The Cynics

What do you think about when someone says the word cynic?

Maybe you think about of the cynic as an aphatetic person that likes to speak truths not many people want to hear or know.

Cynicism, however was a school of thought of the socratic period (contemporaries to Socrates), which argued that virtue was the sole good just like the Stoics. They thought that the only way to live a happy and fulfilling life was to live in accordance with nature. They took it to the extreme to the point of living just with what is necessary, disregarding all materials possessions as unnatural to men.

They also acted as critics of society, they criticized greed for example and showed scorn for everything that wasn’t virtuous in their eyes. This is why today you call a person a cynic.

The most famous Cynic is Diogenes of Sinope. The man in the painting above. It is said that he ate raw meat and that he even defecated in public, scorning all stares as ignorant of what living in accordance with nature truly means.



If, Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you,
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling
Stoicism in the face of adversity,
I was thinking about commentating this deep and touching poem, but deemed it completely unnecessary.
Not much can I say that he did not already wrote beautifully.  I’ll just leave you to reflect on it.

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