Cynicism from Diogenes to Dilbert Paperback – 30 Jun 2005
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From the Inside Flap
Cynicism began as a school of philosophy that was largely inspired by Socrates and often decried by popular commentators as a social pathology, a nihilistic rebellion against the foundations of civilization. Modern definitions of the cynic describe an individual who is negative and sarcastic, violently opposed to established authority and social convention, and dedicated to existentialism.
This book attempts to vindicate cynicism, arguing that it is both a progressive approach to social dilemmas and an enlightened understanding of the human condition. Chapter One establishes the foundations of classical Greek cynicism, while later chapters illustrate the varied faces of the cynic phenomenon in the persons of such disparate characters as Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Diogenes, the Dadaists, George Bataille, Samuel Beckett, Auberon Waugh, the creators of South Park, and others. Nietzsche is portrayed as the most important representative of both classical and postmodern cynicism, as well as the pivotal link between the two. The book focuses on significant periods of historical change, such as the Renaissance, and the historical cynics responsible for several seminal social ideas, including cosmopolitanism (citizenship of the world), asceticism (personal growth through self-testing), and parrhesia (finding ones voice in the presence of tyrannical forces). The author claims that aspects of Greek cynicism are present in contemporary society, offering a positive strategy for living in a hostile world.
About the Author
Ian Cutler is operational manager of mental health and learning disability services in the city of Cardiff, Wales.
About the Author
Cutler is the operational manager of mental health and learning disability ervices in the city of Cardiff, Wales.
Yiannis Gabriel is Professor of Organizational Theory at Bath University. Yiannis has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London and a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Yiannis is well known for his work into organizational storytelling and narratives, leadership, management learning and the culture and politics of contemporary consumption. He has used stories as a way of studying numerous social and organizational phenomena including leader-follower relations, group dynamics and fantasies, nostalgia, insults and apologies. He has also carried out extensive research on the psychoanalysis of organizations. Yiannis is founder and coordinator of the Organizational Storytelling Seminar series, now in its fourteenth year (See http: //www.organizational-storytelling.org.uk/), the author of nine books and numerous articles. He is elected to the board of EGOS and is currently Senior Editor of Organization Studies. His enduring fascination as a researcher lies in what he describes as the unmanageable qualities of life in and out of organizations.
Top Customer Reviews
However, in his urge to get his message across the author does froth a little at the mouth from time to time. Groups that attract his ire are cartoonishly stereotyped - including scientists, historians, doctors and the British, among others. I think it may be possible that some scientists, historians and doctors understand the limitations and shortcomings of their professions quite as well as - perhaps even better than - Cutler and his hero Baudrillard. And possibly some Brits are not mawkishly sentimental, socially repressed, cross-dressing Benny Hill fans.
So it's a polemic, championing cynicism. And the author is clear that he's a fan of the cynical power of polemics to shake people into re-examining their beliefs, so I'm sure it's a very deliberate and conscious polemic.
But (as a cynic) I take all polemics with a pinch of salt.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
L. E. Navia
Professor of Philosophy
New York Institute of Technology