“It’s time, therefore, to reclaim cynicism for the forces of light and truth. Forget about the tired old dichotomies of positive and negative, optimistic and pessimistic. We can’t make things better unless we see quite how bad they are. We can’t do our best unless we guard against our worst. And it’s only by being distrustful that we can distinguish between the trustworthy and the unreliable. To do all this we need intelligent cynicism, which is not so much a blanket negativity, but a searchlight for the truly positive.”
I have a feeling that cynicism is not misanthropy nor a belief that humankind is not capable of any significant advancement . A belief in the hopelessness of all human endeavor does not arise out of a fatalistic pessimism. It is just a studied position that nothing that humans do does really matter in the ultimate analysis.
Surprising that such a position has no ideological basis nor has an origin in the cynic’s own desperate circumstances. How a person becomes a cynic seems a big mystery. Perhaps out of a supercilious attitude cultivated over a period of time to overcome own perceived deficiencies.
Cynicism gives the cynic an intellectual oneupsmanship , a warm afterglow of satisfaction after putting down even the best intellectual arguments put forth by others.Since nothing really matters in the world, whatever others hold forth is plain waffle and does not deserve to be rebutted as an argument or polemic. “Silly asses! they think all this really matters! “ (smirk).The cynic is always perched on the highest of the platforms.