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Diogenes sign

“Watson and I gathered our things and a five p.m. set out in a hansom cab from Baker Street to arrive at the one place at which I was certain to locate my brother in the early evening each day: The Diogenes Club.

“There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubable men in town.

Sherlock-Holmes-My-Life_cover300No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger’s Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offenses, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere.”, I informed Watson as we jostled our way through the streets of London in the cab.

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This very exclusive men’s club was named after Diogenes, the Cynic. He made a virtue of extreme poverty, begging for a living and sleeping in a large tub in the marketplace. He was notorious for his provocative behavior and philosophical stunts. He carried a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He regularly antagonized Plato, disputing his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaging his lectures. After being captured by pirates and sold into slavery, Diogenes eventually settled in Corinth, where he was befriended by Alexander The Great.

Fundamentally he was a Western contemporary of the ancient Indian ascetics who abstained from worldly possessions and comfort in favor of poverty as an aid toward spiritual purity. He believed that virtue was better revealed in action and not theory. His life was a relentless campaign to debunk the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt society”, I explained to Watson, having read several treatises concerning the life of Diogenes written by modern day Cynics.

Alexander the Great went to meet Diogenes because he was impressed that the philosopher was so highly admired despite having neither money nor power. However, while Diogenes was relaxing in the sunlight one morning, Alexander, thrilled to meet the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favor he might do for him. Diogenes replied, “Yes. Stand out of my sunlight.”

Alexander declared, “If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes”, I said anecdotally, as Watson absorbed my diatribe, as well as the scenery passing by the window of our hansom.

The Diogenes Club was apparently founded, in part, as a front for the SIS, which, as you may know, is the supreme and indispensable brain-trust behind the British government. This organization secures government secrets and advises the best course of covert action to enable Britain to intervene in the affairs of other nations without detection.”

~ excerpt from the book SHERLOCK HOLMES: MY LIFE, by Lawrence R. Spencer


Diogenes of Sinope was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophyhe was born in modern-day Sinop, Turkey, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea, in 412 or 404 BC and died at Corinth in 323 BC.

— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_of_Sinope