Talk:Cynicism (contemporary)

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When I encountered this article it was laughably incomplete: dwelling only on the ancient Greeks. I have added much more and attempted to respect the tone of the numerous comments below: in particular, 1) being careful not to confuse cynicism with skepticism; 2) providing enough history (see Bertrand Russell essay in 1930) to show that cyncism is not something that entered the mainstream in the 1980s Globaleducator 19:45, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't the use of the word bullshit (..tend to dismiss a substantial proportion of popular beliefs and accepted wisdom as bullshit...) make this entry NPOV? I agree with the gist of the sentence, but couldn't come up with a better description. Anyone else? --Frecklefoot 15:20 19 May 2003 (UTC)

The sentence states what cynics "tend to do", which is not agreeing or disagreeing with their POV, just stating what it usually is. However I wrote the original article and I am a committed cynic so there may well be POV elements which need correcting. LordK 20/5/03

I think that this, also, needs mentioning on this page: "Ladies and gentlemen! Cynicism is not dead, as it survives in your hearts & in your minds! Stand up! Stand up for freedom of expression! Stand up for life and truth and meaning and shout: 'I, I too am a disappointed optimist!'" ~ FreedomSpeaks 12:55, 6 November 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

The word also has a meaning of immoral. This meaning should be added. This is different from the meaning in the article although there may be an overlap for some individuals. Andries 10:06, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Some of this discussion misses the point: 1) We must come up with an agreed definition of contemporary cynicism. I would propose something along the lines of "belief that people, societies behave hypocritically vis-a-vis their stated ideals" 2) Some people in society ( perhaps after interacting with a cynic ) come to believe that cynicism is concerned with pessimism with regards to social outcomes or a desire to be uncooperative or unwillingness to have or sustain ideals.

This duality can be summarized by the question : "Is it right to call a spade a spade if it is an orange?". That is to say, we must decide if the correct definition of cynicism is from the cynic's POV or that of his or her critics. Without accurately exploring the motivations and perspectives of the cynic, we really don't do justice to the topic any more than if we tried to understand Buddhism or Stoicism only from the POV of its antagonists.

Remember that contemporary cynicism, insofar as it makes judgements on human nature, societal patterns of behavior, etc. is more akin to a philosophy than an attitude or state of mind. It should therefore be treated as such. That it has diverged from its ancient origins, makes it no less valid a point of view. Indeed, cynical points of view can be found in both The Republic and the Book of Job. Cynicism has endured not as a mental disease but as a response to events around the individual. That is to say, the individual who acquires cynicism, acquires it in the same way as others acquire socialism. --- — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:39, 25 July 2012 (UTC) i would like to support the previous post. I believe that in modern usage an important use of the concept of cynicism is to describe a misleading, immoral tactic to further one's own ends, such as politicians and public figures (and corporations) appealing to ideals such as patriotism, humanity, compassion to further other agendas 21:37, 10 February 2007 (UTC) (sky)

In my opinion, what you are describing is actually a misuse of the word "cynicism." As best I can recall, this use of the word only became common in the eighties. We already have plenty of other words to describe that sort of thing, so it rather detracts from the usefulness of the word "cynicism" to apply it in that way. I'm not proposing that the article must follow my own opinions, but if something is added about this use of the word then it should acknowledge that a difference of opinion exists. Kevin Nelson 08:11, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Concurred, Cynicism is an ethical theory system, and a philosophy, preaching to live a life of virtue, — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:38, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Refusal to listen to rational arguments[edit]

Not only that, but the word can also mean someone who refuses to listen to your reasons and would rather just believe their own, often negative, version of your opinion. For example, "I don't like puns..." "Why?" "Because they make me sneeze." "That's because you need a sense of humour." "No... I just don't like it." "No, you need a sense of humour!"

