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.