There is stillness in the world and there is stillness in the mind. They echo each other. The observer and the observed.
The cynics accept that there were Gods. They were especially fond of Hercules, actually, and from their point of view they were on a mission from Zeus.
Did they think of nature as God? Basically they did, and that we should stop wasting Gods time. That was their thought. To the point of view of a cynic, what they were doing was exploring the world and identifying whatever might be friendly to humanity and also what isn’t, and reporting on it very honestly. This is why they were such critics of any institution.
The cynics seem egotistic and use nature as justification? Actually, they had a view on ego. Seeking position, and believing that you are higher than anyone, was against their belief. So believing that you are above being interrupted, from their point of view, that’s ego. The idea that you should observe anything as more noble than your experience or feelings was against their belief and that applied to everyone in their view.
They seem out of control and on the wrong path. The cynics would be proud to hear that. The idea of being in control making you more noble would be something they criticize.
I guess they look for that sense of disturbance? Yes, or peace if you choose it for yourself. But peace was chosen for yourself and not maintained by institution. To a cynic, you have a right to tell someone to go away, and if they don’t go away, you can go away. They called freedom of speech the highest freedom. To a cynics point of view, if you chose to assault someone you were also choosing to get hit back. So they didn’t espouse foolishness. A measure of courtesy is still very responsible in the cynic philosophy.
From the sound of it they revelled in the tower of Babylon? They did. From their point of view the tower was evil and its fall was just a reflection of truth. Well, any tower, as they weren’t familiar with Christianity.
Every thing they represent seems to condone that. They are oppositionally defiant, but they act in another way? Actually, they see it as just accepting what is and not letting convention get in the way of that. Convention is without virtue to a cynics view. To a cynic if you’re hungry, eat. If you’re sleepy, lay down and sleep. If you’re angry and feel like yelling, then yell. They deride convention because it blocks that.
Falling asleep in the street when he gets tired. A cynic would do that, and there were some philosophers who actually respected the cynics even if they didn’t embrace their philosophy. It was considered a truth. Maybe too hard to live by, but the cynic sages were very dedicated to living by it.
They likely despised the addict of institution or vice equally? No, actually not. They did criticise them and saw that as their duty. But it was because they believed the cynics way was true and could apply to anyone. It was a demonstration of integrity and spite would have been seen as a waste of time.
I like them and dislike them at the same time. They would be okay with both parts of that, and if you didn’t pick a fist fight with them, they likely wouldn’t do anything to you. They didn’t just criticise everyone. If a weak man can’t lift a sack of potatoes, you don’t criticise him. If an officious man can’t get peoples cooperation, he gets criticised. To simplify that, in the cynic view if you want something done, do it yourself. If you can’t, then acknowledge that and ask someone else. Don’t presume on obligation. A cynic would be as likely to dig roots as to ask anyone for food. It was considered the same.
Sod all has changed since that era. This is true. Convention has gotten much stronger. To a cynics point of view, a boss tells you to do something because it’s beneath them, and it’s your place to do it. A cynic doesn’t accept this. To a cynic, if this privileged person wants it done, they should do it or ask knowing that they are being humble in asking.
The whole education is based on convention. It’s upsetting because it works under the assumption that everyone knows what they want to do. True. The cynics actual espoused the Socratic view of education that any real learning is to be perceived or realized. That you don’t “teach”. It is regrettable, but it is a fact of our current world. Convention won, but it doesn’t have to be absolute. In ancient Greece you could go forage for food, but it’s not really an option now. An ancient cynic would go berserk if we brought them to the modern world, and their criticism would still be correct.
The modern cynic is often not really in the same vein as the ancients. The modern cynics tends to say “that’s bad”, but not choose anything else or offer the other person any other choice. The ancient cynic did have a way of life and an option. People mix up cynicism with apathy. The modern cynic isn’t a cynic if we want to enforce the correct meaning of words. They are just apathetic.
I read a book written by a professor, “On Bullshit“. It’s premise was that BS was worse then lies, because BS didn’t care if it was lie or truth and that the world is now full of it. I think cynics would agree? Oh indeed, they would. This was the crux of what they opposed. If you wrote a poem fine. If it moved you or your listener, that’s good. If art becomes convention, it’s BS.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.