3 Kinds of Cynicism

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I've come across basically 3 kinds of cynicism and some are more useful to us than others.  The basic practical definition or idea behind modern cynicism is the distrust of people in general based on their selfishness and/or pessimism about a particular subject.  So what is the role of cynicism in our lives, if any?  Here's a brief breakdown and summary.

3 Kinds of Cynicism

The basic three kinds of cynicism are complete cynicism, categorical cynicism, and comical cynicism. Cynicism is to humor as peppers and spice are to food. A little bit of peepers and spice can add some flavor to food, but too much can ruin food as well as have a nasty effect on our bowels. Cynicism at the right time and place and in the right measure could potentially add some fun and flavor to the moment. But we need to try to understand our "audience" so that we don't end up offending someone or hurting a friend through a misplaced comment.

Breakdown with Definitions

  • A complete cynic is someone who always looks for and finds the negative consistently in every area of their lives. People like this usually have very few friends and have had a lot of negative past experiences they bring into their present perception. 
  • A categorical cynic has a negatively colored perception of a certain area of experience or life. Usually this person has had a group of negative experiences in the past in this area of their lives and, as a result, always looks for the negative in regard to a certain topic. 

3 Kinds of Cynicism

  • A comical cynic is more light-hearted and seeks to bring immediate attention to a perceived important point. This is to me the most useful cynicism of the three. 

What is the Role of Comical Cynicism?

  • A comical cynic can bring relief from a serious and stressful situation through comical cynicism. With a well-timed and correctly received comment, laughter can be like medicine to the heart.
  • A comical cynic can use a negative factor or factors in a situation to create an emotional connection with other's. If we are all honest, we all feel frustration and negativity in varying degrees throughout our life experience. 
  • A comical cynic can make a subtle or straightforward point in a moment. A negative observation framed in humor can bring us back to reality and bring awareness to the fact that we are wearing "rose-colored glasses" to view something through. 

3 Kinds of Cynicism

A Personal Example

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Was I a clear enough cynic and was the point understood?

Bringing the Cynical Points Together For Once!

The 3 kinds of cynicism are complete, categorical, and comical. The most useful one is comical and the roles it plays are making a clear point in the moment, creating connection in frustration, and relieving stress in the moment.

Your Application

What kind of cynic, if at all, are you, and how is this working out for you? How can you "polish" your cynical humor to better fulfill one or all of the uses of comical cynicism? Which of the 3 kinds of cynicism do you use most, why, and has it been helpful to your overall personal growth and relationships? 

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