Maria Popova on critical thinking and hope

“To live with sincerity in our culture of cynicism is a difficult dance, one that comes easily only to the very young and the very old. The rest of us are left to tussle with two polarizing forces ripping the psyche asunder by beckoning to it from opposite directions – critical thinking and hope.

Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.

Finding fault and feeling hopeless about improving the situation produces resignation; cynicism is both resignation’s symptom and a futile self-protection mechanism against it. Blindly believing that everything will work out just fine also produces resignation, for we have no motive to apply ourselves toward making things better. But in order to survive, both as individuals and as a civilization, and especially in order to thrive, we need the right balance of critical thinking and hope.”

Maria Popova