CERP: Day 33 – Diogenes Ep. 38.


XXXVIII. untitled: “After the games…” (p. 161)
Ah ha!   Here we have (finally) a second criterion on those from whom the mendicant my accept money or items.  The Ps-Diogenes even lays out the different sorts:  money, things worth money, food, and invitations to share a meal.  Previously, we’ve heard that only can philosopher accept things from the virtuous, or the good, or other philosophers.  Let’s lump them into one category called, and for the time being call them “the good.”  But, in this epistle, we have a second criterion, the mendicant can also accept from those who are benefited.

The Ps-Diogenes even lays out a sort of economic or market qualification.  I’d call it a capitalist one, but I’m sure someone would take umbrage.  So, let’s do that: a capitalist ethic then in mendicancy.

“…[S]ince I thought it improper to take something from a person who had himself not received anything.”

This second criterion makes the mendicancy of the Cynics practical.  One can generally see when an onlooker or interlocutor has understood or received something of benefit to them.  We can expect that the publicly-teaching philosopher would have developed this skill of discernment to a high degree.

I’ll reiterate:  I’m liking these longer letters a bit more than the previous 15 or so.

This is part of the Cynic Epistles Reading Plan.

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