Sorry I can't explain that any better... I may be wrong altogether. If someone agrees with me then say that you do, and I may even put this definition in the article. --huwr 10:55, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Huwr, I don't know how to include this suggestion ("refusing to listen to rational arguments"?)in the article. Besides I have doubts about the veracity of your suggestion. Andries 11:13, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
So do I, now. After looking up 'cynical' in the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary (third edition, if anyone cares.) it says "sneering, mocking" as the third definition. So it means more of an 'obnoxiously disagreeing', than 'refusing to rationalise'. The other two are just what is already in this article.--huwr 06:27, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

anthistenes ,founder of the "cynic school",understood ,by following the teachings of his master socrates,that the naked truth is that there is no absolute truth and intrinsic goodness in the universe; therefore the only thing we know is that we know nothing , and virtue or goodness must be achieved because is not granted. this realisation is painful , and anthistenes took it very seriously. thats why his followers and himself became fanatics and were rejected and ridiculed by the majority , even by socrates. it was diogenes,disciple of anthistenes,who later on came to the same realisation, but he took it with humour and compassion instead,seeing how ridiculous the "human situation" actually is: "like that one of the dog trying to catch his own tail"...and he became enlightened. diogenes ,after his enlightenment,travelled around greece almost naked ,enjoying the warm weather,the sun and the beaches and gathering around him thousands of pilgrims who listened to his hillarious talks pregnant with sarcastic remarks about society and a sharp sense of humour. even the emperor alexander "the great", on his way to conquer india, came to him once; but with a sense of "resignation" he couldn´t take diogenes advice of dropping at once his conquering desires ,because alexander "believed" that "his destiny" was already written. alexander died two years later. when diogenes died a "dog" (symbol of cynicism) was carved on his thombstone . the dog symbol has the "positive" hilarious connotation of the koan of "the dog trying to catch his own tail" (also symbolic of diogenes enlightenment) ; and not the "negative" or "pessimistic" one of "the angry barking dog" that most neophytes adjudicate to the cynics because of anthistenes attitude towards life. as a matter of fact diogenes" probably" was and still is the first and only true "cynic" (Guruyatri/12:25/okt12.06)

Reason for deletion of "The Best Page in the Universe"[edit]

I saw no references to cynicism. The site appeared to be a collection of self-professed "angry thoughts" and "things that piss me off", which is all very good, but isn't exactly cynicism. The link in question is . --Ds13 20:44, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Just because the site doesn't refer to cynicism directly, doesn't mean it's not an good example of cynicism in practice! You see examples all over of his cynicism, here's one; "Who the hell are all these people who listen to sports talk anyway? None of it matters you morons. Nobody cares what Jim Rome thinks about some football player's salary. Choke already." (Quote of Maddox). That is only one example, there are more - And it's basically, behind the angry masquarade, a world-weary cynicism "What you do won't matter, so just give up. Your vote means nothing, your grades don't mean ***..." etc. Therefore, I think it should stay. --OleMurder 15:38, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)
You point about not referring to cynicism directly is taken; I agree it could still be an example. I still think anger and egotism is the distracting quality of that site, overshadowing the cynicism somewhat, but lacking other external examples I think it should be added back now, also. What do you think about labelling/qualifying the link somewhat in its description? --Ds13 18:54, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)

An site exampling great world-weary cynicism, anger and egoism. Good to see you agreein', tho...must be my (lacking) convincing skills. Heh.--OleMurder 16:00, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Maddox' site is an exercise in satire, not cynicism. It is like - good enough to make you wonder how much exactly is supposed to be joking and what's serious. --TheOtherStephan 03:56, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think maddox's site is satire. There aren't many people like him around to make fun of and what he writes seems like his own thoughts. 02:50, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Removal of merger template with cynic[edit]

I removed the merger template because the ancient school of philosophy is too different from the current meaning of the word. Andries 10:50, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Woohoo! I'm proud to be profoundly cynical and nihilistic! I believe my liver is diseased.... — BRIAN0918 • 2005-08-11 19:38

The last paragraph about the behavioral indication of profound cynicism should be removed as not up to the standards of the rest of the article. (1) There are other reasons besides cynicism to not get involved in "defending principles", therefore this behavior (if such it can be called) is not a sure sign of cynicism. The next two sentences speak vaguely of involvement, but not all involvment is in "defense of principles". This is poor writing and not accurate.

