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  1. #1
    Senior Member SuperFob's Avatar
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    Default The greatest misconception of MBTI: Cynicism

    I've heard MBTI say that cynicism is a T trait. I don't think it is. I think that there's two kinds of cynicism, one belonging to T's and one belonging to F's. Granted, the first kind is MUCH more common, which is obviously why it's more well-known. The second one seems to be more of a secret, but I've discovered that it's very real.

    Detached cynicism is what I've observed in T's. Indifferent cynicism. That's the kind of cynicism that seems to be more well-known. It's the kind of cynicism that comes about when someone (most often a T) looks at the world and all warm, cuddly, fuzzy-wuzzy ideas (or should I say 'ideals') in it that people call 'meaningful' and calmly says "nah, I don't think any of that is realistic or possible." There doesn't seem to be much, if any, emotion involved in this kind of cynicism.

    And then there's the other kind of cynicism, the less common one. People don't seem to recognize the difference between this kind of cynicism and the former kind all that well. That doesn't change the fact that there're a few F's (admittedly, a MINORITY of F's, the kind of F that I always see getting mistyped as a T) who believe in it, though. It's a bitter kind of cynicism. An angry kind of cynicism. It's the kind of cynicism that is born when an F lives their life believing in an ideal (perhaps it's true love, perhaps it's eternal peace... it could be anything), and then one day experiences something that completely shatters that belief. When something like that happens it can piss off a feeler so badly to the point that said feeler goes in the complete opposite direction and learns to hate life. He/she looks at everything they see and learns to bitterly say "Fuck it. It can't be real. It can't mean anything like I used to think it did."

    I know because it happened to me. I stumbled on an idea that made me come to the realization that life doesn't really mean anything at all. And I think it's inaccurate that F's are stereotyped as 'idealistic' when, in fact, they have the ability to end up straying as far from idealism as one can possibly go.

  2. #2

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    I always thought the majority of cynics would be F types. I always thought a cynic is an idealist who has lost faith in an ideal, in the world. A person whose ideals have been smashed by harsh reality so, you must first be an idealist before you have the capacity to be really truly cynical.

  3. #3
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Cynicism (Greek: K???????) originally comprised the various philosophies of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics, founded by Antisthenes in about the 4th century BC. The Cynics rejected all conventions, whether of religion, manners, housing, dress, or decency, advocating the pursuit of virtue in a simple and unmaterialistic lifestyle.
    By the 19th century, emphasis on the negative aspects of Cynic philosophy led to a new and very different understanding of cynicism to mean an attitude of jaded negativity, and a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of other people. Modern cynicism, as a product of mass society, is a distrust toward professed ethical and social values, especially when there are high expectations concerning society, institutions and authorities which are unfulfilled. Cynicism can manifest itself as a result of frustration, disillusionment, and distrust perceived as due to organizations, authorities and other aspects of society, and thus is roughly equivalent to a substantive form of the English word "jaded".
    I agree that Fs can be cynical but couldn't that be associated with their T? After all you're never all F or all T?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  4. #4
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFob View Post
    Detached cynicism is what I've observed in T's. Indifferent cynicism.

    ...And then there's the other kind of cynicism, the less common one. ...It's the kind of cynicism that is born when an F lives their life believing in an ideal (perhaps it's true love, perhaps it's eternal peace... it could be anything), and then one day experiences something that completely shatters that belief. When something like that happens it can piss off a feeler so badly to the point that said feeler goes in the complete opposite direction and learns to hate life. He/she looks at everything they see and learns to bitterly say "Fuck it. It can't be real. It can't mean anything like I used to think it did."
    Thank you for pointing it out; and yes, I totally agree. (I had recognized the nuance long ago but just had not thought about articulating it this way.)

    I know because it happened to me. I stumbled on an idea that made me come to the realization that life doesn't really mean anything at all. And I think it's inaccurate that F's are stereotyped as 'idealistic' when, in fact, they have the ability to end up straying as from idealism as one can possibly go.
    I disagree that giving up idealism means you're not idealistic.

    It's like when people disobey authority. NTPs disobey authority mostly because they're indifferent to the rules or find them inconvenient. No authority exists, unless it is earned by being something naturally authoritative. But people who normally work within an authoritative framework (such as STJ) are still operating within the authoritative framework when they rebel -- they view the world through the paradigm of compliant/rebellious. They're still within the framework even when they're rebellious. There's a big difference between someone ignoring the law because they don't even view the world in those terms and someone ignoring the law as an act of rebellion.

    Same thing goes for non-idealists vs fallen idealists, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    I agree that Fs can be cynical but couldn't that be associated with their T? After all you're never all F or all T?
    Why's it have to be associated with one or the other?

    I don't know, the OP seems to fit the pattern I've seen... although I don't know if all T's are "indifferent cynics" and all F's are "fallen idealists." INTJs get pretty idealistic too and aren't exactly indifferent when their view of the world is thwarted, whereas INTPs seem to take it far less personally and tend to become fatalistic instead.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #5
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Why's it have to be associated with one or the other?
    It doesn't and probably isn't 100% like everything else but play along dear. Be a good girl and don't argue with the premises...


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I don't know, the OP seems to fit the pattern I've seen... although I don't know if all T's are "indifferent cynics" and all F's are "fallen idealists." INTJs get pretty idealistic too and aren't exactly indifferent when their view of the world is thwarted, whereas INTPs seem to take it far less personally and tend to become fatalistic instead.
    Cynicism has nothing to do with being disappointed. Cynicism is looking at things from a negative point of view, effectively declaring that if it's 50/50 then it's probably a failure or the glass is half empty except with more analysis included.

    Personally I think the word has more links to people objectively de-constructing something to show the faults than it has to do with people expecting the worst because that's what happened before, hence the MBTI link.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  6. #6
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    What do you call it if I think the world is a great place when I achieve my goals and get what I want, and a lousy place when I'm frustrated in doing so? Would that be cynical or idealistic?

  7. #7
    Shaman BlackCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    What do you call it if I think the world is a great place when I achieve my goals and get what I want, and a lousy place when I'm frustrated in doing so? Would that be cynical or idealistic?
    That sounds like basic human nature. You know... your moods effecting you.
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
    That sounds like basic human nature. You know... your moods effecting you.
    Ah. So it's realism? I mean, your moods really do affect you, and my worldview takes that into account.

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    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    What do you call it if I think the world is a great place when I achieve my goals and get what I want, and a lousy place when I'm frustrated in doing so? Would that be cynical or idealistic?
    A frustrated idealist.

    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  10. #10
    Senior Member SuperFob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Cynicism has nothing to do with being disappointed. Cynicism is looking at things from a negative point of view, effectively declaring that if it's 50/50 then it's probably a failure or the glass is half empty except with more analysis included.
    Oh, yes. It can, indeed, have quite a bit to do with disappointment. Cynicism is defined as...

    "An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others."

    If anything, that definition invites the description of a kind of cynicism inspired by disappointment moreso than it does a kind of cynicism caused by some objective, detached disbelief.

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