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47 Inspiring Quotes by Diogenes

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Diogenes.

Wikipedia Summary for Diogenes

Diogenes ( dy-OJ-in-eez; Ancient Greek: Διογένης, romanized: Diogénēs [di.oɡénɛːs]), also known as Diogenes the Cynic (Διογένης ὁ Κυνικός, Diogénēs ho Kynikós), was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. He was born in Sinope, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea coast of modern-day Turkey, in 412 or 404 BC and died at Corinth in 323 BC.

Diogenes was a controversial figure. His father minted coins for a living, and Diogenes was banished from Sinope when he took to debasement of currency. After being exiled, he moved to Athens and criticized many cultural conventions of the city. He modeled himself on the example of Heracles, and believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his simple lifestyle and behavior to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt, confused society. He had a reputation for sleeping and eating wherever he chose in a highly non-traditional fashion, 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. There are many tales about his dogging Antisthenes' footsteps and becoming his "faithful hound".

Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar, or pithos, in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts, such as carrying a lamp during the day, claiming to be looking for a man (often rendered in English as "looking for an honest man"). He criticized Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates, and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting listeners by bringing food and eating during the discussions. Diogenes was also noted for having mocked Alexander the Great, both in public and to his face when he visited Corinth in 336 BC.

Diogenes was captured by pirates and sold into slavery, eventually settling in Corinth. There he passed his philosophy of Cynicism to Crates, who taught it to Zeno of Citium, who fashioned it into the school of Stoicism, one of the most enduring schools of Greek philosophy. No writings of Diogenes survive but there are some details of his life from anecdotes (chreia), especially from Diogenes Laërtius' book Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers and some other sources.

leafless tree on snow covered ground

If your cloak was a gift, I appreciate it; if it was a loan, I'm not through with it yet.

--Diogenes

purple-petaled flower on selective focus photography

He was seized and dragged off to King Philip, and being asked who he was, replied, "A spy upon your insatiable greed."

--Diogenes

yellow and red color textile

Perdiccas threatened to put him to death unless he came to him, "That's nothing wonderful," Diogenes said, "for a beetle or a tarantula would do the same.

--Diogenes

grassland landscape

What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others.

--Diogenes

orange lily in bloom close up photo

The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust.

--Diogenes


clear blue sea under blue sky

The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.

--Diogenes

man in black bubble hoodie looking at the stars

There is a false love that will make you something you are not.

--Diogenes

brown wallpaper

Once he saw the officials of a temple leading away some one who had stolen a bowl belonging to the treasurers, and said, "The great thieves are leading away the little thief.

--Diogenes

man running on seashore

Man is the most intelligent of the animals -- and the most silly.

--Diogenes

tall green flowering grasses under blue and white cloudy sky

Modesty is the color of virtue.

--Diogenes

man wearing knit cap on grey background

Aren't you ashamed, you who walk backward along the whole path of existence, and blame me for walking backward along the path of the promenade?

--Diogenes

selective focus photography of Russian Blue cat

The art of being a slave is to rule one's master.

--Diogenes

photography of yellow petaled flowers field

I pissed on the man who called me a dog. Why was he so surprised?

--Diogenes

person with black tattoo on left hand

A friend is one soul abiding in two bodies.

--Diogenes


round Timex analog clock at 2:33

Democritus says, "But we know nothing really; for truth lies deep down."

--Diogenes

sunflowers

The great thieves lead away the little thief.

--Diogenes

beige concrete wall

The only way to gall and fret effectively is for yourself to be a good and honest man.

--Diogenes

woman doing yoga on rock platform next to body of water

When I look upon seamen, men of science and philosophers, man is the wisest of all beings; when I look upon priests and prophets nothing is as contemptible as man.

--Diogenes

woman in white shirt sitting on brown rock near lake during daytime

I like best the wine drunk at the cost of others.

--Diogenes

body of water during daytime

The chief good is the suspension of the judgment especially negative judgement, which tranquillity of mind follows like its shadow.

--Diogenes

silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

Aristotle dines when it seems good to King Philip, but Diogenes when he himself pleases.

--Diogenes

pink tulip in bloom close up photo

If you are to be kept right, you must possess either good friends or red-hot enemies. The one will warn you, the other will expose you.

--Diogenes

full-bloomed red and white tulip flowers

Stand a little less between me and the sun.

--Diogenes

eyeglasses in bokeh photography

I do not know whether there are gods, but there ought to be.

--Diogenes

road between yellow leaf trees at daytime

The sun, too, shines into cesspools and is not polluted.

--Diogenes

assorted books on wooden table

A wise man becomes free when he is ready to die at any moment.

--Diogenes

pink tulips in close up photography

To arrive at perfection, a man should have very sincere friends or inveterate enemies; because he would be made sensible of his good or ill conduct, either by the censures of the one or the admonitions of the other.

--Diogenes

yellow flower field during sunset

Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad.

--Diogenes

2 people riding on boat during sunset

When Alexander the Great addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, Diogenes replied "Yes, stand a little out of my sunshine.

--Diogenes

yellow flower

Education gives sobriety to the young, comfort to the old, riches to the poor and is an ornament to the rich.

--Diogenes

green pine trees near mountain under blue sky during daytime

One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings.

--Diogenes

photo of about to bloom lotus flower

Blushing is the color of virtue.

--Diogenes

red flame

Boasting, like gilded armour, is very different inside from outside.

--Diogenes

orange room with open door

Wise kings generally have wise counselors; and he must be a wise man himself who is capable of distinguishing one.

--Diogenes

green palm plant during daytime

Those who have virtue always in their mouths, and neglect it in practice, are like a harp, which emits a sound pleasing to others, while itself is insensible of the music.

--Diogenes

scenery of aurora

Why not whip the teacher when the pupil misbehaves?

--Diogenes

close-up photo of two men shaking hands near beach at sunset

Even if I am but a pretender to wisdom, that in itself is philosophy.

--Diogenes

water color palette on white surface

We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.

--Diogenes

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

We are more curious about the meaning of dreams than about things we see when awake.

--Diogenes

light match stick

The mob is the mother of tyrants.

--Diogenes

snow-covered mountain near lake under blue sky

All things are in common among friends.

--Diogenes

sunflower field during daytime

I am Diogenes the Dog. I nuzzle the kind, bark at the greedy and bite scoundrels.

--Diogenes

silver bell alarm clock

It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.

--Diogenes

close up shot of white flower

It was a favorite expression of Theophrastus that time was the most valuable thing that a man could spend.

--Diogenes

Arizona landscape

Protagoras asserted that there are two sides to every question, exactly opposite to each other.

--Diogenes

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