In Soul of A Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times Loeb (2010) notes how cynicism of our society supports many individual to detach themselves from social problems faced by others because there is no point in getting involve. Individuals feel that the bridging gap between themselves and the higher end of the sector makes it difficult for change. That they do not have the resources and connections necessary to measure up, therefore the effort is useless. Loeb refers to Stephen Colbert as he calls cynicism “a self-imposed blindness.” Due to this cynicism, individuals solidify themselves into their private life, what Loeb refers to as “the burrow”. In doing so, individuals are oblivious to the social issues that occur around them. The issue is not of the individual’s concern unless it has an obvious direct affect on the individual’s life. Loeb also mentions that doubt of creating change also fosters from cynicism. This doubt of change derives from the incremental slow process of change.When we speak of change, we imagine a dramatic and noticeable impact on the larger end of the scale. However, change occurs one step at a time, from one individual to the next. Likewise, as change occurs slowly, incrementally, one step at a time, so does the issues that arises. Loeb utilized the analogy of boiling frogs to depict the similar incremental process that is also true for humans, in which a frog would immediately jump out if you were to drop it straight into the boiling water. However, they frog will remain and stay in the pot and eventually be boiled to death if it was slowly brought up to a boil. It seems that it is human nature to endure the crisis that revolves around us, as long as it does not directly affect us – hence, it slowly rises before it is “too late” for us to do anything.
I agree with Loeb that cynicism is the the culprit of many individual’s detachment from society. Cynicism causes solitary among individual’s within society. With the magnitude of social issues only arising, we as a society need to join together. If we look back in time, we are able to trace how human evolved from solitary beings into group beings – where social interaction is important for survival. Coming together as a unified group, established trusting rapport to work and live together. Coming together as a whole provide shoulders to lean on, ears to listen, and hands to help. I believe that the single most effect way to change the world is overcoming this attitude of cynicism. Instead of upholding self doubt and a negative view on creating change, individuals need to just simply go for it and do the unexpected. What is important to know is that change comes with time and effort; it does not happen overnight. Take into account the story of the woman and the many starfishes that washes onto the shore of the beach. Everyday this woman would throw each starfish, one by one, back into the ocean – as many as she can. She was told one day that her efforts were useless because tomorrow there will just be more starfish. The moral of the story is that, that doesn’t matter because it mattered to that one starfish and every other that she has thrown back into the ocean. Change is the matter of what you do and who it affects. It doesn’t matter about how many people it affects, the impact is all in of itself.
Loeb told the story of Mark. Mark came from a wealthy family and did not understand how environmental issues in his organic chemistry class would help him on his med school tests. However, environmental remediation became his career. This was the most interesting thing that caught my attention because I always question the relevance of the content of material in at least one of my class every semester. However, after a few weeks into the semester everything unravels and it all comes together. I then see the reason behind the professors choice of material. This chapter made me realize that I am guilty of cynicism. Although I am heavily involve in my community, I never registered to vote because I always told myself whats the point, my 1 vote is not going to matter. But after being expose to the importance of voting and being involved in the political sector, I really want to learn and become more engage in the political sector. Maybe not necessarily become heavily involve, but enough to know what is going on and what I may do to create and promote change for the better of my community.