Cynicism and Common Sense

Sunday, January 12, 2020 – Cynicism and Common Sense

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. ~ George Bernard Shaw

I think there ought to be a club in which preachers and journalists could come together and have the sentimentalism of the one matched with the cynicism of the other. That ought to bring them pretty close to the truth. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Both religions and musicals work best with energetic and committed believers. Cynicism or detachment would have destroyed the magic – something true of religion, too. ~ Lisa Randall

Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth. ~ Lillian Hellman

Distrust of government isn’t baseless cynicism. It’s realism. ~ Ben Shapiro

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business. ~ Tom Robbins

Too much faith is the worst ally. When you believe in something literally, through your faith you’ll turn it into something absurd. One who is a genuine adherent, if you like, of some political outlook, never takes its sophistries seriously, but only its practical aims, which are concealed beneath these sophistries. Political rhetoric and sophistries do not exist, after all, in order that they be believed. Rather, they have to serve as a common and agreed upon alibi. Foolish people who take them in earnest sooner or later discover inconsistencies in them, begin to protest, and finish finally and infamously as heretics and apostates. No, too much faith never brings anything good. ~ Milan Kundera

It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. ~ Thomas Paine

Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong. ~ Thomas Jefferson

I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism, and what we’re lead to is a life not fully lived. Cynicism is fear, and it’s worse than fear. It’s active disengagement. ~ Ken Burns

Cynicism and naivety lie cheek by jowl in the American imagination; if the United States is one of the most venal nations on Earth, it is also one of the most earnestly idealistic.~ Terry Eagleton

America is a country in which I see the most persistent idealism and the blandest of cynicism and the race is on between its vitality and its decadence. ~ Alistair Cooke

We are at heart so profoundly anarchistic that the only form of state we can imagine living in is Utopian; and so cynical that the only Utopia we can believe in is authoritarian. ~ Lionel Trilling

No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up. ~ Lily Tomlin

Cynical realism is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation. ~ Aldous Huxley

Cynicism is humor in ill health. ~ H. G. Wells

If there’s one thing that makes me cynical, it’s optimists. They are just far too cynical about cynicism. If only they could see that cynics can be happy, constructive, even fun to hang out with, they might learn a thing or two. ~ Julian Baggini

The worst cynicism: a belief in luck. ~ Joyce Carol Oates

It is only the cynicism that is born of success that is penetrating and valid. ~ George Jean Nathan

Cynicism is intellectual dandyism. ~ George Meredith

I’ve been to L.A. before, and I love the sunshine and the fact that people seem so genuinely nice and pleased to see you – which is so different from London. Maybe I’ll end up so tired of smiles and helpfulness that I’ll long for the rudeness and cynicism of home. ~ Helen George

You know what the critics are. If you tell the truth they only say you’re cynical and it does an author no good to get a reputation for cynicism. ~ W. Somerset Maugham

If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down. ~ Ray Bradbury

A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will in time produce a people as base as itself. ~ Joseph Pulitzer

Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows. ~ David T. Wolf

My pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of the pessimists. ~ Jean Rostand

Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt. Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves. ~ Robert Anton Wilson

The world keeps ending but new people too dumb to know it keep showing up as if the fun has just started. ~ John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich

We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine. ~ H. L. Mencken

Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. ~ Bertrand Russell

More persons, on the whole, are humbugged by believing in nothing, than by believing too much. ~ Phineas T. Barnum

There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking. ~ Alfred Korzybski

It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong. ~ G. K. Chesterton

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. ~ Bertrand Russell

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ~ Lewis Carroll

They were so strong in their beliefs that there came a time when it hardly mattered what exactly those beliefs were; they all fused into a single stubbornness. ~ Louise Erdrich

Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self-interest backed by force. ~ George Bernard Shaw

The dust of exploded beliefs may make a fine sunset. ~ Geoffrey Madan

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason. ~ Thomas Paine

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. ~ Albert Einstein

He’s a man of great common sense and good taste – meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Common sense, in so far as it exists, is all for the bourgeoisie. Nonsense is the privilege of the aristocracy. The worries of the world are for the common people. ~ George Jean Nathan

Common sense always speaks too late. Common sense is the guy who tells you ought to have had your brakes relined last week before you smashed a front end this week. Common sense is the Monday morning quarterback who could have won the ball game if he had been on the team. But he never is. He’s high up in the stands with a flask on his hip. Common sense is the little man in a gray suit who never makes a mistake in addition. But it’s always somebody else’s money he’s adding up. ~ Raymond Chandler

Common-sense appears to be only another name for the thoughtlessness of the unthinking. It is made of the prejudices of childhood, the idiosyncrasies of individual character and the opinion of the newspapers. ~ W. Somerset Maugham

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible. ~ Bertrand Russell

A man can believe a considerable deal of rubbish, and yet go about his daily work in a rational and cheerful manner. ~ Norman Douglas

I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system. ~ Noam Chomsky

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason. ~ Oscar Wilde

Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense. ~ Helen Rowland

Romantics consider common sense vulgar. ~ Mason Cooley

Genius ain’t anything more than elegant common sense. ~ Josh Billings

Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic. ~ Thomas Huxley

Science is organized common sense where many a beautiful theory was killed by an ugly fact. ~ Thomas Huxley

Nonsense is so good only because common sense is so limited. ~ George Santayana

The trouble with normal is it always gets worse. ~ Bruce Cockburn

Sensible people find nothing useless. ~ Jean De La Fontaine

Because you can’t argue with all the fools in the world it’s easier to let them have their way, and then trick them when they’re not paying attention. ~ Christopher Paolini

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. ~ Vladimir Nabokov