The sentences of Diogenes of Sinope, the cynic, speak to us of one of the most honest philosophers of all time. That is to say someone who has a real desire to understand reality and reach the truth, with no other interest than love for the truth itself.
There are not really many of Sinope's Diogenes that have come down to us because he never wrote. What has still gone through the ages until our time, we owe it to his disciples. Especially his namesake, Diogenes Laertius, who compiled several of his teachings.
"Wisdom serves as a brake on youth, comfort for the old, wealth for the poor and ornament for the rich."
-Diogen of Sinope-
The main feature of this philosopher, born in Sinope as his name suggests and famous in Athens, was his enormous detachment. He loved freedom above all else and was not afraid to tell the truth to the powerful. It was said of him that he lived in a barrel and many took him for a beggar. In the following and article, we will share with you some of the most famous sentences of Diogenes, the cynic.
1. About insults
One of the sentences of Diogenes, the cynic, reads as follows: "Insult dishonours the one who infects it, not the one who receives itThis means that the error is often in the mind of the offended person, and not in the being or nature of the offended person.
This despite the fact that Diogenes himself was known to have used very harsh sentences to shape his truth. However, his denunciation had more to do with double standards and ethical failures only with one particular person. He did not try to attack the person, but to question his moral position.
2. About the sycophants
One of his disciples, Hecaton of Rhodes, wrote one of the sentences of Diogenes, the cynic, that he would have uttered more frequently. It is said : "The company of crows is preferable to that of flatterers, because they devour the dead and others the living” .
If there was one thing this philosopher hated, it was the flatterers. He became famous for an episode: Alexander the Great sought him, attracted by his prestige. He came to him and told him he could ask him anything. Diogenes asked him to step aside because he was blocking out the sunlight.
3. About total detachment
It is said that Sinope's Diogenes stopped once to observe a child who took water with his hands and drank it. The philosopher had very few belongings, but he still had a bowl. But when he saw the little boy, he said, "A child surpassed me in simplicity "and threw the bowl.
Another time, he noticed another child taking his food on a leaf. They were lentils and he used bread as a spoon to put in his mouth. Imitating him, Diogenes gave up his bowl and ate like this since.
4. About to shut up and talk
This is one of the most famous Diogenes of Sinope's sentences, although we have no certainty about his paternity. There she is : "It is by keeping quiet that one learns to hear, it is by listening that one learns to speak; it is in speaking that we learn to keep quiet” .
Even if the sentence is not of Diogenes, it corresponds to his thought. This means that communication is a complex process in which listening is essential. It is the one that allows, in the first place, to learn to speak. And knowing how to speak means decanting, understanding when to keep quiet.
5. About charity and its interests
The story goes that one of the Athenian citizens, impressed by the degree of poverty in which Diogenes lived, approached him and asked him: "Why do people give money to beggars and not to philosophers? “
Diogenes thought for a moment and replied: "Because they think that one day they may become disabled or blind, but, philosophers, neverAn ingenious way of saying that charity is inspired by a kind of selfishness, which feeds above all the help inspired by selfishness.This equation does not include virtues, but deficiencies, it does not include empathy, but fear.
At the time of Diogenes, the philosophers were very appreciated and he could have lived as a protege of the nobility, in the midst of luxury and privileges. However, he chose to abandon everything to achieve the highest degree of authenticity. For this very reason, we remember him thousands of years later.