XVI. To His Students (p. 67)
This reminds me of the section of the Discourses, where Epictetus says that a Phidian statue is one formed according to the art of Phidias.
Show me a man moulded to the pattern of the judgements that he utters, in the same way as we call a statue Phidian that is moulded according to the art of Phidias. Show me one who is sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy. Show him me. By the gods I would fain see a Stoic. Nay you cannot show me a finished Stoic; then show me one in the moulding, one who has set his feet on the path.
So too, is a Stoic one formed in the doctrine of Zeno et al. This calls to that, and says that Cynicism is Diogenean. An interesting parallel.
I like viewing the “uniform” of the Cynics as ‘the weapons of the Gods.’ That’s an interesting take, again more in the Stoic style than I think Diogenes himself would have done.
XVII. To the Same (p. 67)x
The begging of the Cynics is something I have trouble with. Not for others, but for myself. It’s clearly an ego thing. I have no problem giving a dollar when asked, but I would hate to be the one who has to ask.
Pseudo-Crates states that what’s shameful is no the act of begging, but in being unworthy of the donation. That’s a point worth thinking about.
XVIII. To the Youths (p. 69)
Pseudo-Crates here is appealing, in a strange way, to human’s desire for stability. If you sleep on the ground, drink water, and eat from your work; then what does a famine, a wildfire, or sour wine matter to you?
The Cynic is untouchable by most of the things which cause men the majority of their fear and anguish. Uncertainty, indeed Fate itself, is practically eliminated.
XIX. To Patrocles (p. 69)
Here, we’re reminded that a beard and cloak do not a philosopher make. Instead, the true philosopher elevates those things to the status which we see in them. Crates speaks against Odysseus, who was esteemed so highly as to be one of legendary possible sages for some, Odysseus and Heracles.
Peudo-Crates is feisty today.
This is part of the Cynic Epistles Reading Plan.