Skepticism leads to the advancement of civilization; Cynicism leads to civilization’s demise. Advancements in science, religion, art, technology, and language come from a direct consequence of one or more individuals asking a skeptical question: “Is this true”. There is arguably (depending on pacifism being noble or ignoble) one area in human development where skepticism may have an ill effect, the development of military strategy and tactics.
If we look at the some of the great advancements in history, Copernicus assertion of heliocentric solar system, Luther’s assertion of personal beliefs, the removal of the yoke from the neck of the ox to its shoulder, or Zamenhof’s development of Esperanto, all came from a skeptical consideration of how humans explained their world and how human understanding needed improvement. The cynic may say such skepticism also brought us weapons of mass destruction, the Blitzkrieg, human mine sweepers, and other such ills.
If the cynic view ruled we may never have gained our ability to kill, however we never would have left the planet either. Cynicism has brought us some of the worst tragedies in human history. Asking the question “Do we need this? ” for example has led to the burning of the Great Library at Alexander, the destruction of the Twin Towers, the Pogroms, the Star Chamber, and. the decimation of entire races such as Native Americans and Armenians.
Just as skepticism in the wrong fields can lead to human despair, cynicism in the right fields can bring about changes for the good. Cynicism of racism, witch burning, and pessimism, is appropriate. Perhaps the two axioms for logical approach need to be worked hand in hand. Without cynicism, people would not ridicule destructive beliefs. Without skepticism we would not keep improving our methods to destroy.