I came upon an article from Men’s Health called ‘The Hazards of Cynicism: Why men fail” last week and I keep finding thoughts from the article resurfacing in my mind. Two thoughts in particular won’t seem to leave me alone. What is the real difference between cynical and critical thinking and have I allowed myself to become cynical in areas of my life.
The difference between critical and cynical was laid out well i thought by MacGetIT (I googled it).
Critical thinking is where you analyze a problem and determine a solution using cause and effect of various processes. You take “no sides” of an issue and movie forward with what’s best towrard a vision of what’s possible.
Cynical thinking is where you lack or do not take into consideration various aspects of a problem and consider all of alternatives to come to a logical and appropriate answer to a problem. A contemptuous or mocking attitude of various ideas or solution.
I consider myself a critical thinker and so I started to worry that maybe I’m cynical as well. I feel a bit better knowing that having a contemptuous or mocking characteristic is something I am usually able to avoid. That did lead me to wonder though were does that characteristic come from? Why are some people able to be critical without being cynical when others aren’t.
The men’s health article talked about cynicism coming from a broken heart. This is probably way too often true. That when we believe in something so great and then it lets us down, it can cause such heart break that hope is a hard thing to have again. To me, a life without hope is destined for cynicism.
So now I’m looking into my own life, as I hope you will into yours, and looking for areas that I lack hope and have let a thinking, critical mind become cynical. Keep hope alive and remember our best days are always ahead of us.
This is true joy in life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a might one, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” – George Bernard Shaw
2 responses to “Cynical or Critical”
I read the same Men’s Health article and, being an expert on cynicism, concluded that the author had not studied the subject. Cynics are merely efficient realists, coming to acute decisions based on observable repetition (which generates obvious observations such as “When is a politician lying? When his mouth is open.”)
From the authoritative source: http://www.cynical.ws/definition/cynic
cynic, n. And evangelist in the Church of Reality.
cynic, n. A well informed optimist.
cynic, n. A man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
Thanks for the comments. You’re on the right track regarding critical. Better to tackle it now than when you’re older.