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 ?
But Calhoun Kidd, having finished a milk and soda, betook himself smartly up the road towards the Grey Cottage, leaving his cynical informant to his whisky and tobacco.
Winterbourne was not pleased with what he heard, but when, coming out upon the great steps of the church, he saw Daisy, who had emerged before him, get into an open cab with her accomplice and roll away through the cynical streets of Rome, he could not deny to himself that she was going very far indeed.
From a heart tender to all, he liked to say wanton, savage and cynical things, but he bore no malice if you gainsaid him.
But, including in "action" that literary production in which the line of his own proper activity lay, he followed--followed often--that fastidious utterance to a cynical and pessimistic conclusion.
And, trembling, pale, and gasping for breath, he pointed to the gibbet at the other side of the yard, with the cynical inscription surmounting it.
Here was a man, neither bitter nor cynical, who laughed at the city-dwellers and called them lunatics; a man who did not care for money, and in whom the lust for power had long since died.
He was unafraid to die, bitter and cynical of all the ways of living; and yet, dying, he loved life, to the last atom of it.
I could ascertain nothing in relation to it, except that the bequest was accompanied by some cynical remarks, to the effect that the testator would feel happy if his legacy were instrumental in reviving the dormant interest of only one member of Doctor Softly's family in the fortunes of the hopeful young gentleman who had run away from home.
You are getting like your old cynical self again, Mr.
His smile impressed me as cynical and a trifle contemptuous.
Or was he a cynical bachelor crow, believing that he travels the fastest who travels alone?
On her return from the George the building operations were complete, and the old Henry fronted her, competent, cynical, and kind.