Sunday, September 21, 2014

Looking for an Honest Man

Ever feel like the bottom is dropping out of your world?

(By the way, if the world is dropping out of your bottom, that is an altogether different situation, and one best addressed through pharmaceutical means or through the purchase of a substantial cork bung.)


Yup, the stuff those old Greeks used to dish out.

Aristotle, Plato and Socrates tend to get most of the top billing - maybe they had a good agent - but of all the miserable old bastards of the Hellenic World, I think my favourite is Diogenes.

Diogenes of Sinope was a strange bugger, whose original writings unfortunately have not survived the centuries, but his ideas have, courtesy of his fans and followers.

Diogenes was kicked out of his home town for adulterating and debasing the currency, and at one stage he got himself kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery. While living in Athens, he made a virtue of his poverty by begging and sleeping in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. He was probably the first 'cosmopolitan', declaring himself a man of no country, rather a citizen of the world. Diogenes is most famous for wandering around during the daytime with a lamp, claiming he was looking for an honest man.

 In later life, he became a tutor in Corinth, where his philosophy of Cynicism became one of the foundations of the Stoic School.

These days, 'cynics' tend to get a bad press, but ask yourself: When was the last time you met a truly honest man?

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  1. Great piece - typically JD, at his best!
    Tired, getting settled in Kentucky... More later, with pictures of my latest venture! :-)
    Always my best,
    Billy Ray

    1. Don't overdo things, BR. Looking forward to the pics, though!

  2. You must be a direct descendent of Diogenes, John ... since he was considered a founder of cynicism ;)



  3. I'm afraid cynicism is foisted upon us by the people we encounter on our daily walks through life. I rather feel sorry for those dreamers who aren't cynical! As always, a great bit of reading, John.

    1. Cheers, James. I hope all is well with you. Getting ready for winter yet? :)

  4. Very interesting piece John. I studied the picture carefully and you can just make out the leg of an honest woman who has been trampled to the ground by all those dishonest men. Let’s hear it for Big D – both of them! Salutations from the Tarn

  5. That would be the leg with the garter, right, Laurette? ;)