What makes a cynic? Reason and experience in life or the cold hand of genetic inheritance?
Are cynics just born? Or do they become imbued with cynicism as they travel through life and become convinced by absurdity?
According to Wikipedia, a contemporary cynic has an attitude characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives. “A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in the human species or people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment.”
In ancient Greece, where the term originated, Diogenes lived in a barrel on the streets of ancient Athens. Again as per Wikipedia, ancient cynics believed “people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex, and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions”.
The cynic should be using LinkedOut, not LinkedIn. I was browsing LinkedIn this morning and my immediate and strong emotion was one of cynicism.
Behavior in life is truly fractal. We all spring from the same simple cells which first divided to form life millions of years ago; and so it is of little surprise perhaps that the behavior of life is fractal from the smallest microbe upwards. Life fights to the death. Bacteria struggles to overcome and dominate. The fungi battle against competing species to achieve dominance so they can fruit and spread their spores. The fox kills and eats the chicken to survive and spread his selfish gene and so on up to the level of the human race.
Business is a battleground. In some countries of the world, life is still largely physical and hence violence is too. The rule of law is such in many of the world’s ghastly corners that humans can still behave like the fox or the jackal. Or indeed like bacteria or fungi. They club and fight and kill for land and possessions so that they too can pass on their unworthy genes. And so on into the next unworthy and unpleasant generation.
In the more “civilized” West, fractal violence has had to adapt to a better enforced and more sophisticated rule of law.
Social media has become the latest battleground where, instead of clubbing your fellow man to steal his food, shelter and wife you have to convince him to part with all three without violence.
Commerce is the new violence. In the beginning was the mouth and the tooth and the claw. In the beginning was physical violence. And since behavior is fractal, for most species on earth outside of humanity, violence is still the means to survive and prosper.
Think of cancer cells.
But oh so clever man with his gift (or curse?) of consciousness now uses business to conquer and survive. Where he can, man will still use genuine violence in business. He seeks to ruin his competitor and drive him out of business. He seeks to convince the hapless and foolish consumer that his goods or services have value and more value than those of his competitors.
Nowhere is Darwinism more evident than in the world of finance. The tooth and the claw have been replaced by marketing and sales. The bookies and the forex dealers, the stock brokers and the sellers of investment systems must at one level know that they are selling poison and destruction but they don’t give a damn. If they did they would not survive.
How can any man in good conscience sell bets or betting services when he knows that ruin is the outcome for the consumer? How can men sell endless seminars promising to teach fools to trade when they must know they are selling moonshine and bullshit?
How can the forex broker and execution only stock broker fill his website with useless trading tips and promises when he knows (or ought to know) that he is selling snake-oil with the intention of transferring wealth (and hence Darwinian survival) from the punters’ pockets to his own?
Someone quite rightly recently admonished me by pointing out that there are good things happening in the world.
I must scour LinkedOut for good people doing good things. They must be there.