This article is a good start, but needs some specific info (so-and-so wrote such-and-such)... without such actual reporting of who is saying what about cynicism, this is an opinion piece. -- Chira 02:10, 8 November 2005 (UTC)


'Cynics themselves tend to take this view, regarding themselves as enlightened free thinkers, and their critics as deluded social pretenders who "bury their heads in the sand."' -A citation/documentation is needed for this quote. I mean, who or what are you quoting anyways??

I think that particular editor was referring to an old saying/metaphor with "bury their heads in the sand", partly to indicate it as a metaphor and partly to add a slight element of sarcasm. I did some editing of that, feel free to do whatever you wish (within the Wikipedia guidelines of course lol) with it. Brad 01:03, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Totally off topic (but not really) ... found this great quote by George Bernard Shaw: "The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it." JubalHarshaw 20:09, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Devil's Dictionary[edit]

The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce, 1911, sub voce "cynic":

CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.

-- Ziusudra 13:45, 14 May 2006 (UTC)


Is it not true that the Cynics, in ancient Greece, taught that virtue constitutes happiness and that self-control is the essential part of virtue.

Hence i think that some revision/modification needs to be made to-

"Presently the word generally describes, somewhat pejoratively, the opinions of those disinclined to believe in human sincerity, in virtue, or in altruism: individuals who maintain that only self-interest motivates human behavior."

Taken care of. Brad 15:45, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Neutral Point of View[edit]

It seems as if this writer is more of a non-cynisist or almost anti-cynisist because the point of veiw conveys a mostly negative attitude towards this ideal and way of thinking. Also, the page seems a bit scrambled together with no real sources and more of an opinion/common attitude towards the explanation of Cynicism. I would suggest a re-write, but I do not have enough knowledge of the subject to do it myself. Anyone?

From TFA: "It can be argued that an excess of cynicism actually leads to a disassociation from reality, because it leads to easy rejection of hard answers." - Not a shining example of Neutrality, and with no supporting documentation that this in fact the case.

I agreed with the criticizm of the sentence: it's an editorial remark. I deleted it. The writer may have been thinking instead of paranoia. Although a good rough draft, the article as it now stands is indeed an opinion piece, not an encyclopedia article. I think that with some heavy editing to remove the imbedded point of view, it could be brought up to the standard for the Wikipedia. Tom Lougheed 21:07, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I just read the entire aritcle. I have to agree it shows obvious bias. I was tempted to make edits but refrained. I see its been YEARS since the quality of this article was pointed out. It is a very sad state of affairs, but maybe I'm imagining things - according to this article cynics are statistically more likely to be demented... (talk) 00:41, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

I added some statements and replaced a broken link, and also added a couple references. It's not much but it's a start. I might do more later. Feel free to do some editing of my edits of course if you find them improper or insufficient. This is a difficult article to edit on an encyclopedia, as they are intended to present reliable factual content, and in the case of cynicism it largely depends on either well thought out or flawed logic, as the article itself is about a pioint of view. Brad 00:59, 2 September 2006 (UTC)


What is the point of this statement in the article:

" They want to see the world for how it is (or how they perceive it to really be) rather than delude themselves."

It makes no sense to me and seems to be NPOV (by calling cynics deluded). 14 May 2006

Actually, if you dig through the sentence, it actually claims that the cynics reject delusion. But the tortured nature of the article makes it hard to get which way the wind is blowing. I suspect that the current bad state of the article is from an anti-cynic and a cynic who have been using the article to argue with each other via the Wikipedia. Both authors are representing opposite, and non-neutral points of view. Tom Lougheed 21:14, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Isn't being cynical the same as taking a negative belief about things rather than the positive one? -Wikipedia-fan

cyn·i·cism (sn-szm) n. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others: the public cynicism aroused by governmental scandals. That was taken from [ Originally cynicism was the doctorate/philosophy of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics, which pronoted self-control and independance, or in general, virtue, is the only good. The modern definition is as I referenced above, a sort of skepticism about the values and motives of others, I suppose you could say, pessimism regarding human nature. Ever read Lord Of The Flies? That book is a good example of a cynical message about society.

