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Philosophy: Cynicism with Diogenes

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“Diogenes was a controversial figure. His father minted coins for a living, and Diogenes was banished from Sinope when he took to debasement of currency. After being exiled, he moved to Athens and criticized many cultural conventions of the city. He modelled himself on the example of Heracles, and believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his simple lifestyle and behaviour to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt, confused society. He had a reputation for sleeping and eating wherever he chose in a highly non-traditional fashion, and took to toughening himself against nature. He declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world rather than claiming allegiance to just one place. There are many tales about his dogging Antisthenes’ footsteps and becoming his “faithful hound”.

Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar, or pithos, in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts, such as carrying a lamp during the day, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates, and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting listeners by bringing food and eating during the discussions. Diogenes was also noted for having mocked Alexander the Great, both in public and to his face when he visited Corinth in 336 BC.

Diogenes was captured by pirates and sold into slavery, eventually settling in Corinth. There he passed his philosophy of Cynicism to Crates, who taught it to Zeno of Citium, who fashioned it into the school of Stoicism, one of the most enduring schools of Greek philosophy. No writings of Diogenes are known but there are some details of his life from anecdotes (chreia), especially from Diogenes Laërtius’ book Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers and some other sources.” – Wikipedia


  1. “Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards.” 
  2. “Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice.”
  3. “Of what use is a philosopher who doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings?” 
  4. “As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task.”
  5. “Other dogs bite only their enemies, whereas I bite also my friends in order to save them.”
  6. “Why not whip the teacher when the pupil misbehaves?”
  7. “To one who asked what was the proper time for lunch, he said, ‘If a rich man, when you will; if a poor man, where you can.”
  8. “You will become a teacher of yourself when for the same things that you blame others, you also blame yourself.”
  9. “Aristotle was once asked what those who tell lies gain by it. Said he – That when they speak truth they are not believed.”
  10. “I threw my cup away when I saw a child drinking from his hands at the trough.”
  11. “There is only a finger’s difference between a wise man and a fool.”
  12. “It is not that I am mad, it is only that my head is different from yours.”
  13. “What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others.”
  14. “If your cloak was a gift, I appreciate it; if it was a loan, I’m not through with it yet.”


(All quotes were found here.)


Blessings in abundance!


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From ever since, non-conformists have been labelled mad, so that onlookers could justify their discomfort… I think I like this guy