Tag Archives: philosophy

DIOGENES THE CYNIC

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

DiogenesDiogenes of Sinope  was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy.  The term “Cynic” itself derives from the Greek word κυνικός, “dog-like”. Later Cynics also sought to turn the word to their advantage, as a later commentator explained:

There are four reasons why the Cynics are so named. First because of the indifference of their way of life, for they make a cult of indifference and, like dogs, eat and make love in public, go barefoot, and sleep in tubs and at crossroads. The second reason is that the dog is a shameless animal, and they make a cult of shamelessness, not as being beneath modesty, but as superior to it. The third reason is that the dog is a good guard, and they guard the tenets of their philosophy. The fourth reason is that the dog is a discriminating animal which can distinguish between its friends and enemies. So do they recognize as friends those who are suited to philosophy, and receive them kindly, while those unfitted they drive away, like dogs, by barking at them.

Diogenes of Sinope he was born in Sinope (modern-day Sinop, Turkey), an Ionian colony on the Black Sea, in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE.  He was a controversial figure. His father minted coins for a living, and when Diogenes took to debasement of currency, he was banished from Sinope. 

After being exiled, he moved to Athens and criticized many cultural conventions of the city.  He believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his simple lifestyle and behavior (which arguably resembled poverty) to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt or at least confused society. In a highly non-traditional fashion, he had a reputation of sleeping and eating wherever he chose and took to toughening himself against nature.

He declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world rather than claiming allegiance to just one place.  Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized and embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting attendees by bringing food and eating during the discussions.

Diogenes was also noted for having publicly mocked Alexander the Great: 

“Alexander the Great found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained, “I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave.”

THE NEXT WORLD

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

PLATO — 348/347 BC) was a Classical Greek philosophermathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.[3] In the words of A. N. Whitehead:

“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. I do not mean the systematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extracted from his writings. I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered through them.

Plato’s sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have been ascribed to him. Plato’s writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato’s texts.[5] Plato’s dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophylogicethicsrhetoric, and mathematics. Plato is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. — Wikipedia.org

ONTOLOGICAL CHAUTAUQUAS

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Zen_motorcycleI was interested to read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” as I spent many years of my life riding motorcycles, and most of my life searching for answers to ontological and spiritual questions.

The author, Robert M. Pirsig, in first person, tells his real-life adventure of  a 17-day journey on his motorcycle from Minnesota to Northern California with two friends and his 8 year old son Chris.  The trip is punctuated by numerous philosophical musings and educational diatribes he refers to as “Chautauquas“, a popular method of adult teaching used in rural America during the 1800s.

Robert Pirsig was tested as having an IQ of 170 at the age of 9 years.  His prodigious intellect led him to an epiphany that Western academia and science is based on unsubstantiated bullshit.  Thereafter his personal philosophical investigations eventually drove him to ask questions and find answers that can only be discovered by exploring ones spiritual self.

The “dialogues” the author has with himself while riding his motorcycle across America are tied together by the story of the narrator’s own past self, who is referred to in the third person as Phaedrus (after Plato’s dialogue). Phaedrus, a teacher of creative and technical writing at a small college, became engrossed in the question of what defines good writing, and what in general defines good, or “Quality”.

The book reviews the subject of Western philosophy, touches on Eastern philosophy, including Zen.  The discipline and technical skill of maintaining the motorcycle he is riding is used as an excellent analogue for his explanation of his psychic travels through the barren landscape of soulless Western world, both physically and metaphysically.  Eventually, he resolves the question of “what is quality” through a subjective understanding of spiritual essence.

Fortunately, Mr. Pirsig is still living and has resolved his personal quest sufficiently to continue living in human society long enough to write this excellent book.

THE ABYSS

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

THE ABYSS_David FSLoh

(Photo by David F Sloh)

“WORSHIP THE SHRINE
TO REACH THE SUBLIME”
IS A WALL OF LIES
TOO STEEP TO CLIMB!

WE CANNOT BE FREE
WITH PRIESTS IN CONTROL
OF EMPTY PHILOSOPHY…
WHERE TRUTH IS UNKNOWN.

WE CHOSE NOT TO CLIMB
THE WALLS OF OUR MIND.
YET, WE ARE THE LIGHT
WE SEEK TO FIND!

_____________

Lawrence R. Spencer. 2013