06 February 2010

To the Loyal Cynics

We recently tidied up the blog, and among some nice changes you'll find a new masthead to reflect the slight redirection in themes, labels on all posts for easier searching of the archives, and some new identifiers for blog elements.

One of my favorites is that "followers" are respectfully re-designated as "Loyal Cynics."

What is a cynic? Well, in ancient Greece they were philosophers who bathed fairly infrequently. By no means do I mean to asperse my readers. Instead, I point to a more modern connotation of the word.

According to Webster, a cynic is one who criticizes and "believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self interest." But the word also implies a tendency to question authority. Now I have to make it clear that, as a Soldier, I have NEVER disobeyed an order, and I am, by nature, a stickler for order. The teacher in me, though, realizes that questioning will solidify understanding and result in greater loyalty to the cause.

A good byproduct of cynicism is that authority will try to avoid it by becoming less tyrannical.

Even the ancient Greek coterie lived by the philosophy that suffering was caused by man's poor judgment, including all the trappings of society and its conventions.

No so here. We respectfully depart from our forebears in our promotion of regular and thorough hygiene practices, and we believe whole-heartedly that conventions are an indispensable aspect of a happy life.

We simply think that man is not infallible, and many of his judgments ought to be challenged. Even if that man is a commanding officer.

Criticism is good, especially when it bubbles up from the bottom. We have come a long way since the ancient Greeks, and up to this point we know that democracy, though imperfect, is the best form of government; that a more-educated, creative workforce, whatever the occupation, is a more productive workforce; and that progress, by definition, requires second-guessing and flexibility.

So thank you for your continued reading, and welcome to the ranks of the Loyal Cynics. I hope you take the title proudly. Pass this along to your friends, and we’ll grow the movement.

Now go take a shower.

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