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44 Philosophical Quotes by Greek Cynic Diogenes

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Diogenes. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

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.

Quote: Wise kings generally have wise counselors; and he must be a wise man himself who is capable of distinguishing one. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime
Photo Credit: kazuend

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


Quote: Blushing is the color of virtue. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of about to bloom lotus flower
Photo Credit: kazuend

Blushing is the color of virtue.


A friend is one soul abiding in two bodies.


Quote: All things are in common among friends. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

All things are in common among friends.


Quote: We are more curious about the meaning of dreams than about things we see when awake. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: Education gives sobriety to the young, comfort to the old, riches to the poor and is an ornament to the rich. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: Democritus says, But we know nothing really; for truth lies deep down. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: If your cloak was a gift, I appreciate it; if it was a loan, I'm not through with it yet. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: There is a false love that will make you something you are not. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: I pissed on the man who called me a dog. Why was he so surprised? by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: When Alexander the Great addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, Diogenes replied Yes, stand a little out of my sunshine. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings.


Quote: 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? by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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?


Quote: 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. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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.


Quote: Fools! You think of god as a sentient being. God is the word used to represent a force. This force created nothing, it just helps things along. It does not answer prayers, although it may make you think of a way to solve a problem. It has the power to influence you, but not decide for you. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of Diogenes quote: Fools! You think of god as a sentient being. God is the word used to represent a force. This force created nothing, it just helps things along. It does not answer prayers, although it may make you think of a way to solve a problem. It has the power to influence you, but not decide for you.- black text on quotes background

Fools! You think of god as a sentient being. God is the word used to represent a force. This force created nothing, it just helps things along. It does not answer prayers, although it may make you think of a way to solve a problem. It has the power to influence you, but not decide for you.


Quote: 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. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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.


Quote: Protagoras asserted that there are two sides to every question, exactly opposite to each other. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: 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. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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.


Quote: Even if I am but a pretender to wisdom, that in itself is philosophy. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: 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. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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.


Quote: He was seized and dragged off to King Philip, and being asked who he was, replied, A spy upon your insatiable greed. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: Aristotle dines when it seems good to King Philip, but Diogenes when he himself pleases. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: The chief good is the suspension of the judgment especially negative judgement, which tranquillity of mind follows like its shadow. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: The only way to gall and fret effectively is for yourself to be a good and honest man. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: I like best the wine drunk at the cost of others. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: Man is the most intelligent of the animals -- and the most silly. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: Boasting, like gilded armour, is very different inside from outside. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: A wise man becomes free when he is ready to die at any moment. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: I do not know whether there are gods, but there ought to be. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: The sun, too, shines into cesspools and is not polluted. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: Modesty is the color of virtue. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

Modesty is the color of virtue.


Quote: The great thieves lead away the little thief. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

The great thieves lead away the little thief.


Quote: It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: The art of being a slave is to rule one's master. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: Why not whip the teacher when the pupil misbehaves? by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

Why not whip the teacher when the pupil misbehaves?


Quote: The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: It was a favorite expression of Theophrastus that time was the most valuable thing that a man could spend. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: The mob is the mother of tyrants. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

The mob is the mother of tyrants.


Quote: Stand a little less between me and the sun. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

Stand a little less between me and the sun.


Quote: 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. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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.


Quote: What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


Quote: The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. by author Diogenes overlaid on photo of photo of author Diogenes with quote

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


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