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Quotes / Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!

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"If someone ever tells me it's a mistake to have hope, well, then, I'll just tell them they're wrong. And I'll keep telling them 'til they believe! No matter how many times it takes."
Madoka Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Comic Books

Joker: It's all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for... it's all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can't you see the funny side? Why aren't you laughing?
Batman: Because I've heard it before... and it wasn't funny the first time.

"The advice to ‘kill your darlings’ has been attributed to various authors across the galaxies...and Mister Heist hated them all.

Why teach young writers to edit out whatever it is they feel most passionate about? Better to kill everything in their writing they DON’T love as much.

Until only the darlings remain."

Film - Live-Action

Drummond: Don't you understand the meaning of what happened here today?
Hornbeck: What happened here today has no meaning.
Drummond: You have no meaning! Your whole life has no meaning. You're like a ghost pointing an empty sleeve and smirking at everything people feel and need and struggle for. I pity you.
Hornbeck: You pity me?
Drummond: Isn't there something? What touches you? What warms you? Every man has a dream. What do you dream about? What do you need? You don't need anything, do you? People? Love? An idea, maybe just to hold to? You poor slob. You have nothing, you believe in nothing. You're all alone. When you go to your grave, there won't be anybody to pull the grass up over your head. Nobody to mourn you. Nobody to give a damn. You will be what you have always been; alone.
Hornbeck: You're wrong, Henry. You'll be there. You're the type. Who else would defend my right to be lonely?

"I've committed to nothing...and that's just tiny, tiny increments."
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

"OK, no, listen: I've had it with that! God, who do you think you are, Rorschach? You live off people while insulting them, and nobody complains because they think you're a goddamned lunatic!"
Dan, Watchmen

"I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you, but I don't like hurting people's feelings."

"What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone is as ugly as you? You're alone!"
Batman, to the Joker, The Dark Knight

"Some people look out on the sea
And see a brand new day
Their spirit lifts them high above the blue
Yet, some others wear an anchor
And they sink in seconds flat"
Can You Imagine That? From Mary Poppins Returns

Henri Ducard: Your compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share.
Bruce Wayne: That's why it's so important. It separates us from them.

Turns out, resentment is corrosive, and I hate it.
Tony Stark, Avengers: Endgame.

Live-Action TV

"To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I’ll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen."
Conan O'Brien, in his last episode of The Tonight Show

The Doctor: You coming?
Amy Pond: No.
The Doctor: You wanted to come fourteen years ago.
Amy Pond: I grew up.
The Doctor: Don't worry. I'll soon fix that.

Dr. Molly Clock: Perry, no one's "pure evil." I mean, yeah, some people have a hard outer shell, but inside everybody has a creamy center.
Dr. Perry Cox: There are plenty of people here on this particular planet who are hard on the outside and hard on the inside!
Clock: So they have more of a nougat-y center?
Cox: ...Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard coated bastards with bastard filling. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.
Clock: (rubs his tummy) I'm touching your creamy center! *leaves*
Cox: Oh, I am so very angry that I'm going to find someone to kill just to prove her wrong.
Scrubs, "My Common Enemy"

Mulder: Enough with the harmonic convergence crap, okay? You’re not saying anything to me.
Melissa Scully: Why don’t you just drop your cynicism and your paranoia and your defeat? You know, just because it’s positive and good doesn’t make it silly or trite!


Koudelka: You?! I know you! You trust beyond reason!
Cordelia: Yes, it's how I get results beyond hope, as you may recall.

"A weakened mind always sees everything through a black veil. The soul makes its own horizons; your soul is dark, which is why you see such a cloudy sky."

“Do not be a clockwork orange. Freedom has a lovely voice. Here is good and there is evil, look on both and make your choice. Sweet of juice and hue and aroma, let’s not be changed to fruit machines. Choice is free but seldom easy. That’s what being human means.”

"You can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting."

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can't lick 'em, join 'em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe a happy man, nor make any celebration of joy".
Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

"...sometimes we ask ourselves why happiness took so long to arrive, why it didn't come sooner, but appears suddenly, as now, when we've given up hope of it ever arriving, it's likely then that we won't know what to do, and rather than it being a question of choosing between laughter and tears, we will be filled by a secret anxiety to which we might not know how to respond at all."
José Saramago, The Double

"That's the problem with you sad city types. You think a place has to be boring and dull as ditch water before you accept it as real."

