The World of Cynicism and Negativity

The World of Cynicism and Negativity was the inspiration for setting up my first web site in July 1995. Its main features were a collection of cynical and pessimistic quotes, and (later) a voting form by which visitors could vote for what they thought was the most likely disaster to befall civilisation.

My views on positive thinking and the like haven't changed much since 1995, and I still live by much the same philosophy as the one that I espoused on the site. However, I was gradually investing less and less time on the site, and there are now a number of quote sites on the Internet that are much more comprehensive than anything I can maintain.

So I've retired the site, apart from this page. In memoriam to the Web as it was in the 1990s, what follows is the, er, final results of the futures poll and a selection of my favourite quotes from the original site. Thanks to everyone who wrote to me and voted in the poll. Of course you can still write to me at the e-mail address below.

Nicholas Sheppard (

The Future According to the World of Cynicism and Negativity

I collected around 100 votes over the life of the site. The lead switched several times between Environmental Disaster and Apocalyptic War, with Same Old Thing and Megacorporatisation consistently in third and fourth place. The rest fell some way behind.

The complete order as at October 2010 was:

  1. Environmental Disaster
  2. Apocalyptic War
  3. Same Old Thing
  4. Megacorporatisation
  5. Fascist Regime
  6. Asteroid Collision
  7. Computer Rebellion
  8. Gradual Degeneration
  9. Alien Invasion
  10. Plague


In alphabetical order of the quoted person's surname.

CORPORATION, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility - Ambrose Bierce (1842-?1914), The Devil's Dictionary (1906).

RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable - Ambrose Bierce (1842-?1914), The Devil's Dictionary (1906).

Bad politics would displease the gods, good politics would displease the citizens - Chrysippus (?280-?206 BC), reputedly upon being asked why he didn't enter politics.

Democracy is a terrible form of Government. Unfortunately, all the others we have tried are much worse - Winston Churchill (1874-1965).

Expectations of happiness are bound to provoke disappointment - Hugh Mackay, The Weekend Australian, 13-14 December 1997, page 2.

For every problem faced by the human race there is a solution which is simple, plausible and wrong - H(enry) L(ouis) Mencken (1880-1956).

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900).

Hat er nicht die Welt erschaffen nach seinem Bilde, nämlich so dumm als möglich? [Has he not created the world in his own image, that is, as stupid as possible?] - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) Also sprach Zarathustra [Thus Spoke Zarathustra], Die Erweckung [The Awakening] (1892) 2.

The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist knows it is - Robert J(ulius) Oppenheimer (1904-1967).

Most people would die sooner than think; in fact, they do so - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).

(According to Augustine's doctrine...) ...God created out of nothing a weak race prone to sin, in order to give them over to endless torment - Arthur Shopenhauer (1788-1860), The Christian System.

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh - Voltaire (François Marie Arouet) (1694-1778).

I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability - Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

I don't know why we are here but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves - Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951).

Capitalism is a system in which man exploits man. In socialism, it is the other way around - East German saying from the Soviet era.

Given their freedom to do so, most men choose to imitate each other - source unknown.