Friday 01 October 2010

Cynicism Versus Skepticism

I am appalled by the indifference shown by some individuals between cynicism and skepticism. They habitually question with a jaded negativity the integrity and professed motives of others, and they reject without due justification others’ values and opinions that are necessarily different from those of their own. Often, they mistakenly believe that they are the best judges of society’s ethical or moral standards and that their nonconformity to the established institutions serves only to reflect their superior intellect and character.

Further, these individuals are quick to defend their practice of cynicism as healthy skepticism, incorrectly believing that they are one and the same. While both may be used to question current thinking or beliefs, blanket cynicism is all but a cowardly shield that is used to try to hide the cynics’ own insecurity of the world around them of which they understand very little. For them, it is an easy escape to adopt to remain morally superior by senselessly denouncing all societal conventions. Moreover, cynicism requires no recognition of the boundary between truth and lie, fact and fiction, reasoning and ignorance. It demands little from its practitioners, who are seemingly comforted by the empty knowledge which their indifference brings.

Skeptics investigate to search out the real answers. Cynics believe in their own answers without even looking.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under Life • Under World
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