A Cynic I’ll remain; pessimist and ironist to the end.

I do not see myself as a philosopher with philosophical merchandise to sell. That is for the mountebanks of theory who infest the world with their codified sects, each baring its teeth to defend some trademarked icon. Ligotti reminded me of such thoughts today…

A Cynic I’ll remain; pessimist and ironist to the end. I’ll let the philosophers among us bury their own in derision or praise; either way matters not one iota to me. What matters is people themselves, not their thoughts. We’ve seen two-thousand years of philosophical thought and has it changed the world or divided it. Maybe thought is overrated, raising now one, now another, to some pinnacle of contemporary fame; then bringing them back down low in the next generation’s slow exit to some new luminous light of philosophical entrepreneurship. What is philosophy but the long history of an error; one that has yet to be resolved. The error of being human – conscious of our consciousness. We are the only creatures who are restless, dissatisfied with ourselves and others, unable to live at peace with just being as ‘being’. We always want more, seek more, hope for more; and when it is not forthcoming we blame each other for our malaise, our troubles. Humans will never be happy, and yet they seek it above all things – eternal optimists in search of hope and some utopian world of peace and joy. When a pessimist arises in their midst and sounds off the dark knell bell of doom and gloom they mute him, stamp him out with trumpets of noise, and pass him by like a terrible promise of catastrophe.

In Lucian the Roman poet’s Dialogues of the Dead, Menippus the Cynic comes upon the dead god Chiron and asks him why he wanted to die? The god tells him because he was tired of immortality, that nothing changed; neither sun, nor moon; nor food or drink. That everything remained the same in the gods abode. So that he sought above all things cessation of being, the halls of hades. Menippus laughed out loud at this, asking him what he felt about death now that he was dead. The god pondered a moment, saying he had no feelings one way or the other; because unlike immortality he did not need beauty or sorrow, being dead. Yet, Menippus questioned him further asking: “But my dear fellow, nothing changes here in death as well. So what will you do now for change?” The god Chiron thought a moment, and asked: “What would you suggest, Menippus?” Menippus answered:

What I imagine a sensible man is reputed to do— be content and satisfied with one’s lot and think no part of it intolerable.

Why seek for something you’ll never find? Why pursue a world of peace and joy that cannot be? Maybe it’s this pursuit that has brought on all the world’s woes to begin with. Humans cannot be content and satisfied with their lot, so instead they will in envious glee seek out what their neighbor’s have; or, seek to impose some notion of the Good Life out of their Mind’s as if the pursuit of thought-forms and utopian ideas would assuage the restlessness of their dark souls. In the end we have what you see around you: this world of war and endless restlessness, of people wanting more than their lot offers; never happy, always sorrowful that they do not have more and more: for them life is full of misery and intolerable.

Against such stupidity the cynic barks…

 

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