Familial Cynic

July 18, 2008

The word "cynic" in Greek means dog-like. Dogs are pack animals. The cynic, then, derives identity as much from his web of friends and family as from anything else.

Who I am and what I am could not be packed in a suitcase. Much of who and what I am can be defined only in the context of the network of other humans around me. Family and friends -- these are as much what I am as anything else. I am in a substantial way defined by the supersets of which I am an element. Must I be confined by the skin surrounding me?

Could I extirpate myself from the mesh of humans around me? Could I strip away the core values instilled in me since birth? Can I discard the lessons learned from my adolescence and youth? To do so would be suicide. I am I. I am in no small part the product of what has been poured into me, and the feedback I have received when I have poured out myself. Therefore, to abandon my past and what has long been my home is to abandon a part of what I am -- to abandon a part of myself.

The dog is as much defined by the environment wherein that dog was raised, and the others around the dog, as anything innate in the dog.