If you called me cynical, I’m not sure I could deny it in good faith. I roll my eyes 204 times a day. I question whether the sparkling skyline of New York is actually pretty or if I’m merely projecting a commercial fantasy onto it. I peel the layers off little interactions in search of real intentions, even if there’s nothing to peel. Just last week I had an hour-long discussion wherein I made the case that most couples should break up. Seriously! I said that. I might be really annoying.
But, the soft underbelly of my cynical shell is crawling with romanticism and optimism. I like when the wind blows during that one part of that song and I’m liable to anthropomorphize a spoon. I want everyone to love themselves and I try, very hard, to discern the good intentions of bad people. It’s a mess. I’m a mess! One moment I’ll tout Stephen Colbert’s claim that cynicism does not equal wisdom and in the next, I’ll side-eye people who don’t employ at least a little of it. I’m a cynical and idealistic mush.
It makes me wonder: How cynical am I really? And how cynical are you? I built the below quiz to answer these very questions. It was an emotional exploration of sorts, with a side order of statistics I hadn’t used in about 10 years. The result is my definitive cynicism flowchart, sure to reveal our truest natures. For the record, when I took it I fell in the middle of the road, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to take my own quiz. Is that like scratching your own back? No one call Scientific American, I did not follow the method. I just went with my gut! It was very uncynical of me.
What’d you get? Did it feel right?
Graphic by Maria Jia Ling Pitt.