Dishonesty = a human

I was reflecting recently on the musings of an Ancient Greek philosopher named Diogenes, who introduced his philosophy under the name of Cynicism, which happens to be derived from the Greek word for “dog.”  Although the word “cynic” has negative connotations in today’s society, it actually stood for a philosophy based on high principles.  Virtue was the only path to perfection and goodness; the cynic’s belief that all people on this earth are motivated by selfishness in their actions is true, however you may want to deny it.

Besides the foundation of Cynicism, there is an anecdote that comes to my mind, way from my elementary school days, when I read about the history (and mythology) of Ancient Greece for the first time.  Obviously, Diogenes lived in Ancient Greece; he was a misunderstood man who lived in an eccentric way and uttered caustic retorts to anyone who questioned him.  One particular day, a passerby crossed paths with the unusual philosopher.  Diogenes was carrying a fully lit lantern in the middle of a sunny day.  Perplexed, the passerby asked Diogenes what on earth he was doing.  Diogenes tersely replied, “I am looking for an honest man.”

Honesty is such a rare virtue that it is banal for me to even dwell on how humans generally lack this quality.  Diogenes was so correct in his one brief statement, that it is amazing how no one appreciated how clearly he perceived life and the truth he was so desperately seeking.  I am proud to say that I admire Ancient Greek philosophies; Plato was the father of all philosophy, and his mark on intellectual thought cannot and will not ever be removed.  Writers say that the “the truth hurts,” and they are right.  Humans do not stop acting dishonestly, but they certainly are hurt when someone accuses them outright of being dishonest.  Irony seems to play a great part in human life as well.  In order to not digress, I must conclude that I, like Diogenes, still search for honest people; I sadly admit that I have just as much chance of finding one as he did with his lantern in broad daylight.

Natalie Gorna

10 thoughts on “Dishonesty = a human

  1. Samuel J. King July 6, 2013 / 18:28

    When someone declared that life is an evil, he said, “Not life itself, but living badly.” To one who protested that he was poorly adapted for the study of philosophy, he said, “Why then do you live, if you do not care to live well?” Seeing a youth dressing with elaborate care, he said, “If it’s for men, you’re a fool; if for women, a knave.” Being asked what creature’s bite is the most deadly, he said, “Of those that are wild, a sycophant’s; of those that are tame, a flatterer’s”.


    • Natalie Gorna July 7, 2013 / 13:40

      Very wisely spoken. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. Wendell X. Knight June 23, 2013 / 21:43

    The program for life advocated by Diogenes began with self-sufficiency, or the ability to possess within oneself all that one needs for happiness. A second principle, “shamelessness,” signified the necessary disregard for those conventions holding that actions harmless in themselves may not be performed in every situation. To these Diogenes added “outspokenness,” an uncompromising zeal for exposing vice and conceit and stirring men to reform. Finally, moral excellence is to be obtained by methodical training, or asceticism.


    • Natalie Gorna June 24, 2013 / 18:38

      Very nice elaboration on the Cynic way of life – thank you. 🙂 And thanks for commenting and reading my humble post!


  3. Charlene June 22, 2013 / 19:26

    Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!


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    • Natalie Gorna June 21, 2013 / 14:06

      Thank you for commenting – I’m so glad you enjoyed my post!


  5. Carmella Z. Compton June 14, 2013 / 12:25

    Engraved on bronze statues of Diogenes the Cynic erected in Corinth following his death, according to Diogenes Laertius. These lines might be taken to refer to what was considered the essence of the Cynic philosophy, the legacy of Diogenes being what the ancients describe as a “short-cut to virtue” consisting of a life of voluntary poverty and self-imposed hardship for the purposes of philosophical training.


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