Refuge for cowards

We all have so much power that we don’t use. And I think it’s because of cynicism, which is a toxic spiritual state. Cynicism is a refuge for cowards.

~ Cory Booker


I’m not sure what to think about the “spiritual” bit. I’d need to hear Booker explain what he means by that. This week, it seems, I’m on a language bender. And here’s something that really freakin’ matters

Does Booker mean “Cynicism”, as in the proper noun, the state of being a Cynic…

For the [ancient] Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, and fame, and even flouting conventions openly and derisively in public. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.

~ Wikipedia from,

…which isn’t my cup of tea, but doesn’t sound that bad. Or does Booker mean the contemporary adjective “cynicism”, simply capitalized because it’s starting a sentence…

Cynicism is an attitude characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives. A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment.

~ Wikipedia from,

…also not my preferred cup of tea, although I do sometimes partake.

When I first read that quote I wondered if he was referring to Cynicism, before deciding he clearly meant cynicism. I’d wager you read that quote and didn’t wonder at any time which he meant. (I’m not criticizing, only pointing at the marvelous process of understanding language.) My question for myself today is:

While I see the nuance around that word in this quote, where am I not seeing nuance that I should be?