1. Have an Interesting Snippet to Share : Click Here
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Would you like to join the IL team? See open jobs!
    Dismiss Notice
  3. What can you teach someone online? Tell us here!
    Dismiss Notice
  4. If someone taught you via skype, what would you want to learn? Tell us here!
    Dismiss Notice

A cynical look at Cynics!

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,006
    Likes Received:
    15,148
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    To those who are not acquainted with George Meredith, let me give a brief intro. He was a great novelist and poet of the last century who spent more than three fourths of his life in writing and thus earned the title of Grand Old Man of Letters! He is credited with such profound statements as ‘There is nothing the body suffers the soul may not profit by.’ I am not going to bore you with any further details about him except commending your attention to another remarkable statement of his which I want to elaborate on. That statement is ‘Cynics are only happy in making the world as barren for others as they have made it for themselves,

    Let us explore the origin of the word ‘cynic’.
    Cynic goes back to the Greek word kuon, dog, and its adjective kunikos which means doglike or snarling. A group of Greek philosophers of the 4th Century BC who held that virtue was the only goal in life, eventually became so self-righteous that they were called hoi kunikoi, ‘the snarlers’. Cynic, thus, came to be a word to describe a snarling, faultfinding person.

    Let us look at some of the founding fathers of cynicism. The first and foremost was a man who carried the ‘anti’ in his name itself! He was Antisthenes (450-370 B.C.). This old Greek was the founder of Cynicism -- the world's first official cynic! A follower of Socrates, he believed that we must cultivate virtue and shun materialism. True cynicism springs from disappointed idealism. We want the world to be a nicer place than it turns out to be. So we thumb our noses at the sources of our disillusionment!

    His disciple Diogenes of Sinope (c. 408-323 B.C.) was the most celebrated of the ancient Cynics, and is fondly remembered for his outrageous deeds and sayings. (All of his writings have vanished.) In his pursuit of virtuous simplicity, he gave away his belongings and took up residence in a tub. When Alexander the Great approached him outdoors and asked if there was anything he could do for him, the old philosopher simply replied, "You can get out of my sunlight." According to legend, Diogenes carried a lamp by day in his cynical search for an honest man! The Cynical Hall of Fame has countless philosophers and literary celebrities but going into that aspect in detail is beyond the scope of this blog on Cynics.


    We come across cynics in every walk of life. We have them in our families, our workplaces, our clubs and even in social gatherings. They have been found ever since the dawn of man. Possibly there have been quite a few of them even among the pre-historic Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal men, pursing their protruding lips with great difficulty in utter disapproval of the way in which the younger generation had started covering themselves with fig leaves and what have you.

    They were there in mythological days too. Like the sage Durvasa who was ever ready to expend the entire powers of his penance on cursing everyone who caused him the slightest displeasure. He would not spare even the newly wed Shakunthala who was so engrossed in the thoughts of her husband that she failed to notice his arrival. We would have shrugged off this small lapse of Shakunthala with an indulgent smile but not Durvasa. He got awfully worked up that some lowly mortal could allow her mind to be so fully occupied by the thoughts of another lowly mortal that the arrival of such an eminent person as himself was not even noticed. Thanks to his horrible curse, King Dushyant, who was himself responsible for Shakunthala’s momentary lapse, could not even recognise her when she presented herself in his palace. No doubt Durvasa’s anger helped Kalidasa conceive the immortal Sakunthalam on the basis of this episode but imagine what heartrending time that the hapless girl would have had!

    We find them in abundance, like mushroom on a rainy day, in our workplace. The worst part of it is that they all seem to target only you and not allow you to work in peace. Their constant criticism never permits you to work to your full potential. Their surveillance continues unabated until they are able to drag you into their exclusive circle. Like everyone whose blood gets sucked by Count Dracula becomes a vampire himself!

    They are there in social clubs too. But I can never understand their presence in clubs. Everyone joins a club to have fun and fellowship with like-minded persons and lend a supportive hand in service. This is purely a voluntary position. I do not understand why cynics should extend their tentacles beyond their families and workplaces, where their presence is unavoidable, to places like clubs where it is optional.

    It beats me why cynics need be present among some happy individuals who have agreed among themselves to combine and have some jollity. It defies my imagination why some people should go all out to disagree with others and be a spoilsport. Why should laughter and merriment be an eyesore for them? Why can’t they participate in all the fun of the world instead? I never could get a proper answer for my questions until I read George Meredith.

    Cynics are indeed adept in making the world barren for themselves and the world.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
    4 people like this.
    Loading...

  2. aishu22

    aishu22 Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    109
    Trophy Points:
    160
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Sri,
    WOW!Great Write up about the cynics.I too have the same Question in mind as to why these people dunt allow other's to live a life if they dunt want one; but got it answered after reading your transcripts on cynics.

    Very enjoyable and thought provoking Post.
     
