Cynicism


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Cynicism

 

a nihilistic attitude toward the general culture, especially toward morality and the idea of human dignity and sometimes toward the official dogma of the prevailing ideology; it is expressed in the form of mockery.

Cynicism in behavior and beliefs is characteristic of people striving to achieve their egoistic goals by any means. On the social plane the phenomena of cynicism originate from two sources. First, there is the “cynicism of force,” which is practiced by the exploitative ruling groups who realize their power and self-seeking goals by openly immoral methods, including fascism and the cult of violence. Second, there are the rebellious moods and actions (for example, vandalism) of various social strata, groups, and individuals who are experiencing the oppression of injustice and inequality and the ideological and moral hypocrisy of the exploitative class, but who see no way out of their situation and thus find themselves in a state of total spiritual bankruptcy. Communist morality opposes cynicism in all of its manifestations.

Cynicism

See also Pessimism.
Antisthenes
(444–371 B. C.) Greek philosopher and founder of Cynic school. [Gk. Hist.: NCE, 121]
Apemantus
churlish, sarcastic advisor of Timon. [Br. Lit.: Timon of Athens]
Backbite, Sir Benjamin
sarcastic would-be poet and wit. [Br. Lit.: School for Scandal]
Bierce, Ambrose
(1842–1914) acerbic journalist for San Francisco Examiner; nicknamed “Bitter Bierce.” [Am. Lit.: Hart, 77]
Diogenes
(412–323 B.C.) frustratedly looked everywhere for an honest man. [Gk. Hist.: Avery, 395]
Ferdinand
rogue drifter views all his experiences with profound cynicism. [Fr. Lit.: Journey to the End of the Night in Magill I, 453]
Lescaut
assured Geronte sister will succumb to his money. [Ital. Opera: Puccini, Manon Lescaut, Westerman, 346]
Pandarus
jaded about good graces of women. [Br. Lit.: Troilus and Cressida]
References in classic literature ?
In its pride of numbers, in its strange pretensions of sanctity, and in the secret readiness to abase itself in suffering, the spirit of Russia is the spirit of cynicism.
Scorn and cynicism would be my only opium; unless I could fall into some kind of conceited madness, and fancy myself a favorite of Heaven because I am not a favorite with men.
But he was possessed by such despair, such cynicism of misery, if one may so call it, that with a wave of his hand he went on.
Media cynicism, which somehow has emerged as journalism's Public Enemy Number One, was taking a drubbing at the session, as it had in a panel on journalistic values that morning.
You can't fulfill business objectives if your newsletter incites your readers' cynicism.
One may agree with or take exception to the tone of her letter, but it does underscore the cynicism about "the government" one perceives in many Americans these days.
Without clear policy objectives, frustrations tend to turn to skepticism, cynicism and acrimony.
Both Hyde and Hawke express concerns about the impact of voter apathy and cynicism on the upcoming election.
It is fitting that this practical, useful, and optimistic book about reforesting our cities has its origins in a city known for its cynicism, materialism, and pollution-Los Angeles.
If the notion of citizenship has become an increasingly important term in Canadian literary studies over the past decade, it must be at least partly in response to the threat of institutional disengagement that comes with a rise in academic cynicism.
DeCelles said that the cynicism starts to become more of a norm, so it becomes much more entrenched.