Cynical (A Comprehensive Guide)


Author bio

Page last updated: 12/10/2022


Cynical is known as a person who is disrespectful, annoying, and to some extent depressing.

Cynical are the ones that suffer seriously from their own cynicism such as they miss an opportunity to receive the basic joy and entertainment of life that make someone’s life beautiful and worthy i.e. the friend circle and a romantic relationship.

A cynical individual habitually attempts to ignore any participation in their social circle which serves as the foundation for lack of social communication, becomes financially weak, and often left alone. You might get confused between ambivalence and cynical, though both the words are totally different from each other.

All of these factors work together in order to increase the influence of their cynical nature on their mental health that leads to depression and various other illnesses.

Cynical individuals usually try to search for negativity in every situation and other people.

In this article, we will discuss a cynical personality. 

How to make the Cynical diagnoses

Like every other individual, cynical individuals also have some positive characteristics in their personalities.

To understand people with cynical personalities it is necessary to in-depth study their extensive and notable history.

A number of examples of cynical personality can be seen in history.  Athenian philosopher (445-365 BCE) is commonly known as the enthusiastic follower of Socrates.

“Diogenes” a Greek philosopher whose work was related to Socrates’ life he presented Socrates’ humble life in a magnanimous way that he received the title of “a Socrates gone mad” from Plato.

The people belonging to Athens treated Diogenes in an ill-treated and molested way such as they often use abusive words for him and spit in Diogenes’ face.

But, he always receives this criticism and violent behavior in an altruistic way rather than taking it personally and act as offensive.

He believed that human beings must learn and understand some things from the animal like a dog such as straightforwardness and sincerity.

Because dogs do not take thanklessly the gifts from GOD.

The word Cynical and Cynics are actually derived from the Greek word “Kynikos” which means a dog.

Diogenes as a cynical individual always gives preferences to his aim of life and the natural patterns as compared to social norms and tradition that is actually created by other human beings.

Every human being works hard for the attainment of their goal and their goals command them to live a simple and satisfying life rather than running toward the wealth and wasting their precious time to attain the worthless things such as fame and treasure.

Humans have the courage to spend their whole life in a way that helps them to celebrate the little happiness of their life, enjoy nature, not waste their time in making fake promises, and also enjoy their life without fear.

The stories about Diogenes are somehow overstated that help a person to understand his inner-self. 

He dressed in a simple way both in summer and winter seasons.

Plead for foodstuff, also use the container in the form of the shelter house.

He spends his life in a way so that he can challenge society’s norms, rules, and values which he mentioned as “untruthful coppers of goodness”.

When he was challenged to practise onanism publicly he answered in a very intelligent way by saying that if satisfying your hunger was so easy as rubbing your belly then he definitely walked in bright sunlight and exposed a lamp.

When people make a crowd all over the place against the Diogenes as they predictably do, he always responds by saying that “I am searching for a human being”.

Gradually his cynical attitude receives recognition all across the border of Athens and attracts the attention of Alexander the Great when they meet with each other.

Alexander asks the Diogenes about anything he may do as a favor for him. Diogenes responded yes, you can do one thing for me. Don’t stand between me and my sunlight. 

Cynical (A Comprehensive Guide)

Crates of Thebes also inspired by the cynical personality of Diogenes also abandoned his wealthy life and bright future just to spend his life in a cynical way of insufficiency.

In the first century, cynics can be seen easily all over the town of Romans.

Cynicism also symbolizes the ability to have great control over self, have the courage to face the difficulties, and also focus on the optimistic way of thinking.

In the second century, Zeno of Cynicism (334-262 BCE) known as the founder of Stoicism was the student of Crates and the follower of Cynic philosophy introduced a perfect form of Stoicism.

The school of Skepticism and Epicureanism also developed during the time of Alexander.

In the fifth century, Socrates revealed his cynical characteristics by denying his knowledge about various things and holding a position of non-knowledge.

When Alexander takes a tour to India with his colleague (Pyrrho) he meets Gymnosophists (naked man).

Pyrrho claimed that specific knowledge is not gained and advised others about the delay in the judgments by replacing the evil of anxiety and rigidity with mental calmness.

The writings of Rene Descartes (I think therefore I am) can be considered as a true depiction of the Skeptical crisis.

Epicurus of Samos also follows the way of Antisthenes and Diogenes by sacrificing himself to achieve the meaning of true happiness by working on the real goal of existence.

