Statue of an unknown Cynic philosopher
from the Capitoline Museums in Rome.
This statue is a Roman-era copy
of an earlier Greek statue
from the third century BC.
The American Dream, at least for me, is dead… and in a way, I may be loosely following the Cynic dream instead. I say loosely because the Cynics of Ancient Greece were a very radical group.
The Cynics played an important role in influencing several other schools of philosophy, such as the Stoics, who adapted and evolved many of the core tenets of Cynicism (and left out much of the craziness, such as public defecation)…
For them, living in accordance with nature meant following a path of self-sufficiency, freedom, and lucid reasoning.
They believed that social conventions had the ability to hinder the "good life," and could lead to corruption by,
A kind of sounds like the
hippy at the house party if you ask me…
They found comfort and happiness in simple pleasures such as,
All of which I agree with by the way… except I would swap out the water for a nice cold craft beer, which would probably be too pretentious for the true Cynic. Oh well...
For the Cynics, a life of frantic action for the sake of wealth or power was absurd.
This sort of living would cause both the ancient and modern man to stray from nature, and would instill in him a need for superficialities that would never be satisfied.
Never being satisfied, and always wanting more, man would become a slave unto his desires...
by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1860)
Diogenes the Dog
passed the time by making fun of social convention, and calling
attention to the absurdity of robotic-like behavior by those around
him (even to the likes of Alexander the Great!)
by Caspar de Crayer.
Diogenes once asked Alexander the Great
to stand out his light.
That is, just as Sisyphus carried the boulder up the mountain day in and day out, just to have it roll back down, man's pursuits for wealth and power were just as futile and meaningless...
I'm not suggesting that you quit your day job, or that you pursue an ascetic life.
But it's not necessarily a bad idea to take a Cynical perspective and reevaluate things from time to time in order to pursue what you find internally fulfilling and meaningful.
After all, no matter our
state of wealth or poverty, none of us gets out of this alive, and
so we might as well be the ones to choose the boulder that we carry
up the mountain day in and day out...