The face was wind-browned, cut by lines of weariness and cynical resignation; the eyes were intelligent.
It was the cynical indifference which Eddie Willers had seen in the eyes of the bum on the street corner.
The boy had no inkling of any concept of morality; it had been bred out of him by his college; this had left him an odd frankness, naive and cynical at once, like the innocence of a savage.
At seventy, he was an obese old man with retouched hair and a manner of scornful cynicism retouched by quotations from the yogis about the futility of all human endeavor.
He came from a semi-wealthy, semi-distinguished family, but he sneered at wealth and distinction in a manner which implied that only a top rank aristocrat could permit himself such a degree of cynical indifference.
He glanced up at her, from under his forehead-a cold glance, while his muscles creased into a semi-smile, as if in cynical breach of some hallowed restraint.
In an age of casual, cynical, indifferent routine, among people who held themselves as if they were not flesh, but meat-Dagny’s bearing seemed almost indecent, because this was the way a woman would have faced a ballroom centuries ago, when the act of displaying one’s half-naked body for the admiration of men was an act of daring, when it had meaning, and but one meaning, acknowledged by all as a high adventure.
He was laboring to sound cynical, skeptical, superior and hysterical together, to sound like a man who sneers at the vanity of all human beliefs and thereby demands an instantaneous belief from his listeners.
No matter what dishonorable compromise you’ve made with your impracticable creed, no matter what miserable balance, half-cynicism, half-superstition, you now manage to maintain, you still preserve the root, the lethal tenet: the belief that the moral and the practical are opposites.
His wife, the Senora Gonzales, was a small, attractive woman, not as beautiful as she assumed, but enjoying the reputation of a beauty by means of a violent nervous energy and an odd manner of loose, warm, cynical self-assertiveness that seemed to promise anything and to absolve anyone.
It seemed to him for an instant that he saw an incongruous look on the worn, cynical faces of the newsmen, a look that was not quite respect, expectation or hope, but more like an echo of these, like a faint reflection of the look they might have worn in their youth on hearing the name of Robert Stadler.
Then, as if by some dim recoil against self-pity, he added, reciting a memorized lesson, his voice a desperate attempt at his old, cynical, intellectual tone, "What does it matter, Mr. Rearden? …. Man is only a collection of …. conditioned chemicals …. and a man’s dying doesn’t make …. any more difference than an animal’s."
Rumors went spreading through the country in whispers of cynical terror-yet people read the newspapers and acted as if they believed what they read, each competing with the others on who would keep most blindly silent, each pretending that he did not know what he knew, each striving to believe that the unnamed was the unreal.
One of them, a young man with years of notorious success behind him and a cynical look of twice his age, said suddenly, "I know what I’d like to be: I wish I could be a man who covers news!
I’m not able ever to despise you enough to believe that you mean it" The look on her face astonished him more than all the rest: it was a look of defeat and yet of an odd, sly, cynical cunning, as if, for a moment, she held some worldly wisdom that mocked his innocence.
But the damned and the guiltiest among you are the men who had the capacity to know, yet chose to blank out reality, the men who were willing to sell their intelligence into cynical servitude to force: the contemptible breed of those mystics of science who profess a devotion to some sort of ’pure knowledge’ the purity consisting of their claim that such knowledge has no practical purpose on this earth-who reserve their logic for inanimate matter, but believe that the subject of dealing…