CERP: Day 29 – Diogenes Ep. 33 and 34.

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XXXIII. To Phanomachus, do well (p. 141)
This is a longer, and somewhat different version of the chreia in which we hear “If I were not Alexander, I would want to be Diogenes,” and Diogenes replies that he too would want to be Diogenes.  This is interesting, I don’t recall ever hearing about Diogenes gluing pages of a book together before.

I suppose that this is an allegorical denial of academic, superficial, or (for lack of a better word) “uppity” knowledge.  So, Diogenes sits in his τρίβων, sitting in the sun, living his wisdom and with both his actions and his life he show the academic knowledge to be worthless.

XXXIV. To Olympias, do well (p. 143)
Diogenes here is arguing for the Cynic mode of life.  Interestingly, he does not credit Antithenes and Socrates for his practice, but to Hera, Heracles, Odysseus:  the gods and heroes of Greece.

It is very interesting to me, that the praxis of Cynicism require the most argument.  The practice is a natural extension of the doctrine.  You can’t assent to the second while denying the first.  They are one and the same.

Yet, today (apparently) as then, the arguments are need to convince folks to do the thing.  But just like the gluing of the book, the lived philosophy should be the argument, not the intellectual logic of the thing.


This is part of the Cynic Epistles Reading Plan.

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