Cynicism is a philosophy started by the Cynics, Ancient Greek philosophers. It was started by Antisthenes in the 5th century BC. The main points the cynics wanted to make was that man had no needs. At the same time, they were against possessing material goods. They also were against prejudices such as being ashamed of being naked. Diogenes of Sinope made the cynics extend their views and combine them with that of other schools of philosophy, like the stoa. They also integrated elements of Greek mythology.
Today, the word 'cynicism' generally describes the opinions and actions of those who believe that self-interest is the primary motive of human behavior. These persons, called cynics, shy away from relying upon sincerity, human virtue, or altruism as motivations.