"Then why?" said Sabbath, genuinely puzzled. "You're not stupid about these matters. You're not starry-eyed, or basically impractical. You can see what reality is. Why don't you accept it?"
The Doctor was sitting back in his chair, his clasped hands resting against his chest. "Because I prefer not to."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Because I don't, won't accept. I don't approve. Injustice is the rule, but I want justice. Suffering is the rule, but I want to end it. Despair accords with reality, but I insist on hope. I don't accept it because it is unacceptable. I say no."
Lloyd Rose, Camera Obscura

"I'm not playing at all....When you treat everyone you meet as either an enemy or a pawn, you give others no choice but to hate or fear you.... No one's strong forever. No matter how good a user you are, when you treat others like tools, you're setting yourself up for an endgame that inevitably leaves you outnumbered and alone, with no one but resentful pawns for backup. That doesn't sound like victory to me...This doesn't have to be a fight or a war or a game or any of those terrible dragon metaphors for life. Because we're not thoughtless pawns with artificially limited moves. We're dragons."
— Julius from Nice Dragons Finish Last


So when you feel your heart sink into your chest
Don't forget everything is okay in the end
We are not okay
but this is not the end yet
— "Strange Comfort", by The Color Morale

I know that being dated and over it
Is way overrated.
And that the colors of this world
Only seem faded in direct relation to the darkness with which your mind's eye is shaded,
And you made it that way.
And you can choose to change your vision's prismic range today.
Rachel Kann, "I Know This"

Some of you young folks been saying to me, "Hey, Pops! What you mean, 'What a Wonderful World'? How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? They ain't so wonderful either!" Well, how about listenin' to old Pops for a minute?
Seems to me, it ain't the world that's so bad, but what we're doing to it. And all I'm saying is, "See what a wonderful world it would be, if only we'd give it a chance." Love, baby, love: That's the secret. Yeeaahhh! If lots more of us loved each other, we'd solve lots more problems. And, man, this world would be a gasser! That's why old Pops keeps saying,
I see trees of green...
Louis Armstrong, spoken-word preface to his obscure second recording of "What a Wonderful World"

Tabletop Games

I wanna dedicate this area to some personal friends of mine - the Sons and Daughters of Ether. Oh, sure, some of you probably dismiss them because they seem silly: while most of us stay wrapped in some Gothic pity-party, the Etherites fly around in impossible ships, strap themselves into Victorian wonder machines, smoke silly pipes and generally make a mockery of all that is sullen and serious.
That's why I like them so much.
There's nothing quite as subversive as the refusal of cynicism. When everyone around you is dressed in black and dripping hostility, what could be more subversive than to dress in bright, bold colours and run headlong with almost suicidally-optimistic abandon? The Ether Folks have this wonderfully skewed vision - one part future, two parts past and one part totally demented - that I have no choice but to admire. Anyone who can make a toaster grow wings, fly, and play Beethoven's Fifth is a man or woman worth respecting.
Mage: The Ascension - The Technomancer's Toolbox

Video Games

Lloyd: I want a world where everyone can have a normal life. I’m tired of people having to become sacrifices. I’m tired of discrimination. I’m tired of people becoming victims. I’m tired of it all.
Tiga: You are an idealist. The worlds of Tethe’alla and Sylvarant flourish only by victimizing the others. So long as that structure remains the same, anything you say is mere sophistry.
Lloyd: Then we need to change that structure! This world was made by that Yggdrasill guy, right?! If a human or elf built this, then we should be able to change it as well!

Pit: Why are you all doom and gloom all the time, Pittoo?
Dark Pit: I think a better question is why are you so annoyingly cheerful?
Pit: I'm not annoying. I'm positive!
Palutena: (singing) You gotta stay upbeat, upbeat, upbeat...
Pit: (singing) Or you'll be dead meat, dead meat, dead meat...
Dark Pit: Like I said. Annoying.

Bigby: "It is better to be feared than loved." Know who said that?
Colin: Yeah, some sad asshole. Eating alone.

