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faithful hound, but it is by no means certain that the two men ever met. Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and slept in a tub in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He publicly mocked Alexander and lived. He embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures. After being captured by pirates and sold into slavery, Diogenes eventually settled 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. None of Diogenes’ many writings have survived, but details of his life come in the form of anecdotes (chreia), especially from Diogenes Laërtius, in his book Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers. All we have is a number of anecdotes concerning his life and sayings attributed to him in a number of scattered classical sources, none of them definitive. It was in Corinth that a meeting between Alexander the Great and Diogenes is supposed to have taken place. The accounts of Plutarch and Diogenes Laërtius recount that they exchanged only a few words: while Diogenes was relaxing in the sunlight in the morning, Alexander, thrilled to meet the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favour he might do for him. Diogenes replied, "Yes, stand out of my sunlight". Alexander then declared, "If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes." In another account of the conversation, Alexander found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained, "I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave." Thus Diogenes showed that he was no less happy and rich than the great man before him. He had everything he desired. The Cynics believed that people did not need to be concerned about their own health. Even suffering and death should not disturb them. Nor should they let themselves be tormented by concern for other people’s woes. Nowadays the terms “cynical” and “cynicism” have come to mean a sneering disbelief in human sincerity, and they imply insensitivity to other people’s suffering.

THE STOICS The Cynics were instrumental in the development of the Stoic school of philosophy, which grew up in Athens around 300 B.C. Its founder was Zeno, who came originally from Cyprus and joined the Cynics in Athens after being shipwrecked. He used to gather his followers under a portico. The name “Stoic” comes from the Greek word for portico (stoa). Stoicism was later to have great

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Final study of CulMe-WeOnCT project  
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