  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,006
    Likes Received:
    15,148
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Aishu
    A WOW to you too for the Feedback at the speed of light!
    And thanks for the nice words!
    Sri
     
  4. Jananikrithsan

    Jananikrithsan Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    2,161
    Likes Received:
    129
    Trophy Points:
    128
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Sri Sir,
    They are like that, "avargal apadithan". Like you have said they are everywhere.
    The fun for them is to spoil the fun and set a gloomy mood around. Maybe it is like when Iam like this why are others having a good time.I work with a few and have them around everywhere. For them though that is the way life is to be lived. Why smile when you can be like this and sulk and spoil the fun.
    My collegaue is a number one cynic and she makes life at work very unpredictable and miserable. My boss has asked me to leave her alone. Those are the previliges she gets to enjoy.She never misses and oppurtunity to make me squirm, I wriggle out of it very tactfully. "Ona vittena paar", that is her attitude.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  5. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    33,568
    Likes Received:
    3,741
    Trophy Points:
    490
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Sri,
    You seem to have done exhaustive research on cynics. But I will not call you one because I have one in my family (note, I am not saying, home, for obvious reasons!). I know, how defensive you will become the next moment - besides me, our Veda knows it too well.
    Now, I am a little "peeved" with you ! This morning after "some verbal exchanges", I wrote a blog "are spoil sport and killjoy, one and the same?" ! You beat me to it by using a better term and I cannot blog on the same topic.

    A small request to you. Why not you find out

    It defies my imagination why some people should go all out to disagree with others and be a spoilsport

    I am interested in knowing the answer as much as you !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  6. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,006
    Likes Received:
    15,148
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Janani
    The cynics in our office are ok because there are others to share their cynicism but the family cynics are the deadliest. I am sure everyone has some experience with cynics. Nothing can make them happy nor can they stand others being happy! In fact, their happiness lies in making others very unhappy.
    I have often wondered what really makes one a cynic. I have read somewhere that the following are some the million reasons that make one a cynic:
    Being ridiculed by your inferiors
    Wondering if you're inferior to your inferiors
    Eating stupid tasting health food and kill oneself with vigourous exercise routine and yet falling awfully sick often while those who have a whale of a time are in the pink of health all the time!
    Sri
     
  7. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

    Messages:
    2,654
    Likes Received:
    175
    Trophy Points:
    155
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Cheeniyasir,

    Ha,ha.

    Note that it is not

    Ha,Ha ! but Ha,Ha.

    Period. That is because it is a dry, acerbic snigger aimed at the cynics of the world.

    Honestly, I cannot fathom why some persons would have to be cynical all their life. Making this joyous life miserable for them, theirs and others who are so happy not to be theirs. I had an uncle (may his soul rest in peace) at whose arrival we all fled for dear life. A simple question, 'how is everyone at home' would be met by a snarky ,'well, no one had died when I started'. If you ever thanked him for attending a an auspiscious function, the reply would be a weary,' have marked my presence, made my donation, now can get the hell out of here'. He had a loving family, a successful career, was an internationally acclaimed bird watcher (birds of the avian type). Still, he never enjoyed any of these gifts, nor did he allow us to enjoy some simple moments without quivering about what he would snarl next.

    The modern age aka the Information age is called the Age of Cynicism. But honestly, I find that cynicism is becoming a berated quality now. Fortunately, it is not considered to be so academic or intellectual to be cynical these days. There seem to be far fewer cynics now that before. And of all brands of cynics, I find the worst are the spiritual cynics and child cynics. The first lot are obstructing their own way to salvation. And the second are barring their way to an open, beautiful mind.

    regards
    Vidya
     
    2 people like this.
  8. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,006
    Likes Received:
    15,148
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Chithra
    Your statement that you are a little "peeved" takes me by surprise because "getting peeved" is the hallmark of cynics. I would certainly not categorise you as a cynic judging you from the fact that you seem to be a perennial source of happiness to your admirers in IL catering as you do to the needs of their palate and soul!
    As regards finding out why some people should go all out to disagree with others and be a spoilsport, that's the precise reason why I took up this subject this time to see if any enlightened ILite could make me wiser.
    Sri
     
  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,006
    Likes Received:
    15,148
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Vidya
    Your acerbic snigger expressed through an appropriate Ha, Ha reminded me of the classic one expressed by Rex Harrison donning the role of Prof.Higgins in My Fair Lady when he encounters Miss.Elisa Dolittle for the first time!

    It is amazing how there is a cynical uncle in every family. I had one too and may his soul rest in peace too who was the cynic of all cynics. At least your uncle turned cynical whenever somebody asked him something but mine never needed such a motivation. Except when he was yawning, sneezing or eating, his mouth was an effective tool in bruising every soul around! His name was Narasimhan but his pet name was Nachu which everyone felt was very apt. Nachu as you know is the Tamil word for venom and he poured venom faster than a King Cobra all the time!
    The ancient cynics were all scholars but the modern cynic can hardly be called that. Most of the modern cynics suffer from either peptic ulcer or chronic piles! I wonder if they can utter one meaningful sentence as Rochefoucauld's"We all have enough strength to endure the misfortunes of others."
    Sri
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2007
    2 people like this.
  10. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    6,617
    Likes Received:
    2,617
    Trophy Points:
    345
    Gender:
    Female
    Cynical look at Cynics is indeed quite cynical.. I did try to rack my brains to see if I know of any cynics but not able to come up with..I can only imagine what it would do a family to have one such member inside..But they still exist and thrive as per your readers inputs..and a few have atleast an uncle..
    On a different note..
    andha amma pavam
    blog topic thayyar panni irukka
    neenga enna sir
    athe topic thann kedichutha
    athan avanga pavam "peeve"a irukkanga
    antha peeve statement kuda vidama
    athu thann hallmark of cynic nu chulli
    che che che che :queen
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page