Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"It takes a clever man to turn cynic and a wise man clever enough not to." - Fannie Hurst

"Every day we shall see about us evidence of human pettiness, greed, self-centeredness. But if we observe carefully we also see human nobility, generosity, self-surrender and genuine religious conviction and action. The cynic remembers only man’s faults – that is why he remains a cynic. The wise man remembers his brother’s virtues. Which shall we choose to remember?" - Sidney Greenberg

"A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future." - Sydney J. Harris

"An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run." -

"Cynic: n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be." - Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin and never seeing noble game." - Henry Ward Beecher

"The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is a human owl, vigilant in darkness, and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game." - Henry Ward Beecher

"The scholar without good breeding is a pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man disagreeable." - Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"There's nothing more tragic than a young cynic because then the person has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing." - Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde, pen name for Fingal O'Flahertie Wills

"A cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future." -

"A cynic is a man who looks at the world with a monocle in his mind's eye. " - Carolyn Wells

"I acquired expensive habits and affected manners. I got a third-class degree and a first-class illusion: that I was a poet. But nothing could have been less poetic that my seeing-through-all boredom with life in general and with making a living in particular. I was too green to know that all cynicism masks a failure to cope-- an impotence, in short; and that to despise all effort is the greatest effort of all. But I did absorb a small dose of one permanently useful thing, Oxford's greatest gift to civilized life: Socratic honesty. It showed me, very intermittently, that it is not enough to revolt against one's past. One day I was outrageously bitter among some friends about the Army; back in my own rooms later it suddenly struck me that just because I said with impunity things that would have apoplexed my dead father, I was still no less under his influence. The truth was I was not a cynic by nature, only by revolt. I had got away from what I hated, but I hadn't found where I loved, and so I pretended that there was nowhere to love. Handsomely equipped to fail, I went out into the world." - John Fowles, fully John Robert Fowles

"The cynic says, One man can't do anything. I say, Only one man can do anything." - John W. Gardner, fully John William Gardner

"The end and aim of the Cynic philosophy, as indeed of every philosophy, is happiness, but happiness that consists in living according to nature, and not according to the opinions of the multitude." - Julian, aka Julian the Apostate, or Emperor Julian, fully Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus NULL

"No man ever raised a monument to a cynic or wrote a poem about a man without faith." - Louis L'Amour, fully Louis Dearborn L'Amour

"The cynic never grows up, but commits intellectual suicide. " - R. E. C. Browne, fully Robert Eric Charles Browne

"You will never win if you never begin." - Helen Rowland

"Buy a pup and your money will buy Love unflinching that cannot lie." - Rudyard Kipling

"Any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell belongs there." - Sydney J. Harris