The goal of existence helps others to understand that pain is a bad feeling and happiness is a good feeling.

These feelings determine our acts by measuring the consequences.

This concept may be misunderstood for an extensive self-satisfaction however, it includes a  capacity to measure self-satisfaction over time by viewing the consequences of various things as good or bad.

Epicurus also provides some cautions related to the concept of greed because greed eventually leads humans to pain and guilt as compared to true happiness and satisfaction.

He claimed that the mental peace, satisfaction, and redemption from natural impulses only possible in a way to avoid his greed that helps them to make a happy and satisfactory individual

Cynicism Today

In the modern century Cynical approach or Cynicism gained popularity in the 18th and early 19th period of the century.

Today’s cynicism focuses his attention by peeling off the previous cynicism beliefs and holding only those beliefs that help in breaking the self-importance in human beings.

Cynicism today actually focuses on the feeling of hesitation and mistrust related to the acknowledged intentions, seriousness, sympathetic feeling for others, and also allows others to follow their social norms and moral values.

This belief is often associated with the feeling of doubt, disrespect, and depressive thoughts about others.

Cynicism commonly overlaps with sarcasm and metaphor that says the opposite about the actual meaning in the conversation to stay at the stage of mental calmness and convey the feeling of anger to others in an optimistic way.

Sarcasm can be symbolized as Cynicism if it breaks the posturing of his victim.

In the same way metaphor or irony is used in a way to convey your point of view by using the opposite words empathetically.

The opposite of Cynical or Cynicism can be considered the feeling of trust, faith, and nature which convey the feeling of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge with optimistic beliefs.

The Psychology of Cynicism

There’s a thin line between the cynicism and the logical observation of a concept or phenomena.

Often it is considered the most beneficial way to terminate naturalness as cynicism.

The young generation is considered empty about the concept of cynicism.

In Fictional times, Pritchett claimed that today’s cynical beliefs lost their originality.

If anything depressed a human other than his own cynicism it revealed that it is not the real cynical because cynics feel confident and pride in their cynicism by producing the discomfort and feeling of happiness in others.

They enjoy and search the company of other cynicism so that they can check their boundaries.

The popular show Onion and Daily show can be seen as having the real soul of cynicism because it includes all the aspect such as humor, sarcasm and also the ability to reveal the real face of the society just like the Diogenes who have the ability to challenge the people belongs to Athenians encourage them to a question about their beliefs, moral values and significance of life and solve the mental instability by providing them answers that help them to spend a satisfactory and happy life.

All of the above things clearly revealed the fact that the concept of Cynicism actually has no value in reality except an upset optimism.

Cynical people are often referred to as those who start their life based beyond the realistic patterns, expectations, and high values as compared to seeking adjustment and dealing with others by compromising their own needs. 

They silently remove themselves from society and use sarcasm and irony as a shield to protect themselves.

Cynicism can be understood in a way of defensive ability such as the cynical individual always having something negative about everyone.

They claim that they are not actually hurt or take offense personally or hold any grudges so that others may perceive them as superior and kindhearted but in reality when we see them in depth we come to know that they are more sensitive rather than strong that they usually claimed.

Cynicism can be considered as a way of reasoning, protecting themselves by giving the prediction about the future.

Cynicism can be considered as a way to defend the ego in human beings.

Moreover, the actual or real cynicism is claimed to be based upon the competence in an individual rather than using comedy as a defense. 

In a book of psychology “Hide and seek: the Psychology of self-Deception” cynicism is easily understood in the form of projection.

Human beings have the ability to project their disturbing thoughts and feelings to others.

FAQ about Cynical

What is a person who is cynical?

Cynical is an ego defense that is used to disgrace others or doubting their goals and hard work, they miss an opportunity to receive the basic joy and entertainment of life that make someone’s life beautiful and worthy i.e. the friend circle and a romantic relationship.

They habitually attempt to ignore any participation in their social circle which serves as the foundation for lack of social communication, becomes financially weak, and often left alone.

Is cynical a bad thing?

It is not good nor can it be stated as a bad thing. It is sometimes good to act like a cynic but prefer not to become cynical all the time.

You can see a number of people in your surroundings that hide under the shield of cynicism.

What is an example of cynical?

Cynicism is a way of judging everything and every individual according to their good or bad acts.

It is a thought that people do good deeds to show others how good and kindhearted they are such as the thought that giving charity is a reason to show others or getting their purpose.


Neil Burton MD (2020). “Are you too cynical?