Rejecting Cynicism And Nihilism, And Embracing An Ennobling Vision

It is the responsibility of every man to keep himself out of the abyss.  Yet he cannot do this job alone; a set of guiding principles must light the way along the dark and confusing pathways of the forest.  In some cases, he must be hectored, badgered, cajoled, and—in the end—forced to keep along the path; in other cases, he need only be guided by gentle instruction in the illuminating lights of philosophical inquiry.  Every situation is different, and calls for different remedies.

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Cynicism Leads Nowhere: The Case Of François De La Rochefoucauld


Is there any merit in taking a cynical view of life?  Are the observations of cynicism realistic, brave observations on human nature, freed from sentimentality, or are they only the somber commentary offered by one who is a loser at the game of life, taking solace in his weakness and failure?  There are compelling arguments either way.  What is not disputed, however, is that  François de La Rochefoucauld was one of the most brilliantly cynical epigrammers who ever lived.

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