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July 12, 2011 / twocrows1023

Refining Ourselves — The Attitudes [1]

The Action Attitudes —Cynic and Realist
There are seven attitudes— I’ll profile them here according to their Centers.

Our Attitude is our primary life-outlook. It colors how we perceive the world and our place in it. It influences how we respond to life. Though primarily an intellectual perspective, it affects how we respond emotionally, as well, and what we are most likely to do in response to our perceptions.

Having a ‘good’ attitude is as important as everyone says it is. Your life will actually go more smoothly if you stay in your positive pole than if you move into the negative pole of your Attitude [just as happens with the other overleaves— in fact, the Attitude affects your outcomes more often than your other overleaves do.] And being in the positive pole of your Attitude will help you stay in the positive pole of your other Overleaves, as well.

The truth is, though, it is inherently easier for people with the Spiritualist and the Idealist Attitudes to stay upbeat and positive than it is for the Cynics and Skeptics to do. But, Michael reminds us, we all choose our Overleaves for a purpose— so, what is important is to stay, as much as we can, in the positive pole of our own Attitude, come what may.
Besides, being an Idealist isn’t perfect, anyhow. They have a tendency to put on blinders and be naïve.

It’s easier than with the other Overleaves to ‘borrow’ from the other Attitudes. So, someone in the Expressive Attitude of Skepticism can, on occasion, slide into Idealism but also into any other of the Attitudes such as the Moving Attitude of Realism, for instance. In this case, the Skeptic who borrows from Realism will kind of ‘stack’ the Realism on top of the Attitude of Skepticism the personality uses primarily: seeing reality clearly, but through a lens of skepticism— being skeptical about the motives of the other people involved, for instance.
Cynic [5%]
While rereading this material in prep for this post, I was struck by something: There is a comedic novel series written by Donald Westlake. Called the Dortmunder Series, it’s about a gang of thieves that can’t shoot straight.
The primary character, John Dortmunder is the classic cynic.
He’s a brilliant strategist who can plan a burglary to the finest detail. And, he can pull it off—up to a point. And then it goes wrong— in some hilarious way. John doesn’t see the humor, of course. But the reader does. =D

But, here’s the point: John just plods along through a gray lifetime in a gray world always expecting the worst. He distrusts everyone; he even distrusts good fortune when it [rarely] puts in an appearance. He’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop. When it does he’s likely to say something like, “Oh, yeah, that’s right,” and then just go on as if nothing had happened. He’s not at all surprised that, in the end, it all went wrong.
Even so, he never gives up— as in THE HOT ROCK when he steals the same emerald 5 times [along with a few other crimes thrown in for good measure] before finally getting his hands on it—only to lose it again.
[After noticing how well Dortmunder is outlined here, I began hunting for the other characters in the books to see if I could pinpoint their Attitudes. Where I can, I’ll profile them as well. If anyone else is familiar with Dortmunder and his gang, I hope you’ll add your views to mine.]
Galloping back to my primary point here, the Cynical Attitude is chosen for protection during a highly karmic lifetime. Cynics distrust the motives of others and expect life not to work out— no matter how hard they try. Life is a bowl of cherry pits, anyway. The only thing worth focusing on is the negative.
Expecting the worst anyhow, the Cynic isn’t disappointed when it comes.
The classic ‘yes-but’-ers, Cynics will find fault with any suggestion you put out there. They will always find a reason why your idea won’t work.
They are unconventional: they disregard social institutions and will always find sufficient reason to disregard conventional wisdom.

In the positive pole, Cynics tend to root out stupidity before it goes too far. Believing that, “If anything can go wrong, it will,” they’ll at least try to come up with a fool-proof plan because, according to their viewpoint, everyone is a fool, in any case.
They are not easily conned. They don’t take people at face value and are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
In the negative pole, Cynics will scoff and jeer. Preoccupied with the negative, they become caustic and will argue for argument’s sake. Preferring to gripe rather than try to make things better— they can look pretty miserable.

Realist [30%]
Realists pay particular attention to the action going on around them.

Among Dortmunder’s colleagues, there’s a guy named Andy Kelp. At the drop of a hat, Andy will launch into a long, drawn out anecdote about a mutual acquaintance. There doesn’t need to be any point to the tale— that it happened is enough to justify its telling. He may get to the end of a story and then just gaze off into the distance— barely even being aware that he has come to the end. It will take an impatient, “Get ON with it, willya?” from John to get Andy to come back to earth.
If John then brings up another topic or person for consideration, he’s likely to launch Andy into yet another yarn about the new person or topic. And John just patiently waits for Andy to wind down again.

And Andy goes in for fads. He was the first kid on his block to get a fax and a cell phone. He has managed to shoplift lots of phones and has one in every room of his apartment–even the bathroom and the hall closet. None of these phones look like your standard phone, though. Each is unique.
Andy has tried to get John to install more than the one phone in the kitchen. After all, Andy will shoplift it for him–he won’t even have to pay for it. But John will have nothing to do with the idea. Once, when Andy wouldn’t lay off about it, John threw the phone out a window. And Andy finally got the point.
There’s another character who may be a Realist: Stan Murch— the driver. Ask Stan how he got here today— if you have no other plans this afternoon. Because he will tell you— in the minutest detail —the route he took and why, what streets were torn up along the way, what alternate routes he took as a result, etc. etc. etc.
Realists are concerned with the behavior and activities of other people. They also like to be up on the trends and fashions— whatever is new on the world scene. This makes them rather conventional people, who conform to social norms and institutions [not Andy and Stan, of course, who are, after all,  crooks. But that’s another matter.]

Realists are also often news-hounds.

Where Cynics put a stop to what is happening, Realists are unable to put a stop to anything. Instead, they are carried along by events. If a Cynic and a Realist are discussing something, the Cynic will be brief and negative and the Realist will be verbose and positive.

Realists ramble aimlessly when they talk — they cannot come to a conclusion, or get to the point, or make a concise, definitive statement. This is a dead giveaway for detecting a Realist.

Cynics see what is wrong with the world, Realists simply see things the way they are.

The Positive Pole of the Realist Attitude is Perception. Events in life seem transparent to these folks. They see things exactly as they are, so their vision is not distorted. They regard the world as a continually interesting series of occurrences of unending variety, and they approve. If there is a meaning or a mood within the action, it is not as important as the bare event itself.
Because they perceive external events neutrally, they are rather experimental in their own lives. They also readily go along with the proposals of others. This can of course work to their detriment if the suggestions are stupid or harmful.

In the Negative pole the person assumes that everything is OK, and I do mean EVERYTHING. Since such a person sees all sides to every issue, there is little understanding of a current situation. People in this pole are unable to come to a conclusion. Every alternative is seen as equally viable, so they can be wishy-washy.
Such people are uncommitted to any particular action, so it is possible for them to be easily persuaded. They will go along with just about anything. If you ask a person in the negative pole of Realism a question to which you expect a simple yes or no answer, you will likely get a lengthy, roundabout discourse that explores every aspect of the question but which arrives at no answer.

The simplest way out of the negative pole, here, is to apply the Positive Pole of the complementary attitude of Cynicism: Contradiction. Use the inherent process of elimination to arrive at a conclusion. Start looking for things that are wrong instead of always seeing everything that is right.


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