Misanthropy and Cynicism – The Pros and Cons

Following a discussion I had with a new acquaintance last night, I’ve decided to point out the pros and cons of a misanthropic (and often as much apart of it, a cynical) way of life.

First, we’ll look at some of the negative aspects of misanthropy.  These negative aspects are easier to live with the longer you are misanthropic.  One thing that becomes harder is romantic relationships.  Relationships in general are much harder to maintain, but romantic ones especially.  This is because relationships require a certain level of trust.  As a misanthrope, that level of trust is hard to reach.  Most people aren’t going to be willing to deal with your trust issues.  Being misanthropic, you’ll be more prone to lose current friends and blow off potential friends.  This causes the misanthrope to have a very small support group.  Problems also arise when you actually do let a rare few people gain your trust and they break it.  This makes it even harder to trust new people that may come along.  Needless to say, loneliness is a catch-all for this set of consequences.

While those are some heavy prices to pay, the rewards are equally, if not more, worth it.  With the lack of trust for others and an extremely small support group, one is often alone and not influenced by the esteem of one’s peers.  This allows the misanthrope a lot of time for introspection and reflection.  These are not only great for finding out what you really want and who you really are, but also for gaining wisdom.

Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.

Arthur Schopenhauer

There are a lot more benefits to misanthropy.  One would be that you’re not taken advantage of quite so easily; another would be that with less people close to you, you’re less likely to get hurt.

It is most often the ones closest to us that hurt us the most dearly.

Sardonicus Amadeus Stanfield

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About Sardonicus

I am a mediocre philosophy writer and mediocre artist.
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10 Responses to Misanthropy and Cynicism – The Pros and Cons

  1. Christian Pike says:

    I agree with most of this. I must say that I’d prefer saving the world over allowing it to carry on in this direction though.

  2. I take a different view of misanthropy. It is possible to hate the species as a whole without necessarily hating all individuals. I too end up with a fairly small support group of those whom I trust. There are a fairly decent number of people I actively like and even a few I truly love. And, I do manage to be social throughout the work day. I’m actually fortunate in my current job that I work with a number of very bright and unusually logical people. Of course, the vast majority of human induhviduals are worthy of contempt. But, there are a few good ones out there.

    However, regardless of whom I come across on any given day, I still hate the result of having our species on the planet. I would gladly go off and kill myself right now if I thought for a moment that I could get the rest of humanity to follow. I might even do it for the short term benefit of getting the vast majority off the planet even if a few were left, though I think that any group of humans will reproduce and ultimately cause all of the same problems in fairly short order, so perhaps not.

    Have any of you come across the good folks at the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement? I realize that they don’t have much hope of success in actually causing our species to voluntarily choose a nice peaceful extinction without taking the many other species I find so much more beautiful than our own right along with us. However, it’s nice to contemplate even the remote possibility.

    http://vhemt.org/

    And, if you’ve already finalized your decision not to reproduce or at least not to reproduce further, consider proudly displaying your Gold or Silver Snip Award on your blogs.

    http://www.ninapaley.com/silversnipaward.html

    May we all live long and die out.

  3. I see your point that misanthropy can have negative aspects, romantic relationships are harder to come by, in fact I’ve only ever had one. One person who I’ve ever really loved if she hurt me or betrayed me I couldn’t ever trust anyone else fully. I’ve found it best to look for somebody who shares in your misanthropy, it’s hard work getting them to trust you but worth it, in all honesty I’ve only ever found two potential candidates. My criteria was rather demanding but worth it. So where romantic relationships will be hard to come by you will be more likely to find the right person for you. In this way it is worth it, we’ve been together for seven years.
    Losing friends was not a problem for me, I come from a vast group of friends who had one thing in common: We didn’t fit in anywhere else. As people found there place we grew apart and I decided that friends were not worth the time or effort. In all I have three close friends. I shunned them with the knowledge that our friendship in general was falling apart and I did not want to bother saving it. Losing friends for me is like throwing away a candy wrapper. It just doesn’t bother me. One thing I am guilty of is constantly testing people, old friends and new people. I do carry out social experiments. I’ve learned people lie, they cannot be trusted, the best way to get the truth from a person is to ask their friends. I encourage my girlfriend to be honest with me and tell me everything and anything, I do the same in return. It works for us. I’m not exactly lonely. A true misanthrope does not hide from social interaction, he requires it and the presence of people in order to fully appreciate his art. Another thing is I’ve always felt as if I’m looking in from outside, like an alien.
    I agree with your pros fully. I’m aware of the people around me and their intentions, usually I know them better than they know themselves.
    Misanthropist

  4. Ali Will says:

    I recently found out that I’m a misanthrope. I ablolutely hate people and distrust them. This is really true. It gives time for reflection but I’m often really stressed and annoyed being around people. I love being alone and understanding what I’m feeling, but it’s hard to build a relationship with someone if you generally hate the human race. Oh well :^)

  5. Tracy says:

    In all honesty, I never used to be a misanthropist. I have always wanted to save the world and help everyone that I possibly can. I always felt that equality is best and I’ve given way too many second chances.
    I went through relationships being cheated on constantly in every one. From there every friend back stabbed, used, and broke my heart. My heart seemed to lock itself away after one relationship where I was engaged to an abusive cheater. Ever since I find it hard to fall in love and I back out of relationships when things go wrong. I run thinking it will end in my heart being broken. Usually if I don’t, it will.
    That is not all though. At my current job I run across human waste every day. Addicts, dealers, whores, thieves, cheaters, and criminals. I sit and deal with their incessant gambling problems and watch them try to con me over everyday. Not to mention the guys who think they can touch and feel me like I am meat and constantly try getting down my pants. Then after work go home to a house where I am still with my abusive mother and friends that keep screwing me over until they want something. I grew a hatred slowly as I listened to the stories of trusted people and watched as people I know and don’t have thrown away their lives.
    This hatred has grown a lot in the past year. Currently I have to bite back just to keep my job and I cherish every minute I get away from these people I put up with. Is it so hard to find one person without darker intentions that has at least some intelligence?!

    Ok enough explanation of my life. Loved the article. I find it very true. Lonliness is a major part of it. It can sometimes be a good thing but sometimes it is bad. Would be nice to have a friend to be honest with and receive the same thing without the lies. Relationships are the same way. Especially when there are so many people ready to use you dry. Thanks for making me feel like I am not alone in feeling like an alien dropped on the wrong planet!!!!! :-)

    • Sardonicus says:
      I’m glad that my article(s) could help.

      I would be lying if I said it wasn’t so hard to find even one person without those dark intentions or lack of intelligence. However, though the hatred grows, you cannot allow it to consume you or blind you to possible relationships that are good. I very nearly allowed it to consume me and jade me to the point that I’d not have a very good friend that I do today because I’d have dismissed her instantly as just some other stupid bit of mankind. It may seem at times or at first that somebody is moronic and destitute mentally, but that may not always be the case; even then, it could be that while they are destitute, they have the potential and ability to become greater if they only had the right friend or influence.

      Just don’t let hatred consume you – let it be as a motivating force for good, to help people to be less ignorant and to make the world a better place.

  6. Tracy says:

    Thank you and I will try. It is not too easy though. Especially since the anger and disgust is like a disease burning through my chest everyday. Recently it has been eating at my mind so much that I have taken up a few new hobbies just to keep my mind off of it. I honestly don’t even know where I would begin to turn this venom into something productive for them.

    • Sardonicus says:

      If you need to, look at it as improving the world for you to live in. If people don’t suck, they don’t have to piss you off all the time. Some things that can help are true environmentalism (not that PETA and other fake ass shit).

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