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The destiny of every cherished notion is to die of natural causes. Being aware of this, the wise man doesn’t waste his time wrangling. Debate he refuses. Disproof he won’t stoop to. He remains stalwartly indifferent to the inventiveness of the mind, unruffled by the conjurations and fluctuations of that notoriously fertile ground for fantasy and deceit. Not so the cynic. While the cynic may respect such divine aloofness as the wise man displays, he is of far too sanguinary a temperament to practice it himself. Thus we see him set off, sword in hand, in hot pursuit of . . . what? mere harmless illusions and comforting ideas!—or so, at least, they are judged ordinarily. That he holds them to be of a less innocuous, more serpentine character is as clear as day. Indeed, they are in his view the source of innumerable evils, and so long as there is a shred of evidence that they or any of their ilk are still at large he cannot sleep. Hence he proceeds to hunt them down, round them up, and massacre them by the dozen. Believers, unsurprisingly, feel no great affection for cynic; but it is difficult to say whether this is because of his bitter resolve to expose their beliefs or because of the perverse joy he seems to take in striking terror into their hearts.