Diogenis was an ancient Greek philosopher.
Diogenis was an ancient Greek philosopher. Born in 412 BC (According to other sources in 399 BC) in Sinope of Pontus at the Black Sea coast. Diogenis, according to some sources, has been exiled from Sinope because of a problem about defacing the local currency. He moved to Athens where he met Antisthénis, the founder of the School of cynical philosophers. Diogenis of Sinope is considered to be the main representative of cynical philosophy. Cynicism is a philosophy which has been developed in the 4th century BC and belongs to the so-called Socratic schools which, after the death of Socrates, have been founded by his students and friends. Antisthenis taught in the gymnasium of Kynosargous in Athens, hence the name, cynical (Kynikós). Another version claims that the name derives from the word Kyon that means dog. The dog is the emblem of cynical philosophers. Characteristic of cynicism is the provocative behavior that is usually expressed with crude honesty, courage to express severe criticism to hypocrisy, and the use of pleasantries, the wordplay and caustic humor about the wrongs in society; corruption, misuse of power and exploitation of people in weak social position. Self-sufficiency, simplicity, self-awareness and ascetic life are considered by the cynics, qualities that contribute to the happiness of man. Samples of the principles of his philosophy gave Diogenis with his life. Το Diogenis are attributed several episodes that dealt with the logic of his philosophy.
The view that man in order to live in harmony with nature needs to combine reason with virtue, a combination difficult to find, was expressed ironically by Diogenis circulating at high noon in the streets of Athens with a lighted lantern, saying: “I am looking for a true human being”. Putting into practice the principles of self-sufficiency and austerity, he was circulating in Athens all year round with the same clothes and slept in a tub having dogs as his guards.
In one of his journeys Diogenis was captured by pirates and put up for sale in a slavery market. Xeniadis, a wealthy nobleman from Corinth, saw Diogenis and wanted to buy him. The slave trader seeing the interest of Xeniadis asked Diogenis: “He is interested to buy you, what can I say that you are capable to do?” Diogenis replied: “I can rule people“, that is to say: “I know how to command people and teach them principles‘. Xeniadis liked this reply, bought Diogenis and entrusted him the education of his children. So Diogenis settled in Kratheio, a suburb of Corinth and became a free citizen.
Several episodes refer to the way Diogenis was facing political power. For the period that he was active, the most appropriate personality to refer to such episodes was Alexander the Great. When Alexander was in Corinth he wanted to meet Diogenis. When Alexander approached him he said: “I’m King Alexander“, Diogenis calmly replied: “I am Diogenes“. Alexander the Great rather embarrassed said: “Are you not afraid?” Diogenes replied “are you bad or good?” Alexander found himself in a dilemma: A king cannot be bad, but if he is good, why should someone be afraid of the good? Instead of a reply Alexander asked again: “What favor would you want me to do for you?” and Diogenis replied: “aposkotison me” (get me out of darkness and show me the truth). This is a variation of the same crosstalk in which Alexander the Great standing in front of Diogenis, who was lying on the ground in the full sun, asked him “what favor do you want me to do for you?” and Diogenis gave him the legendary reply: “Move a little bit aside because you hide me the sun. Do not deprive me of what you cannot give me. ” Then Alexander said the famous: “If I were not Alexander I would like to be Diogenis“