Thursday, April 13, 2017

"I am looking for an honest man." Diogenes holding a lamp in midday.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Diogenes used to stroll about in full daylight with a lamp.  When asked what he was doing, he would answer, "I am just looking for an honest man."  Diogenes looked for a human being but reputedly found nothing but rascals and scoundrels.  

Oh, Diogenes, don't despair,
put off your lamp at midday;
save it for the darkest hour,
when people rage than pray,
storm the Bastille, cry the trilogy:
Liberte', Egalite', Fraternite'.

and if that dawn be spilled 
with crimson then let it be
in the halls of true justice,
for heads to roll in ignominy;
if so few make no difference
light again your lamp at midday. ~   AVR 

It was in Corinth that a meeting between Alexander the Great and Diogenes is supposed to have taken place. While Diogenes was relaxing in the sunlight in the morning, Alexander, thrilled to meet the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favor 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.", to which Diogenes replied "If I were not Diogenes, I should also 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. (Wikipedia)

Diogenes preferred to live a simple life and had no permanent home, but in public places.  Here he lives in a discarded jar, holding the proverbial lamp that made him famous. Pictures from Wikipedia.

Diogenes Quotes 

1. Those who have virtue always in their mouths, and neglect it in practice, are like a harp, which emits a sound pleasing to others, while itself is insensible of the music.
2. I have nothing to ask but that you would remove to the other side, that you may not, by intercepting the sunshine, take from me what you cannot give.

3. Wise kings generally have wise counselors; and he must be a wise man himself who is capable of distinguishing one.

4. I threw my cup away when I saw a child drinking from his hands at the trough.

5. We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.

6. The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust.

7. 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.

8. I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

9. The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.

10.. When I look upon seamen, men of science and philosophers, man is the wisest of all beings; when I look upon priests and prophets nothing is as contemptible as man.

Photo:Diogenes looking for a man - attributed to JHW Tischbein.jpg; picture of painting from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; quotes from BrainyQuote Internet. Diogenes of Sinope (also Diogenes the Cynic) was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. Also known as Diogenes the Cynic, he was born in Sinope, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea, in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE

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