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An idea is a putting truth in check-mate.
Jose Ortega Y Gasset
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Cynicism is a term which originally referred to the ancient Greek philosophy of the Cynics, often considered to have been founded by Antisthenes. Currently, the word "cynicism" generally describes the opinions of those who are disinclined to rely upon sincerity, human virtue, or altruism, and maintain that self-interest is the primary motive of human behaviour.


Alphabetized by author
  • There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.
    • Maya Angelou, as quoted in The Truth in Words (2005) by Neal Zero
  • Cyn-ic: An idealist whose rose-colored glasses have been removed, snapped in two, and stomped into the ground, immediately improving his vision.
  • I’ve seen studies that say cynics keel over from heart disease at a rate four times greater than non-cynics. And I’m sure that unrelieved cynicism isn’t good for the body or the soul; it leads to pessimism, which can lead to depression, which can lead to all sorts of mental and physical miseries. It’s just that we cynics have this need to be honest with ourselves and the world. I think there are benefits to cynicism, too.
    • Rick Bayan, from The Cynic’s Sanctuary website
  • The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad.
    • Henry Ward Beecher, in Lectures to Young Men: On Various Important Subjects (1860) Lecture IV : Portrait Gallery
  • Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.
  • Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.
  • I once said cynically of a politician, "He'll double-cross that bridge when he comes to it."
  • What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.


Alphabetized by author
  • Remember, beneath every cynic there lies a romantic, and probably an injured one.
  • We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs.
  • A cynic is just a man who found out when he was ten that there wasn't any Santa Claus, and he's still upset.
  • Stoicism is the wisdom of madness and cynicism is the madness of wisdom.
  • I am free of prejudice. I hate everyone equally.
  • A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.
  • It takes a clever man to turn cynic and a wise man to be clever enough not to.
  • Cynicism — the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence.
  • I fight cynicism. It's too easy. It's really boring. It's much harder to be positive and see the wonder of everything.
  • A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
  • The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
  • A cynic is a person searching for an honest man, with a stolen lantern.
  • Cynical is a word used by the frightened to describe the realistic.
    • Snog, Australian industrial rock band.
  • No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up.

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