I think you are referring more to Misanthropy--the view that human beings are inherently "bad." Cynicism is a more of a general attitude to the world, that....well, I might as well do a little re-writing of the article. Cynicism is the view that things in the world are usually not as they seem, but rather more suspect. The cynic will tend to be suspicious whenever he reads of a "nice" person or deed, but not suspicious when he hears of another unmasking of a corrupt politician/businessman. 18:55, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Antisthenes or Anthistenes[edit]

I don't think it matters too much which way the name is transcribed, but for consistency's sake I would suggest picking one and sticking with it instead of changing it up each time the old wise man is mentioned.Slothicm 21:32, 24 October 2006 (UTC)slothicm

Humor :)[edit]

Cynicism is a hallway poster that says, "Question everything!"

Extreme cynicism is a post-it note that is stuck to the poster and that says, "Why?"

Kevinkor2 17:51, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

The first is skepticism but yeah good one all the same. Sioraf (talk) 09:34, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

What fool wrote this article?[edit]

Yet another poor Wikipedia article. It actually thinks it's pro-cynicism, when what it thinks is cynicism is actually skepticism (something much different). Any citing this article for a paper on cynicism in an English 101 class would get an "F" if it were up to me.--Rotten 13:30, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Why would you ever cite Wikipedia for a College paper, anyways?

Cynicism is abandoning indivudals, skepticism is abandoning the search for the truth. Its likely to cross over you know.Tourskin

Socrates ridicules the cynics[edit]

Excuse me but how did Socrates ridicule the cynics - I went to the Socrates link and he also believed virtue was the highest good, and I am looking for the counter argument to this worldview. Would you mind elaborating.

signed Purrin.

Being Bold[edit]

I've removed about half of the current 'History of Cynicism' section since it was simply a series of uncited statements about Diogenes and didn't really advance much other information. I've also taken the liberty of removing the Paganism linky-type box at the bottom of the page since, unless anyone wants to reeducate me, I couldn't see any specific connection with paganism (aside the obvious that the Ancient Greeks were pagans), especially neopaganism. Unfortunately I'm not a student of Ancient Greece or of philosophy so I'm afraid all I can really do is subtract - I'd love to pad the article out a bit but I don't have the knowledge of the subject. - Shrivenzale (talk) 10:26, 15 January 2008 (UTC)


I cited the whole current article than removed the "needs to be cited tag". Just a note, if more content is added please try to cite it so the cynics don't assume the worse. Halofan101 (talk) 22:03, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Further clean-up[edit]

I had a stab at an additional clean-up of this page. I rewrote the lead to be a rough summary of the article, and I added a paragraph (with references) of fairly random stuff on modern cynicism. I deleted almost two paragraphs of rather vague material, because the information was either uncited, or badly cited with weblogs:

The second half of the 20th century featured a general rejection[citation needed] of virtue and self-restraint, and a movement toward materialism — particularly in what Pope John Paul II termed "the cynical society of consumerism" in his 1984 Christmas remarks.[1][not in citation given] The same communications media whose advertising bolstered consumerism also occasionally promoted entertaining conspiracy theories, thus adding the long-standing traditions of conspiracies to a new "hidden agenda" dimension to the cynicism of some.[2]

In recent decades, the study of human nature — one book's title portrays a Battle for Human Nature[3] — focused new attention on cynicism.[citation needed] In attempting to counter an alleged widespread belief portraying "jungle ethics" and the associated competition, self-interest, and survival of the fittest as innate to the human animal, researchers[who?] with an opposing agenda looked for a genetic basis for co-operation and altruistic behavior, and for signs that human societal participation ultimately built upon co-operation and altruism.[4]

