You know that friend you’ve had since high school? Their antics at the age of 13 were kind of funny and the obvious disdain for authority was even admirable. But the years go by and slowly you mature and take your place in this functioning society and the stupidity of your friend (‘friend’ is used quite loosely at this point) isn’t amusing nor warranted nor serves any real purpose. You tell yourself that they’ll come around, they have to right? You’ve grown up, matured, maybe even married, few kids, contemplating whether to put them through a private school, looking at a bigger car or house. Generally making those decisions that adults make. Days of not giving a shit are gone. You got responsibilities, man. In your peripheral you see your ‘friend’. They still don’t give a shit. In fact, rather than slow them down, the years have had an opposite effect. They are now more obnoxious, more intolerable, more wittier, more crude and more boisterous than ever before. Everyone wonders why you still talk to this person. You don’t really like them, nor do they think very highly of you for that matter. To them, your square life is the cowards life. But in some perverse way, you feel somekind of loyalty to your past. So you stay in touch. You don’t meet in person. Ever. You did once, where your friend slapped the bartenders ass, after a few hours of insufferable remarks, and proceeded to get beat up. Not an unusual thing. On the contrary, ass kickings are common. But these beatings seem to only loosen the tongue even more. They get off on the beatings. They play the role of villain admirably with no signs of slowing. Yeah that ‘friend’.
Diogenes was a wanker. There is no other way to put it. He was also a philosopher during the golden years of Athens, so naturally, he was a very smart dude. Born around 412BC he was originally a banker before being banished. When he finally did return to Athens he brought with him a disdain for society. Diogenes practiced a life of simplicity, sleeping in a ceramic bowl in the main market in Athens. Unfortunately there is nothing written from Diogenes himself, so all we have are various anecdotes in The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (which can be found online). Some of them are straight up hilarious. When invited into a prominent mans house, he was explicitly asked not to spit on the floor, so naturally Diogenes spat in the mans face, claiming he couldn’t do it elsewhere. He saw a man practicing shooting arrows at a target. The man was terrible, missing quite a few shots. Diogenes went and sat by the target, claiming he would be much safer here. Most notably though, he practiced living as a dog with people throwing scraps to him in the street. He also urinated on the legs of people and openly and regularly shouted insults to passers by. Amazingly though, he did have pupils who wanted to learn from him! Ultimately he lived to beyond 90, which is an effort by itself but even more astonishing when considering the way he lived his life with insult after insult being hurled at those he deemed to be without ‘virtue’.
All in all an amazing if not bizarre character. I think his life is summed up nicely in a few lines from The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers:
“Music and geometry, and astronomy, and all things of that kind, he neglected, as useless and unnecessary. But he was very happy in meeting arguments, as is plain from what we have already said.”
Diogenes: that idiot friend from school.