Cynicism

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Make an Appointment. What are Idealism and Cynicism? How Cynicism Can Harm Us Yet despite its many benefits, cynicism can actually be harmful to both our psychological and physical health. How to Become More of an Idealist Given all this information, a shift towards idealism could be beneficial. Here are a few ways you can make it: Heal past wounds Psychotherapist Amy Morin points out that cynicism often stems from hurtful incidents from our past.

Brought to you by The Viva Center Are you ready to try therapy in a whole new way? Be the first to hear about events and updates Connecticut Ave. Contact us today to get started on your better life Make an Appointment We can't wait to meet you! Check Out the Resilient Brain Project A comprehensive library of free apps, videos, playlists, research, and more. Whatever you make of Snowden, whistleblowers and campaigners such as Karen Silkwood and Erin Brockovich are both cynical about what they see and idealistic about what they can do about it.

The Problem with Cynicism -The Book of Life

For many years, I too have tried to make sure that the cynicism in my outlook does not lead to cynicism in my behaviour. That's not the only way in which a proper cynicism challenges the simplistic black-and-white of received opinion. The cynic would surely question the way in which the world is divided into optimists and pessimists. Optimism has various dimensions, and just because some people take a dim view of human nature and some future probabilities, that does not mean they are hardcore pessimists who believe things can only get worse.

Cynics refuse to be typecast as Jeremiahs. They are realists who know that the world is not the sun-kissed fantasy peddled by positive-thinking gurus and shysters.

Indeed, the greatest irony of all is that many of the people promoting optimism are unwittingly feeding a view of human nature that is cynical in the very worst sense. Like many, she traces our tendency to make positive or negative judgments back to our brains and the ways in which they have been cast by our DNA and shaped by our experience. Her upbeat conclusion is that by understanding the neural basis of personality and mood, we can change it and so increase our optimism, health and happiness. The deeply cynical result of this apparently cheerful viewpoint is that it encourages us to see what we think and believe as products of brain chemistry, rather than as rational responses to the world as it is.

Rather than focus on our reasons for being optimistic or pessimistic about, say, the environment, we focus instead on what in our brains is causing us to be optimistic or pessimistic. And that means we seek a resolution of our anxieties not by changing the world, but by changing our minds. If that's not taking a cynical view of human merit and potential, I don't know what is.


  1. Cynicism | Definition of Cynicism by Merriam-Webster?
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  3. CYNICAL | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary!

So far, I have avoided the easiest way to defend cynicism, which is to point to its illustrious pedigree in the ancient Hellenic school of philosophy from which it gets its name. But I would be cynical about that too.

How is skepticism different than cynicism? Find the answer in ancient Greece

Words change their meanings, and so you cannot dignify the cynicism of now by associating it with its distant ancestor. Nonetheless, there are lessons for modern cynicism from the likes of Diogenes and Crates.


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What they show is that a proper cynicism is not a matter of personality but intellectual attitude. Their goal was to blow away the fog and confusion and see reality with lucidity and clarity. The contemporary cynic desires the same. The questioning and doubt is not an end in itself but a means of cutting through the crap and seeing things as they really are. The ancient Cynics also advocated asceticism and self-sufficiency. There is something of this too in their modern-day counterparts, who are aware that we waste too much of our time and money on things we don't need, but that others require us to buy to make them rich.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

People who live rigorously by this cynicism are often seen as grumpy killjoys. To be light and joyful today means spending freely, without guilt, on whatever looks as if it will bring us pleasure. That merely shows how deeply our desires have been infected by the power of markets. It is the cynic who actually lives more lightly, unburdened by the pressure to always have more, not relying on purchases to provide happiness and contentment.

How To Be A Cynic

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