Web Comics

Sal: See? Just like before, you're programmed to go psycho at any provocation.
Joyce: No. Now I've grown up. Now I'm comfortable with everything about myself, down to the darkest cave. I'm not afraid of my emotions anymore.
Sal: You're nothing but a naive, pathetic little girl.
Joyce: You're the little girl, Sal.
Sal: How dare
Joyce: I don't know how to explain... it's like there was this voice. Inside me... it told me you're better than me. Once upon a time, you might have been. But you never changed -- I have.

Web Original

"I have previously stated my attraction to the idea of keeping one’s politics childish... no matter how many jaded adults remind you that nobody ever said life was fair. Because, you see, that’s a lie. They did. They did tell us that life was fair. Repeatedly. They still do. Every day. On TV, in films, in books, in newspapers—they tell us that life is fair over and over again, in happy ending after happy ending, in fictional moral victory upon fictional moral victory, in reassuring news story after reassuring news story, in editorial after thinkpiece after review. It’s only when we express anger at injustice that we are dishonestly told that justice is an unreasonable expectation."

"Defeatism is fool-proof. You can't control a positive outcome, but you can ensure a negative one simply by giving up and surrendering. Thus the ego is protected...Just as the skeptics and debunkers were seen as passe and old-fashioned by the Nu Atheists, so to will the atheists be seen by the inevitable rise of the Nihilist, the terminus of the culture of defeat."

"The Saward era, if only in hindsight, is almost overtly an attempt to figure out what Doctor Who should be like in the wake of the Falklands and Thatcher. It gets it dreadfully wrong much of the time, however. In part this is because it concedes the point and tries to be Doctor Who in a Thatcherite world. Whereas here Bidmead just won’t have it. He starts in a world of militaristic institutions holding back the tide of chaos, then has the Doctor just kick the premise to the curb and change the world into one in which good old-fashioned 'tear down the structures of society and leave smart, good people behind to rebuild it' is the order of the universe once again.

It’s a small thing... But it’s significant — a spiritual escape act. Instead of bending towards Thatcherite hell the universe now takes a last minute swerve into rebirth."
Dr. El Sandifer on Doctor Who ("Frontios")

"Optimism is believing that going out in the world and doing things is worthwhile. It’s the cynics who stay home and do nothing. This is why the most cynical hipsters among us are also the most unemployed. This is why I’ve grown to find cynicism so frustrating — cynicism doesn’t cause inaction. The desire for inaction causes cynicism. And so you fight to defend your cynicism tooth and nail."
Jason Pargin aka "David Wong"

"We all want to be the smirking protagonist who can’t be bothered to get passionate or incensed about anything. Responding to all problems with a 'hmph' as they strut away casually. I’m looking at you, all anime ever. We admire this type of character, ignoring the fact that they’re displaying all the signs of having serious depression. They’re not so much rebels as they are miserable jerks.

This narrative is only encouraged by the idea that happy people are either ignorant, deluded, or just plain faking it. Cynics love to paint happiness as a two-dimensional facade, something disingenuous that should be avoided. And those who are genuinely happy are simply conforming to societal pressure. This is pretty hypocritical, as cynics themselves are often unwittingly conforming to the cool character type."

"If someone gave one of these people a cake, their first response would probably be to call the bomb squad."
Rational Wiki on Libertarians

"Crapsack worlds and anti heroes have their place. Sometimes, they are very necessary. But an endless diet of dreary cyberpunk and dark fantasy won't do us any more favors than an endless feast of glurge. I'd argue that the cynical nature of these really hurt our ability to hope and work for better. It gets us to accept the hopelessness and jaded outlook of things as 'That's the way it is. I can't change it,' and stops us from fighting when we NEED to fight."

"Blind cynicism will make friends look like enemies".

"Um, no.

It just means that among your bag of intellectual tools for writing and logic all you own are hammers and feel that you deserve as much acclaim for your efforts as someone who has taken the time to learn the full breadth of what all aspects of writing can achieve.

There's a reason why andrew Dice Clay [sic] had a short but booming career; he was a tone-deaf asshole.

And there's a reason why his career ended; he was a tone-deaf asshole.