Singinglemon (talk) 20:51, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't exactly say that cynicism means "an attitude of *scornful negativity", but on the whole I think the article was substantially improved by this edit. --Duncan MacCall (talk) 23:07, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah yes, good point. That definition is from The American Heritage Dictionary cited in the article: An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity. Some other dictionaries also define it that strongly (my old Oxford English dictionary refers to a "sneering fault-finder"). I shall put the milder adjective "jaded" instead of "scornful" in the lead section, it may sound more appropriate now I come to think of it. Singinglemon (talk) 00:53, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Ay, jaded is apt no doubt. --Duncan MacCall (talk) 09:13, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

The contemporary title and content is repeated twice. Can someone who is more knowledgeable than I am, please clean this up.--Love.Of.Knowledge (talk) 15:21, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Undue weight.[edit]

The tag is there because the that section is a collection of facts "Jim says this", "Bob says that", which is more reflective of the individuals at hand than reflective of the consensus on what cynicism is. For example (and this is not the only one), take this passage "Alfie Kohn argued that a person's cynicism stems from escaping responsibility, another belief sees cynicism as following sophistication in human psychological development.[12]" Alright, Kohn argued that. Woop-dee-doo. Instead of citing and reflecting the many individual views of many different people, this article should be citing reviews and views supported by more than one person at a time.

Other views such as "The first half of the 20th century, with its two World Wars, offered little hope to people wishing to embrace an idealism diametrically opposed to cynicism: seeing fellow-humans as trustworthy, well-intentioned, caring, decent, and honourable." are completely unbacked and pure POV. There's also many problems of tone and neutrality in that section (and in the entire article as well). Things like "which had never gone out of fashion" have no place in an article like this. And so on. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 07:54, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, your comments are all correct, I think. Anyone recently saying that this article has substantially improved may be remembering the piece of garbage that was this page just a couple of years ago: [1]. Compared with that, the current version is amazingly well-sourced, neutral, and accurate. :-) It's interesting that Wikipedia once used to have articles which were that poor. Any sections of the current article which you think are completely unbacked and pure POV, you should just simply remove, rather than slapping banners on it. Noone will object. One problem, I think, with trying to write a page on this subject is that modern Cynicism is something of a vague, nebulous concept. I'm not sure there is an objective way of defining and measuring it. Singinglemon (talk) 20:53, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Alright. I pruned half the article, but the end result is neutral and POV-free.Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 22:43, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
I must admit I wasn't expecting you to prune two-thirds of the old article [2]. :-) Whether there was anything worth keeping in the Toward modern cynicism section I'm not sure. The Types of cynicism section did, at least, reference some academic papers, mainly to do with organizational and workplace cynicism. I wouldn't object to something like that being in the article. On a page like this, unless it's been put together by an expert on the subject, one is always going to end up with rather haphazard content. Singinglemon (talk) 22:34, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Well the divisions into some rather specific types of cynicism (not cynicism, organizational cynicism) seemed to be, for lack of better terms, the product of everything wrong with social sciences. Over-analysis of simple/obvious things, inventing arbitrary divisions, making up scenarios for them and pretend these are reflective of reality, then supporting them with shoddy evidence relying on rather heavy assumptions (that you can measure things such as cynicism for exemple!)... Anyway, I'll stop here because I don't want to turn this into a rant against humanities and liberal arts. Some of the references could perhaps be salvaged as further reading material, however. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 01:51, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Are these definitions also correct?[edit]

Regarding the modern meaning. I've come across a different usage of this word where cynism is: -treating social norms instrumentally to achieve one's goals and in consequence projecting one's bad intentions on other people. -A conscious wrongdoing without qualm. (talk) 20:18, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I disagree with both as definitions. Where did you come across them? See WP:CS --Donkey Hotay (talk) 05:58, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

