cynic philosophy

His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools – the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans – and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, ‘You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.
—  Terry Pratchett - Small Gods
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
—  Albert Camus

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
“Diogenes” (1882)
Oil on canvas
Pre-Raphaelite
Located in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Domain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Diogenes was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy, and was known as Diogenes the Cynic.

Diogenes is also known for an interaction he had with Alexander the Great. Alexander, upon meeting Diogenes while he was relaxing in the morning sun, asked if there was any favor he might do for him. Diogenes replied, “Yes, stand out of my sunlight.” Alexander then declared, “If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes.”

“We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less”. Diogenes of Sinope.
Diogenes’ command here is also the basic rule of the capable psychoanalyst, energetic listening is a key to the therapy of the individual but also of that of the society. If only we listened…

Diogenes by John William Waterhouse, 1905.

A Phony Philosopher

Martial, Epigrams 4.53

Note: “the new temple” = the temple of Divus Augustus.

This fellow whom you often see,
Cosmus, within the shrine of our Pallas
Or at the threshold of the new temple -
An elderly man with staff and wallet,
His hair sticking up, all white and crumbling,
And his dirty beard falling down to his chest-
This fellow whom a flimsy cloak,
Wife to his bare cot, covers up -
Him to whom the passing crowd
Gives the food that he begs with barks…
You imagine him to be a Cynic,
But you’re fooled by his feigned appearance;
This fellow, Cosmus, is no Cynic.
What is he then, you ask?  A dog!

Hunc, quem saepe uides intra penetralia nostrae
    Pallados et templi limina, Cosme, noui
cum baculo peraque senem, cui cana putrisque
    stat coma et in pectus sordida barba cadit,
cerea quem nudi tegit uxor abolla grabati,
    cui dat latratos obuia turba cibos,
esse putas Cynicum deceptus imagine ficta:
     non est hic Cynicus, Cosme: quid ergo? Canis.

Cynic Philosopher, Luca Giordano (1632-1705)

New petition to make Diogenes the Cynic the figure to be compared to Grantaire.

In case you haven’t heard of this fantastic dude yet, Diogenes was a Greek philosopher who coined the idea of cynicism and gave rise to stoicism.

  - He lived in a wine barrel, was a beggar, and owned no material belongings

  - Even though ‘cynic’ meant ‘dog-like,’ he accepted the name, saying, “I fawn on those who give me anything, I yelp at those who refuse, and I set my teeth in rascals.”

  - He completely rejected public decency (the least nsfw example is that he pissed on a guy for no reason)

  - He literally told Alexander the Great to “stand out of his sunlight.”

  - He and Plato were pretty much enemies, Plato described him as “a Socrates gone mad.”

  - When Plato defined man as “a featherless biped,” Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it to Plato, saying, “Behold, a man!”

  - Also, when Plato invited him into his house, Diogenes stomped all over the floor, saying he was trampling on Plato’s vanity.

  - And another time, he walked around the marketplace in the middle of the day carrying a lit lantern, saying that he was “searching for an honest man.”

  - One theory of his death states that he requested that his corpse would be thrown over the city walls to be eaten by animals. When the people asked if he would mind that, he responded, “Not at all, as long as you provide me with a stick to chase the creatures away.” When they asked how he would use the stick without a sense of awareness, he replied, “If I lack awareness, then why should I care what happens to me when I am dead?”

  - He then made fun of the people for being so concerned about a dead body

Idk, but that sounds pretty Grantaire to me, or at least like someone modern! R would admire greatly. (And in this context, Plato makes a pretty decent Enjolras too)

Faith in life, in oneself, in others must be built on the hard rock of realism; that is to say, on the capacity to see evil where it is, to see swindle, destructiveness, and selfishness not only when they are obvious but in their many disguises and rationalisations. Indeed, faith, love, and hope must go together with such a passion for seeing reality in all its nakedness that the outsider would be prone to call the attitude ‘cynicism.’ And cynical it is, when we mean by it the refusal to be taken in by the sweet and plausible lies that cover almost everything that is said and believed. But this kind of cynicism is not cynicism; it is uncompromisingly critical, a refusal to play the game in a system of deception.