A mock ad, with the words "got cynicism?"

Unpacking Cynicism

By Derek Phung, Kenny and Anonymous

What does the term “cynicism” mean to you?  In this audio essay, three undergrads dive into the complex history of cynicism and learn that cynicism, in its origins, was far removed from how we understand it today.  And tracking its genealogy leads to pressing existential insights: namely that there is a fragility to knowledge, and there is a relationality to knowledge-practices.

Moreover, as Kenny Reilly explains, perhaps unpacking cynicism is itself a way of providing a “cure” for cynicism. Invoking the decolonial existentialism of Frantz Fanon, he states, “We cannot hope to change the world if we are not willing to change how we see the world.”

And as Derek Phung points out, whereas Hannah Arendt defines cynicism as “a refusal to believe in the truth of anything” (The Portable Hannah Arendt, 568), we can look to interdisciplinary conversations across philosophy, history, psychology and neuroscience… and hope to forge “inoculations” to cynicism and its symptoms.

Thank you

One of the creators states: “I would like to thank my group for their outstanding contributions to this project!”

References

Beck, Julie. (2017, March 11). This article won’t change your mind. The Atlantic. 

Big Think. (2017, June 28). The Neuroscience of Creativity, Perception, and Confirmation Bias | Beau Lotto [Video File].

Boswell, J, F., Thompson-Hollands, J., Farchione T. J., & Barlow, D. H. (2013). Intolerance of uncertainty: A common factor in the treatment of emotional disorders. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(6), 630-645. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21965

Cognitive dissonance. (n.d). Retrieved Dec. 7, 2017.

Friston, Karl. (2017, May 18). The mathematics of mind-time. Aeon.

Future of StoryTelling. (2015, September 11). Beau Lotto – Understanding Perception: How We Experience the Meaning We Create [Video File].

Schoendorff, Benjamin. (n.d). What is psychological flexibility? Retrieved Dec. 7, 2017.

Torres, Nicole. (2014, December 24). Mindfulness mitigates biases you may not know you have. Harvard Business Review.

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