18 March 2006

...a new twist?

i've chosen lately to stay away from most serious things on the site lately. not that i'm still not outraged by a lot going on in the world. it's just that everyone else is saying it well, discussions are continuing, and arguments are still waging. sometimes between ideologues; sometimes between evil and good; sometimes between idiots and savants; sometimes between genius and fool; sometimes between pundit and pragmatist.

i've taken a lighter hand in what i'm including in the blog for a reason: cynicism.

i have always been intrigued by cynicism.

The Oxford English Dictionary describes a cynic as a person "disposed to rail or find fault" and as one who "shows a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions, and is wont to express this by sneers and sarcasm." In short, the cynic is "a sneering fault-finder."*

that about sums up the modern definition of cynicism...

The name Cynic actually comes from the Greek word kynikos, meaning "dog-like." Members of the school apparently hung out on the streets like a pack of dogs ridiculing the pretentious men and women who passed them by. The term may also have originated as an unflattering reference to the simplistic lifestyle practiced by many members of this school.*

it still kind of fits...

The ancient school of Cynicism was founded in the fourth century BC by Antisthenes. The role model of the Cynics was Socrates, whom they saw as the perfect illustration of self-sufficiency (autarkeia). Seeking to follow his example, the Cynics urged both men and women to follow a way of life in harmony with nature and to reject all unnecessary civilized luxuries. They also rejected all social conventions, customs and laws. The satirist, Lucian, for example, has a cynic in one of his dialogues give the following bit of advice, "Do not hesitate to perform the deeds of darkness in broad daylight. Select your love adventures with a view to public entertainment." Clearly, these were not men and women who cared very much what people thought about them.*

ah, wait a minute. this is really like a hippy commune, if you stop and think about it.

well, i took the test on the website. i admit it. i'm a cynic. but the new twist is that it's marked with sarcasm.

isn't it supposed to be impossible to be cynical and sarcastic at the same time?

just asking...

*Cynicism, Sophia On-line Philosophy Courses

1 comment:

Aethlos said...

the test says i'm not a full blown cynic...but that i have cynic potential....no strange... although i harangue all the time, i consider it my Menckenian Duty... especially to harangue those in Power, and to question and challenge "conventional wisdom"... but actually, i've always self-defined as a "skeptic" not a cynic... and an "optimistic skeptic" but certainly not an idealist. Sarcasm though is something i try to avoid at all costs... i think it's a terrible way to communicate, except under certain cirumstances for humorous effects... great post by the way. If you need any cynicism in the meantime, i'm sure there's plenty on my blogs... ;)