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]