist one).

Some cynics can accept astrology but not reincarnation. Some believe in healing modalities like acupuncture, but think chakra work and shamanism are absurd. The etiologies here are obvious: acupuncture and astrology have become relatively integrated into our own society, and thus said cynics are not being asked to open their minds too much.

One of the primary arguments skeptics have is how one can possibly accept or believe in something that can’t be proven by science. Such a critique is ironic, as one could just as easily flip the same question back to them:

How can you have so much faith in knowing something that can’t be disproven?

Isn’t such a faith equally guilty of the same mindlessness you resent about religious followers? This is truly a wonderful example many spiritual philosophies theorize on how we resent most in others that which is still unresolved within our selves.

How can you put all of your faith in science, especially when “science” will be the first to tell you that there is so much we have yet to understand? In fact, without any education, agnosticism would be the only intelligent attitude for cynics.

It logically suspends belief concerning something they know nothing about, and silently acknowledges how egocentric it would be to assume that in the entire galaxy of stars, planets, milky ways and space, there is nothing beyond detection of the five human senses.

The irony of mindless following being equally present in both cynics and people of blind religious faith is quite obvious. Things like acupuncture, astrology, shamanism, and chakra work were not common staples throughout our childhoods in mainstream societies, so why believe in their efficacy?

It’s funny when people who subscribe strictly to western medicine with the self-definition of intelligence as a result of a supposed questioning mind. They say: “Hey, that’s not FDA approved,” or, “If science can’t prove it, how do you know it’s working?” Meanwhile, how much more of a cliché joke do modern drug commercials have to become before these self-proclaimed inquiring minds start questioning them and doubting the FDA?

If you do any research at all on the matter you can read about infinite amounts of corruption and suspicious behavior in the world of contemporary health care. You can just ask me, as I know someone who works for Big Pharma who told me firsthand that they have no idea what they’re doing in construction of psychotropic medications, and that it is easy to get anything approved by the FDA.

Is it not equally mindless following blindly accept society’s standards and its most powerful groups? 

The fact is that quantum physicists more or less prove the existence of God, or some underlying force of wisdom in the universe (that you may label however you please). If you’re a steadfast cynic that hasn’t read at least two or three good books on quantum physics or cosmology then to many of us you sound like a pretentious moron who is still mad that mommy and daddy were so conservatively religious.

I heard a cynic once say that she doesn’t believe in astrology because it’s ridiculous to think you could possibly group all of the people of the world into just 12 different types. Hahaha! Nothing more dangerous than a little bit of information, right?

Anyone who knows anything about astrology knows that every individual has three signs and not one. This is before even going into the signs that different planets were in when you were born, or the many “houses” everything fell into, thus making hundreds of thousands of different possibilities.

Not to mention the fact that astrology does not hold itself as mutually exclusive to psychology, upbringing, experience, or environment. Hahaha! Ignorance is too funny.

I think I understand the reason cynics are cynics: fear—it is 100 percent fear.

If you’re over the age of 60 or 40 or even 28, and you suddenly realize that God is real, astrology is relevant and acupuncture, herbs and shamans have better ways to heal yourself, it means:

  1. You have to admit you’ve been wrong your whole life which is a huge fear in our intellectually obsessed, egomaniacal society.
  2. You feel like you’ve wasted tons of time. This is a common concern in our driven, goal-oriented society.
  3. You’ve now opened a huge can of worms: What else is out there? What is inside you? What should you be doing with your time and energy instead of striving for the biggest TV and fanciest car? If there’s all this, then there’s so much more. Fuck. I’d rather keep it simple, you know? Job, health plan, house, kids, family vacations, college, retirement, death. You know, just do what my parents did before me, and what the majority of the people around me are doing now. Nice and simple. 

And so in conclusion, the two kinds of people in this world are not those previously defined, but instead: those that are thinkers—and those that are cynics (and devout Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheists) aka, the followers.

 

david fosterIf there were a name for “Comedic voice of new age philosophy and self awareness on a foundation of goofy hip hop culture” it would be David Foster. If that wasn’t too much to digest, then you’re ready for his uniquely cerebral humor. Native to New York, David is one of the city’s funniest up and coming comics. He’s appeared on HBO’s Bad Boys of Comedy and Showtime’s Whiteboyz in the Hood, and as “Sauce” on MTV’s Boiling Points. In spite of getting in trouble as an adolescent for delinquencies such as graffiti and shoplifting, David was a straight-A student. Around the legally transformative age of 18 he straightened out his act and discovered his act on stage. His Manhattan public access show grabbed the attention of MTV, and by his fourth year he was on HBO, Showtime and MTV. He also won the 2011 Boston Festival’s New York Competition.

 

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Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo: via Pinterest}

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2 Responses to “The Most Devout Cynics are Believers at Heart. ~ David Foster”

  1. Judy says:

    Really nice piece, David! I remember in one college interview, telling the fellow I was an atheist. And he tried to tell me I surely meant agnostic, but I insisted I knew the difference and I was an atheist. Thirty years and a doctorate in philosophy later, imagine my surprise when I ran up against the fact that God was real! It wasn't that hard on me, though, because I had wasted a lot of time under pretty much any umbrella, and I was just glad to finally have the experience of feeling like I knew a little something. There's still tons for me to think about in working out how best to describe things, and I still go around the cycle and I've got tons of personal stuff I need to improve, but I actually have hope and feel how several of the building blocks I'm working with are very solid.

    • David Foster says:

      thank you so much… yeah… the shame is that most people stop maturing/thinking in their early 20's and so the so-called "intellectuals" get stuck in Atheism. Always nice to hear from people who actually kept an open mind, instead of those who just claim to : )

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