Thursday, June 23, 2005


howdy world. not much to say. it was good to talk to chris, brett, leave a message for higgins, aaron s. and ian today. those conversations made my day, its it was really hot here, 95+. its still 91 outside. thank God for airconditioners. check out this blurb on cynicism that carol sent me today...its good:
Diogenes of Sinope, who was a famous Cynic philosopher living during the time of Plato (the 4th century BC), sounds pretty interesting.

Cynics' Approach to Happiness

Having read the above texts, let's see if we can piece together the cynics' approach to happiness.

Despite appearances, most cynics are idealists at heart.  The typical cynic tends to start off assuming the best of people only to be disappointed again and again.  This constant disillusionment naturally leads him to being suspicious of the motives of his fellow human beings.  The cynic eventually comes to realize that despite their benevolent or altruistic facades, most people are crassly self-serving and rarely concerned about what is right, decent or honorable.  Looking at critically the vast lot of humanity, the cynic also discovers that most folks tend to be lazy, immoral, conceited and hypocritical....and are almost always too dumb to realize how corrupt they actually are.  

This leads the cynic to scorn all societal conventions and customs, since it is these unnatural conventions, he  believes, that lead to the corruption of human beings.  His scorn is more often than not expressed through sarcasm and ridicule (remember: cynics tend to be clever people).  Although a cynic may derive some perverse pleasure in "pissing off" people, the real aim of his scorn is to reveal the truth about individuals and their motivations and to expose the "bullshit" that permeates much of society and human interaction.  A typical example of the cynic's sarcasm was illustrated quite well by  Marlon Brando at the beginning of his acting career.  Asked by a smug interviewer if he ever took a shower, he replied: "Yeah, I spit in the wind and run under it."  A true cynic never gives a damn what other people think about him.

The cynic's scorn for society's conventions necessarily leads him to reject these conventions, opting instead to try to live a more authentic and natural existence.  His way of life will typically be so at odds with that of most people in his society that he usually will be the object of their abuse and criticism.  It is for this reason that some people view the beatniks of the 1950's and the hippies of the 1960's as modern day counterparts of the ancient cynics.

In the end, the cynic believes that his way of life will help him to attain self-sufficiency---the complete freedom from the unnatural conventions of society.  And in practicing this self-sufficiency, the cynic believes that he has the possibility to attain true happiness.

1 comment:

Cabs said...

Glad you liked this piece. It grabbed my attention :-)

Back to reading Chris Hedges tonight. We'll see what kind of post that yields!