This is a thesis proposal that seeks to investigate whether such norms were really prevailing or not among those considered within the paper’s scope, the last being small and limited.
The cynics of ancient Greece traced back their roots to Socrates though one of his pupils, Antisthenes (Hock, Undated). Nevertheless, it is confirmed that the actual propounder of this school of philosophy is one Diogenes of Sinope (404-323 B.C.) (Hock, Undated). From Diogenes Laertius it is known that Diogenes fled to Athens when his father, a banker, started adulterating money. There he met with Antisthenes and inducted some of the philosophical thought his teacher was heir to from Socrates. Thereafter he started leading what the cynics construe as a truly virtuous life – doubling up his cloak, carrying a begging bag for his food and eating and conversing wherever he could (Hock, Undated). He believed that ‘the minimum is the optimum’ – the cynic philosophy put in a nutshell (Hock, Undated). This may be taken as a very brief introduction to cynicism and a lengthier version of the background to cynicism will become available later in the paper. Hereafter the paper shall contrive to use some incidents or anecdotes, called chreiai in Greek, from Diogenes’ own life and some from his close disciple Crates (358-290 B.C.) (Hock, Undated) to bring out the essence of this thesis proposal. It shall also use some supplementary texts to do this.
The essence of cynicism is that the minimum of life is the optimum to live with (Hock, Undated). The extent to which the initiators – Diogenes and his students such as Crates – involved their personal lives with this minimalist philosophical precept is evidenced from their rigorously frugal life-styles. Diogenes even forsook the perusal of his drinking cup, which he took out of his begging bag and threw away, when he saw a boy drinking water with his bare hands