On Cynicism

I've been reading around in one of my favorite Paulo Freire books, Letters to Cristina: Reflections of My Life and Work, and I ran across these passages that I had underlined:

"I lived my world intensely."

"Reinvention is a requirement for life."

And my very favorite,
“Cynicism is not the weapon that will rebuild the world”

Freire has always been one of my favorite educational thinkers - if for no other reason than his absolute belief in critical thinking as a way to enact positive change in the world. This is a critical thinking that he describes as "critical optimism." Thus, while he critiqued his world, and he taught other people how to do the same, he also insisted on attempts to create change and suggest solutions. Not just cynically point out problems.

It's important to point out problems, of course, but then it's time to engage in real, open dialogue about those problems and about possible solutions.

For me, at least, a little Freire goes a long way to reminding me of why I pay attention to the world. Even when that world makes me feel sad.

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