I think this echoes some of the points in earlier threads. The word "cynical" is quite often used in the media, which for some reason shies away from calling people "dishonest." Example: "Senator so-and-so's Hope and Prosperity program is a thinly-veiled amnesty program that serves as a cynical appeal to illegal immigrants who may become future voters". In this case it really is being used to mean "dishonest" or "deceptive" or "hypocritical"; it is in fact the perspective of the writer that is cynical. A cynic values consistency and honesty above all else. A cynic does not believe that all people are inherently evil, because the honesty of a powerless person is irrelevant. A cynic does believe that people in positions of power will say and do anything to attain and retain such positions. Therefore, anything a powerful person says to the contrary raises suspicion as to the real motives. Cynics would have no problem with actual despots, or shameless demagogues, as long as they were up-front about being in charge and ruling for their own benefit (although such a regime would doubtless have problems with them).

Posted by Douglas Brown —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:58, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Modern Cynicism[edit]

Because of the great discrepencies between Classical Cynicism and Modern (19th Century onward) Cynicism, does anyone else feel like Modern Cynicism deserves its own article?
-Deathsythe (talk) 16:15, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Suggested merge of Modern cynicism into Cynicism[edit]

As per the Cynicism talk page, the differences between Modern and classical cynicism are vast, and should warrant two separate articles. Please refrain from merging the two articles until there is further discussion on this matter, as well as the giving both articles a chance to seperate and grow on their own away from eachother first. -Deathsythe (talk) 14:51, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree. They seem very different concepts. Perhaps we need two articles Cynicism (philosophy) and Cynicism (contemporary), with a cross-definition on both articles plus a disambiguation page for Cynicism. Skepticism has encountered a similar issue between Philosophical skepticism and the modern term. nirvana2013 (talk) 12:01, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I have removed the merger tags. nirvana2013 (talk) 15:56, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Phew, right well this is getting to be a real spaghetti pile of changes. :-) I'm pretty sure all this cutting and pasting pages is frowned upon because it breaks the edit history - we'll all end up getting banned by the admins if this goes on much longer. :-) I've done a bit of work to Cynicism (contemporary), so that, at least it's more than just a stub now. Before there is any more "merging" or moving, can we get some sort of agreement on whether we want a Cynicism (philosophy) page? We also need to decide what to do about the two disambiguation pages (Cynicism (disambiguation) and Cynic (disambiguation)), and also where the page Cynic is supposed to redirect to. I bet you're glad you started all this now. :-) Singinglemon (talk) 23:10, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Personally I am happy with page titles Cynicism and Cynicism (contemporary) (no need for Cynicism (philosophy)), as the original meaning of the word should take priority. What do you think we should do about Cynicism (disambiguation) and Cynic (disambiguation), as I have no strong conviction? In the interests of neutrality, Cynic should probably redirect to Cynic (disambiguation). However, in the interests of ease (there are currently 500+ links and 50+ links linking to the disambiguation rather than Cynicism), I have reverted my change and redirected Cynic and Cynics back to Cynicism. One could also argue that if Cynicism takes priority because it is faithful to the original meaning, then Cynic and Cynics should redirect to that page first. Phew!! :-) nirvana2013 (talk) 08:52, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Positive and negative cynicism[edit]

I believe the word cynicism is sometimes is used in a positive sense (that is people use it refer to themselves as if were a power) and sometimes it is used in a negative sense, as if it simply meant "jaded". This is confirmed by some of the sources already in the article, and I have modified the lead to represent both senses. Gregcaletta (talk) 04:35, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Disagree. In our context, cynic is a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions, period. Synonyms include misanthropic and distrustful. CYNICAL DEFINED. Should your hypothetical well-intended cynic decide to evangelize his POV, that would be from another motivation, not from cynicism. Therefore it has no place here. There is no mainstream positive sense of cynicism. Because it is a common, well-known error to confuse cynicism with skepticism, —that is no reason to further that misunderstanding here. In fact it is that error in the lede; (and elsewhere here,) all undocumented POV, that brings me here. For example, see: - I'm a skeptic not a cynic "Often people confuse “skeptic” with “cynic.” Skeptic is derived from the Greek skeptikos,..." Science writer Jamie Hale continues: When I say “skeptical,” I mean that I need to see valid evidence before believing a claim. “Cynical” on the other hand means taking a negative view and not willing to accept evidence for the claim."
See also Bill Nye - In Praise of Reason (and Skepticism) "they confuse cynicism with skepticism." Or just [[ |Google: confuse cynicism with skepticism.]]
It is because of that common misunderstanding that some writers are starting to use redundant terms like: "corrosive cynicism." Unless you can find solid mainstream documentation, I intend to clean the article up some. Here are 28 definitions.
-- (talk) 01:29, 17 January 2014 (UTC)Doug Bashford

