On Being Cynical

Sunday, May 1, 2016 – On Being Cynical

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

Most cynics are really crushed romantics: they’ve been hurt, they’re sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that’s protecting this tiny, dear part in them that’s still alive. ~ Jeff Bridges

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

Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “Yes.” ~ Stephen Colbert

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

Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. ~ George Carlin

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

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when at age six my mother took me to a department store to see him and he asked me for my autograph. ~ Shirley Temple

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

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