Ancient Greek Cynicism: "The Father of Lies" by K. J. Parker

The Father of Lies - K.J. Parker

“’I’ve done a lot of bad things.’
‘Define bad.’
He looked at me, then nodded. ‘A lot of illegal things,’ he amended. ‘I’ve told a lot of lies, defrauded a lot of people out of money, cheated, stolen. Never killed anyone—’ I cleared my throat. ‘Deliberately,’ he amended, ‘except in self-defense.’
‘That’s a broad term,’ I said.
‘No it’s not. I got them before they got me.’

In "The Father of Lies" by K. J. Parker

Cynics, Confucius, Buddha and Lao-Tzu (Taoism founder) all lived at about 500 BC, and were all of a view that we should dispassionately view the world as it really is, and act upon it in a helpful way, whilst living a simple life. They said that the dissatisfied human state is the result of our actions which are often self-centre, to become satisfied you have to become other-centred. Very hard to do/be. A modern cynic thinks that other people act cynically, which is fine, the problem arises when they get righteously indignant about it, making themselves out to be saint like which it is unlikely they are. So they're end up endlessly winding themselves up. The optimist can't be bothered thinking that everyone is up to no good because they might not be. The only solution is for the modern cynic to become as disciplined as those dudes from 500 BC. But then that is very hard to do/be. In fact the reason for the definition of the word changing is that people tried to be just that and failed or others just pretended to be that so they could get an advantage.
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