presocratic philosophy

Cynicism as a philosophy bears only passing resemblance to how we use the term today. Most associated with Diogenes (due to Plato and Aristotle, since Diogenes’ work has been largely lost to us), Cynicism argued that the artificial trappings of civilization repressed, enslaved, and debased the human spirit.

Cynics argued that we must abandon possessions and traditions and be more like the animal: following base biological needs over all else.

Diogenes himself lived true to his teachings, and the Cynics as a group often resorted to shock tactics. Diogenes, for instance, reputedly masturbated in public, spat in official’s faces, and slept in a barrel.