On Justified Irreverence.

Luke "Lantern" Thompson
6 min readJun 26, 2021
Diogenes the Cynic shows displays blatant irreverence to Alexander The Great.

IRREVERENCE is a virtue when those of high status impose their presence onto others by surrounding themselves with supporters, attempting to be the most charismatic person in the room, trying to impress women through superficial charm or by deliberately wearing expensive jewelry to give people the impression of wealth just by their mere presence. People who are held in high esteem without merit must always be met with irreverence.

To practice irreverence, once does not need to be insulting or provocative as that would be needless and immoral. Irreverence may be inadvertent when we do not realize that the person we are sitting beside on the train or in the library is a world famous author or sportsman while his fans stand outside banging on the glass in hope that they can have the distinct honor of being noticed by him. My irreverence ought to continue once I am informed that he is famous by the crowd because he has not warranted my reverence due to happenstance. Had I been informed that he was an infantryman, then that would invoke a precedential reverence in me because I had not known of his brave deeds beforehand. If I approach him after realizing this fact to ask about his service, then I must not immediately praise him for his service because I do not know him as a person.

Famous military sniper Chris Kyle(1974–2013) was the most revered sniper in the American military because of his ability not because of his character as a lone person when he is out of uniform. As it turned out, Chris Kyle the man was of a much lower class then Chris Kyle the sniper when he lied about knocking out former soldier and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura after Ventura allegedly told Kyle that he “deserved to lose a couple of guys” for being in Afghanistan. I recall watching the disgraced Kyle nod and then pause after being asked about the incident on a radio station so that he could compose himself before speaking about what happened in a dispassionate and low tone of voice-uncharacteristic of someone who ought to be outraged at what Ventura had said about his brothers in arms deserving to die.

Getting back to my example, my precedential reverence has come about because I have conflated the person’s ability or good works with his character which may not be worth associating with. If I am an amateur soccer player, then I would want to associate with the best soccer players in the world to improve my skills. I may revere their skills, but I should not revere them as characters just because they are exceptionally skilled at paying soccer.

When a superficially charismatic loudmouth walks into a room or a bar to make his presence known as a famous actor, musician or a local celebrity that has become famous off his image through the market of idle viewership, then we merely have to disassociate ourselves from him to show irreverence as opposed to showing overt disrespect which would indicate envy. If the essence of envy is concealed admiration, then we are no different then the celebrity in that we want to be like him. The whole point of applied irreverence is to not be seduced by the fame, looks or charisma of the celebrity, politician or prime minister who merely partake in fashionable events in culture to meet their public relation quotas as it relates to the culture wars.

Diogenes The Cynic lived a life of voluntary poverty not only because he wanted to avoid all idle pleasures, but because he wanted to prove how irrelevant Alexander The Great and other public figures are to not only his life, but to the lives of his fellow men when man and society as a whole realizes that Kings and prophets have little knowledge and power in comparison to all the knowledge that is required by different specialists in order to create a prosperous society. If an autocrat decides to go to war and fails, he is hailed as a great protector. If an architect builds a tower that collapses, then he is ruined. If a business owner decides to break an idiotic competition law by selling milk from a foreign country, then he is called a criminal. If a prime minister sends millions of dollars in foreign aid to far off country, then he is hailed as a humanitarian. If a person dies under the care of a chiropractor or an osteopath in an one-off incident, then he is considered a fraud who has his whole profession condemned. If a government endorsed vaccine kills or severely injuries thousands, then people avoid the fact because their pride will not allow them to succumb to the superior foresight of others and to admit they were wrong about their idol of a premier or prime minister.

I have observed many retirees and people who have what I think they would consider to be “ideal” lifestyles be the most passively and militantly compliant with public health mandates. One retiree I know criticizes “millennials” for prolonging the health orders in-conjunction with having “too big a house” or not respecting the law among other criticisms which I am sure he was guilty of when he was a “millennial” himself. Does he not realize that it was millennial homebuilders who built the very house he lives in? Regardless of the fact, he merely uses public health mandates to project his cynicism onto others. He is also compliant with the “law” because he reveres what prime ministers can “do” to “improve” the country even though no one knows what it is prime ministers do when there is always corruption abound at all times. Politicians must apparently be competent in law and journalism, but when we watch parliament in Canada or Donald Trump, Clinton or Biden speak in America, we encounter empty words in their promises of nostalgia, security, justice or some other ill-fated plan. When people are interviewed at a presidential rally they have nothing better to say other then wanting “another four years of freedom” because their reverence overrules reality at that time.

The people who live the supposedly ideal lifestyle do not realize that their style of living cannot be sustained when more unjust laws get passed. The person who owns an quaint aromatherapy shop may be indifferent about the corruption around them until they are told to shut down their business because he or she has grown too many “unregulated herbs” which are now illegal. She will then realize that the swamp creature of state law was always hiding underneath the smiley fields that had always conformed to her ideal conception of tranquility which she had confused with solitude. She may have noticed an unpleasant stench prior to having the police at her door, but she decided to be indifferent because of her idle reverence of the environment.

I respect Kings, but I do not revere their power much like how Diogenes did not disrespect Alexander because he was famous as that would be indicative of envy. Diogenes simply did not see any point to Alexanders existence as it related to his own. Diogenes enjoyed the simple pleasures of nature, Alexander could not replicate those pleasures because no one requires and Alexander to enjoy them. If I were incapable of making a peach pie, then I merely have to eat a peach. I do not have to rely or even blackmail the person who has a secret peach pie recipe which no one can replicate. I do not need to rely on a king or queen to call me “honorable” if I know I am honorable be being honorable. I do not need to rely on a superstar baseball pitcher to tell me how to throw a fastball when they themselves developed their own style without ever being taught by a superstar themselves.

Why do I need to revere the superstars, kings, queens, and leaders of conquest when their is nothing about them to revere? Reverence is justified when those of high honor make the most major contributions to society be it spiritual, literary or technical, reverence is unjustified when people are revered because of their status in pop culture or in the nobility. Legitimate reverence is hard to come by, but when someone believes that they ought to be revered, then we must be unceasingly irreverent.