Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Cynicism, Debt Ceilings...and all that jazz

From 20th century astrologer C.E.O. Carter's Encyclopedia of Psychological Astrology(1924):
Cynicism has, like Epicureanism, suffered in reputation with the lapse of time. Originally the cynic was a follower of the Stoic School who carried its doctrines to their logical conclusions, living the simplest of lives and teaching to all and sundry the supremacy of the enlightened Will. This was probably one of the earliest manifestations of the real Uranian ray, acting along scorpionic lines (self-abnegation combined with a strong sense of personal dignity and self reliance) and Aquarius (brotherly love).

The Cynic attitude, as a modern world understands it, is rather a habit of sneering at harmless pleasures and a disbelief in the worth of human aims and life in general. This is very far removed from the vigorous doctrine of the ancients and is probably more often the result of severe Saturnian afflictions, denoting disappointments (often due to lack of real character) and consequent bitterness. It would probably be often found under Virgo, Scorpio and Capricorn ascendants. Capricorn is very easily depressed by failure and non-recognition.
Since that little book was written I suspect the understanding of cynicism has evolved even further.

I find life in the USA tends to have me feeling far more cynical than I used to feel in the UK....though perhaps "distance lends enchantment"!

Recent theatrics in Washington DC and in the mainstream media relating to that darned debt ceiling kerfuffle had my cynicism revving up into full gear. How very, very sickening!!

After all the hamming up they've all done, the end result (delivered right on cue too) has been, as one commentator expressed it: mainly to "kick the can down the road" until after the 2012 election. That, and to legislate for a "super congress" with the mandate to come to decisions behind closed doors about spending cuts etc. So much for Candidate Obama's promises of transparency. The only transparency apparent in 2011 is that President Obama is transparently different from Candidate Obama.

Cynically speaking....what else would we have expected?

Congressman Ron Paul, who is usually no hero of mine, says something important here:

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this deal is the “Super Congress” provision. This is nothing more than a way to disenfranchise the majority of Congress by denying them the chance for meaningful participation in the crucial areas of entitlement and tax reform. It cedes power to draft legislation to a special commission, hand-picked by the House and Senate leadership. The legislation produced by this commission will be fast-tracked, and Members will not have the opportunity to offer amendments. Approval of the recommendations of the “Super Congress” is tied to yet another debt ceiling increase. This guarantees that Members will face tremendous pressure to vote for whatever comes out of this commission-- even if it includes tax increases. This provision is an excellent way to keep spending decisions out of the reach of members who are not on board with the leadership's agenda.

Does that sound like democracy? Is it even in line with the much revered Constitution of the United States?

So...on we go, then, cynically onward to the next big dramatic production! A short intermission may follow, for the buying of popcorn and cola (if you can afford either).

This quote is from a politician who died in a tragic "accident", a politician whose like we probably will not see again this side of a revolution. It isn't cynical - it's simply true:

“If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them.”
(Paul Wellstone)


James Higham said...

Amazing. I've just been arguing about cynicism over at OoL and here is a post which says exactly what's needed about it.

Again - may I quote?

Twilight said...

James ~~~ Certainly! Glad it's of use. :-)

Anonymous said...

GP: Even cynics of the latest version (I liked the notion of never-ending evolution in that) cannot escape the "hypnotic forces at work".

The world over financial markets trying to anticipate what some so-called leaders will concoct is getting the whole system into an ever more synchronized folly. Even the Chinese (arch - manipulators in things political themselves) now get caught in being the biggest creditor of the so rapidly declining, once great American nation.

Greece has been showing the way in this messy game for some years now, assisted by "noble" Goldman Sachs.

And to say that Stoics and Cynics had their origin in that very old nation! Are we going around in circles?

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~

Yes - I suppose cynicism, like fashion has to keep up with outside events and influences.
:-) so, like fashion it evolves.

Greece's evolution might be taking another awkward turn - I've just read this:

"Fears of Far Right-Wing Rise in Crisis-Hit Greece".

I wonder if some of that old Grecian DNA, that with highly developed philosophical reasoning powers embedded still exists. They're in need of some of that now. As are we all!

libramoon said...

The natural constituencies for political contenders is not the wealthy who represent too low a number nor the truly poor who have serious issues keeping them from the polls, but the wide middle of the Bell Curve who do all the actual work that keeps society humming. However, those of the wealthy few can easily prevail by cynically coopting the energies of the anti-intellectual elite.

Twilight said...

libramoon ~ Hi! Yes - I'd guess that the mainstream media, owned lock stock, printing press and TV camera by the corporations/wealthy few, are largely responsible for so many people in the US voting against their better interests.

That - and the fact that there isn't any true choice left by the time election day rolls around - only the choices the Powers That Be have branded as their own - future services to be rendered. Lesser of two evils. The trick will be guessing which is lesser evil now.

When Republicans are in power Democrats at least get up on their hind legs and protest - stop the worst from happening. Now we have a Dem Prez, Democratic congress people pull their forelocks and agree to stuff they'd have yelled blue murder about in Bush's day.


It's a sorry old mess.

Wisewebwoman said...

There is so little left to believe in that cynicism is the protective armour of any thinking person.
To see what unfolds in the USA on a daily basis leaves most of us outsiders with jaws dropping.
The oligarchs now rule.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ It feel like living as part of a very bad movie at times.