‘An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrusts of the integrity or professed motives of others’.
“A faultfinding captious critic; esp. one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest”
And my personal favourite:
An idealist, whose rose-colored glasses have been removed, snapped in two and stomped into the ground, immediately improving his vision.”
The search for the meaning of life
The beginning of my journey started as any credible journey should; with a quest. What nobler quest can there possibly be than the pursuit of the meaning of life? For decades I’ve trawled the minds of great thinkers, poets and artists alike. I’ve sat in the caves and temples, shrines and churches of various wise men, prophets and seers. I’ve smoked pot with free thinking radicals on Goan beaches and shot the breeze with crack whores, drunks and the mentally insane. I’ve searched for truth upon the millions of faces that have passed me by, be it boulevard or dirt track, train carriage or mixed sex saunas. I’ve scrutinised the merest glance, deconstructed every sentence, trawled every book shelf and replayed Bob Dylan’s greatest hits, over and over again, but alas my search remained futile. I was about to throw in the proverbial towel and just accept that consciousness is not a universal property of matter, but that matter is a universal property of consciousness – which sounds a bit too biblical for my likings – but what choice did I have? Then, as if by magic, a new technology presented itself and low and behold the search was back on … on the internet.
Surfing for the meaning of life
So by following a thread of associations, often non lineal – I’m easily distracted – by way of Monty Python, Ukrainian tractors, 18th century pornographers, ley-lines and cat juggling I found myself amongst the rather scruffy, often witty, insightful world of the blogger!
I recently stumbled upon a blog entry by some enlightened soul, the name of whom I have since forgotten. The message this blogger was trying to convey, to any such wayward surfer such as I, was this; Cynicism is bad for you. Shedding your cynical view of others would lead you towards a higher plain of existence. Well, as you may imagine, I immediately took umbrage, I mean Cynicism bad for you, whatever next? I successfully steered my thoughts and my curser towards other more pressing matters such as; if God was disproved tomorrow how many do-gooders would continue to do good?
With my cynicism still intact I continued to surf the oceans of derision and disparagement looking for the usual suspects to vilify and ridicule. Only problem was, I’m a fair cynic, I like, nay encourage the argument, not to hear him out would be ignorant, and I really don’t like ignorance. So I navigate my way back to his blog and pour over the evidence against.
Immediately on reading his argument I did what I always do in such matters and allow a reasonable dose of scepticism to prevail. Now being a sceptic is healthy I think, shows a degree of intelligence and forces one’s opponent into a position of defence; persuade me and I’m your humble servant.
Cynicism he argued eats away at your soul, making you an unhappy and sad individual, the only way to true enlightenment is to throw off the shackles of hatred, of negativity and disbelief. My lip threatened to curl some! Cynicism is an old man’s game he pleaded, to warn down by disappointment and neglect to believe in a pure and honest motive. Hmm whatever! Sounded to me, at the time, that the poor guy had been got by the thought police, too late for that chump I said to myself. Besides I love my Cynicism, I embrace it, it’s my thumb to suck, my security blanket, my ‘raison d’être’, I’m not going to give it up that easily. Anyhow in a cruel and often disappointing life Cynicism is the only entertainment some of us ever get! No I said to myself, I’ve given you a chance but no.
To skip ‘the history’ and stick to the narrative just scroll down to the next paragraph, if the need is great enough you can always come back!
Anyhow a little history if I may. It all started with the ancient Greeks and the aptly named barrel philosophers of old Athens town. Cynicism is a philosophy with Socratic linage, the founder ‘Antisthenes’ was a student of the great man himself. The word ‘cynic’ derives from the Greek word for ‘dog’ and was applied to the followers of cynicism for reasons that will soon make themselves available to you. The Cynics believed that the route to true happiness lies within the warm embrace of nature. They rejected such trappings as wealth, modesty, health, fame and other such conventional concepts and instead lived as closely to nature as possible. They believed strongly that society was to blame for many inequalities, to be equal, one only needs to disown ones wealth; end of. They slept on the streets in make do shelters such as a barrel or a tub and lived life in the full glare of other citizens, like dogs. Like dogs they also barked at others, reminding the wealthy and the powerful of their misgivings and wrongdoings. Bloody cynics ehh, life would be so much better without them!
And so it was that I trundled on through life living one synaptic trigger at a time, swaying like a drunken sailor from one thought to the next until one thought laid anchor and began to niggle. What if the meaning of life is impossible to obtain by a cynic such as I? By golly it all made sense to me, there I was searching for the grail and yet every time I’m presented with a new idea the cynic takes over! Maybe pet Yoga is the answer or scientology or God forbid creationism? Maybe all I had to do was to leave my cynicism at home under lock and key, along with my stash of illegal firearms. The niggle grew, until in the spirit of scientific research I agreed with myself to be less cynical, how hard could it be?
The messiah came to town.
Meanwhile fate was busy weaving, as she does, her intricate tapestry and unbeknownst to me had made a killer move. With a stroke of sheer genius fate manoeuvred Life into my life and with it meaning. Life was his name, or to be precise Doctor Life – Doctor of what was never made clear to me – Oh cynics everywhere prepare to rejoice in your purpose, your rational, your function for I have reason, I have meaning!
Life personified everything to be cynical about, he was a tea total, none smoking vegetarian with a penchant for ‘the end is nigh’ philosophy. He had moved to my village in the Pyrenees, leaving behind an estranged wife and ‘some’ small children to prepare for the Mayanesque 2012 world demise. He was on the road to enlightenment and to Spain to start a new society and prepare for a new age. Obviously he, Life, would sit at the head of this new society as he was without doubt the most enlightened soul there is. Before leaving he used my washing machine. What a knob. What a disillusioned, patronising, self loving, narcissistic, vainglorious knob. Life is the very reason we have to be both sceptical and cynical, what are his true motives and where will it end? Cult leaders such as Life are notoriously selfish, greedy psychopaths who end up corrupting young and impressionable minds and having sex with 12 year old girls! No my friends, my fellow cynics there is no meaning to life just meaning to cynicism!
Cynicism: keeping it real since others started talking crap.