There's a reason why Robin Williams had a long and prestigious career in multiple media's and left a vacuum in the fields he worked in; he wasn't a tone-deaf asshole. He could write, he could act, he had a great sense of the human condition that spanned generations and could put it all together in one place."

Pollo: Perhaps. But why have you not left yet, then? The scout ship stands ready. You can enter and leave all of us here, and no one will think less of you for it.
MarzGurl: Because my friends are in trouble, and they need my help. When people need my help, I’m going to be there for them.
Pollo: Of course you are. Because despite our unique circumstances, the things that we encounter are not oddities. They are not interruptions. We all have our own storylines - each of us the protagonist in our own tale. If it was not Mechakara that we encountered, your life would eventually be ‘interrupted’, as you say, by something else. A loved one in need elsewhere, an obstacle appearing along the way, or an enemy in a different form would disrupt your existence. You will always encounter people who won’t like you, who use you, who don’t appreciate what you’re trying to do with yourself, and sometimes they will defeat you. But most of the time, you overcome them. This is just another chapter of our lives - a weird dangerous, and unhappy one, but turn the page. The story does not end with us, but together, we’ll make it to a happy ending.
MarzGurl: You know, I never took you to be an optimist.
Pollo: On the contrary - I’m a realist. It’s just reality is not usually as bad as it is so often perceived to be.

"I don't care what you say! We will stop them, and I will stop you! BET ON THAT!"

"But [Tempest] is a great contrast against Twilight: Someone who suffered a blow and assumes that's the way the world works, which is something we all tend to assume. It's tempting to define the world only by the bad because we think that will prepare ourselves, when really I think it closes ourselves off to possibilities and options, which is why Tempest is in the wrong here. Put simply, I don't trust people who assume they know the way the world works because usually they only understand half of it."

Western Animation

"If you look for light, you will often find it. But if you look only for the dark, it is all you will ever see."

Rick: Nobody gets it. Nothing you think matters, matters. This isn't special. This-this is happening infinite times across infinite realities.
Summer: Including this? [farts]
Rick: Yes! ...Which is not to say that, subjectively, it wasn’t funny.
Rick and Morty, "The Rickhhurian Mortydate"

Real Life

"And if there is any hope for any of us in this giant explosion in which we inhabit then surely that's it: Intellect and romance triumph over brute force and cynicism!"

"In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically."

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin."

"You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough."
Frank Crane

"Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact."

"Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them."

"In a time of dismay and dread, is it admirable for filmmakers to depict pure evil? Have 9/11, suicide bombers, serial killers and kidnappings created a world in which the response of the artist must be nihilistic and hopeless? At the end of your film, after the other characters have been killed in sadistic and gruesome ways, the only survivor is the one who is evil incarnate, and we hear his cold laughter under a screen that has gone dark. Your answer, that the world is evil and therefore it is your responsibility to reflect it, is no answer at all, but a surrender."
Roger Ebert, to David DeFalco on his film Chaos.

"The next real literary 'rebels' in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles... These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that'll be the point. Maybe that's why they'll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval."

"I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person every time, because hip is short-term. Earnest is long-term. Earnestness is highly underestimated. It comes from the core, while hip is trying to impress you with the surface."
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

"I think the mirror should be tilted slightly upward when it`s reflecting life — toward the cheerful, the tender, the compassionate, the brave, the funny, the encouraging, all those things — and not tilted down to the gutter part of the time, into the troubled vistas of conflict."
Greer Garson

"The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were."

"Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so."
Noam Chomsky

"Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge. "Yes" is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes."

"Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It's unrealistic and kind of cowardly because it means you don't have to try."
Peggy Noonan, Good Housekeeping

"Cynicism isn't smarter, it's only safer."

"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 the darkness and blind to the light, always pursuing vermin and never hunting noble game."
Henry Ward Beecher

"Realists are, as a rule, only men in the rut of routine who are incapable of transcending a narrow circle of antiquated notions."
Theodor Herzl

"Cynicism isn’t cool smart or sexy, its just laziness with an edgy makeover. Its your egos way of tricking you into thinking that apathy is heroic. It’s not. The worst forces in the world are praying for your cynicism. You want to fix something?
✨Concern + Effort + Creativity✨"

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
Dr. Kent M. Keith, Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments (often misattributed to Mother Teresa)


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