Tone tag[edit]

I posted the tone tag. The lead does not look academic/clinical enough ("a group of philosophers" => "a school of philosophy", etc.) samwaltz (talk) 18:45, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

You could always change the tone of the lead yourself, you know. :P Singinglemon (talk) 18:28, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Agree: "A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human race or in individuals with desires, hopes, opinions, or personal tastes that a cynic perceives as unrealistic or inappropriate, and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. It is a form of jaded negativity,[citation needed] and other times, realistic criticism or skepticism." ...Not in the dictionaries nor logically germane. I'll clean it up.
-- (talk) 01:52, 17 January 2014 (UTC)Doug Bashford

cynicism and psychology[edit]

what can modren psychology tells us about the origins of cynicism in the human. thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:38, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

Dementia Study[edit]

This should be removed from the page. The population size is woefully inadequate and it is an entirely unnecessary addition. It's the kind of study that shows up in a short Sunday newspaper article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:38, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

I second the notion that this study be removed from the article. It is misleading in that I question its inclusion to begin with. Indeed its inclusion seems to stem from bias. Oecology (talk) 07:38, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

I think the dementia study can stay, but as it stands now, it says "if you're cynical, you have a higher chance of getting dementia" while I'm pretty sure the source is actually saying "people who get dementia are more likely to be cynics". It's a NPOV issue. (talk) 15:41, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Nevermind, it actually does say if you're cynical you're predisposing yourself to dementia. Well, Wikipedia doesn't have to be true, just verifiable. It would make more sense to conclude that the genetic predisposition for dementia is also responsible for cynicism, and also that cynicism could be a diagnostic predictor of future dementia, and also make some hypothesis on the core similarities between dementia and cynicism to understand both better, and to focus on the schema inaccuracies that perpetuate cynicism. (talk) 15:54, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Too complex grammatical structure of first paragraph[edit]

I have never used a 'talk' page before, so bear with me.

The second part of the first paragraph of the article (which finds itself quoted in, for example, search results pages or wikipedia-quoting apps) is almost incomprehensible, due to its construction.

"Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others' motives.[1] A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human species or people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment."

"lack of faith or hope in the human species" what does the "or" split : "lack of faith" and "hope in the human species or people motivated by ambition" ? what is "motivated by ambition, etc.." ? the "lack of faith or hope" ? the "human species or people" ? etc etc.

My first reading gave the following meaning possible : "A cynic may have a general lack of hope in people motivated by ambition and opinions that a cynic perceives as ultimately meaningless, and therefore deserving ridicule"

Having an unclear understanding of what the sentence precisely meant, I don't even feel able to correct it. The sentence should be split in 2 or 3 sentences, the "or" should be clarified, and it should be clear what the past participles are referring to. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:44, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Pope John Paul II: "Redemptionis donum: Apostolic Exhortation of His Holiness promulgated on 25 March 1984" retrieved 2008-04-28. (The quoted phrase does not occur in this translation)
  2. ^ "Conspiracy Theories - 5: Paranoia As Faith" on the web-site "" Retrieved 2008-04-28
  3. ^ Schwartz, Barry The battle for human nature : science, morality, and modern life New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 1986. ISBN 0393023192
  4. ^ "The Cynic's Sanctuary"[verification needed]