Lulzilla Mystery Theater – Tuesday, April 17th, 2018
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In this show, Jeremy Henggeler of Seeds of Liberty and Freedom Feens joins Bodhi Agora and Paul Gordon to talk about Diogenes of Sinope and Epictetus. During this conversation, we’ll also discuss the two schools of philosophy these two men represent and why these schools still have things to teach the abolitionist today.
Diogenes and Epictetus
Diogenes of Sinope
Born c 412 BC
Died 323 BC
Diogenes- The Man From God
Diogenes is sometimes called The Man from God who acted like a Dog.
Sinope- Father minted coins- got in scandal over bad minting- Diogenes went to Oracle who told him to deface coins. Archeological evidence still exists of these coins. Later, Diogenes interpreted Oracle meaning that he should deface currency, the social veneer.
Athens – Living in Clay Wine Jar.
Arrives in Athens with slave named Manes, who later abandons him. Diogenes said, If Manes can live without Diogenes then Diogenes should be able to live without Manes.
He warns against forming attachments of dependence.
He had a simple bowl for eating. He sees a child eating with his hands so he tosses the bowl away.
Declares himself a Cosmopolitan, a World Citizen.
Beggar. Bit people. Barked at people.
Man says he will pay Diogenes if he gives him good advice. Diogenes tells him to hang himself.
Knew Plato- Rivals. He hated Plato and his airy fairy philosophy. Plato’s Academy defined a human being as a featherless biped. Diogenes plucked chicken, went to the Academy and said, look, a man.
Debate about whether motion exists. Diogenes gets off and leave, to prove that motion exists.
Masturbating in Public- Would that the stomach could also be satisfied simply by stroking it.
Eating in the Marketplace- I was hungry, so I ate.
Eating Breakfast in the Marketplace- It is proper to eat breakfast, therefore it is proper to eat in the marketplace.
Carrying a lamp-
A few versions here- He’s looking for a man- never finds him. He’s looking for a good man- never finds him. He’s looking for an honest man- never finds him.
Piracy- Taken to Corinth
Captured by Pirates, Diogenes is sold into slavery. He says he is looking for someone to buy him who needs a master.
He declares his only trade is governing men. The phrase “governing men,” in Greek, also sounds like “teaching values to people.
He is taken to Corinth by a wealthy trader where he teaches the trader’s children.
He may have spent a lot of time in the household of the trader, but at some point he returned to his previous Athenian lifestyle.
When Philip II of Macedon was threatening Corinth, Diogenes took up his philosopher’s cloak and rolled a tub up and down the streets. Someone asked him what he was doing. Everyone else was preparing for the assault. Diogenes replied “I do not want to be thought the only idler in such a busy multitude; I am rolling my tub to be like the rest,” which was a way to indicate how pointless he thought all the preparations were.
Alexander the Great threw a party in Corinth as he was getting ready to go and conquer the world. He was newly crowned King of Madeconia and he had been consolidating his power on the Peloponnese Peninsula.
The one guest he wanted most to appear was Diogenes, but he didn’t appear, so Alexander went looking for him.
A few different accounts of this encounter-
Alexander sees Diogenes and asks him what he can do to make him happy. Diogenes replies, get out of my sun.
Alexander says, if I were not Alexander, I’d wish to be Diogenes. Diogenes replied, if I were not Diogenes, I’d want to be Diogenes.
Diogenes is looking through bones. Alexander asks what he is looking for. Diogenes says he is looking for the bones of Alexander’s father, but he can’t distinguish his bones from those of slaves.
Diogenes invites Alexander to join him. Alexander says he has things to do. Diogenes says what does he want to do.
Alexander says, he wants to conquer Persia. Diogenes says, and then what?
Alexander says, he wants to conquer India. Diogenes says, and then what?
Alexander says, he wants to raise children and leave a legacy for them so they can rule the different parts of the Empire he will create. Diogenes says, and then what?
Alexander says, he would then settle down and enjoy the river, the sun.
Diogenes says, why don’t you skip all that stuff and go right to the enjoying of the river and the sun?
Alexander and Diogenes are said to have died on the same exact day. Alexander was 36. Diogenes was 89 or 90.
Diogenes wishes for his bones to be tossed over the city walls for the dogs to get. He also requests a cane to beat back the dogs. Someone asks him why, if he is not an aware person anymore, would he need a cane? Diogenes replied that this is why he doesn’t care what happens to his body after he dies.
The city of Corinth created a statue commemorating Diogenes in the form of a dog.
Born 55 AD
Died 135 AP
He was born a slave in Hierapolis in Phyrgia.
He died in Nicopolis, in Achaea.
He was greatly influenced by Diogenes and referred to him as being “divine” in his Enchiridion (which in Greek means handbook).
He wrote nothing of his own, but rather his teaching were written down by Arrian. The two collections of teachings are the Discourses and the Enchiridion.
He grew up as a slave in Rome. His master was a wealthy freedman who was also a secretary to the Emperor Nero.
Early in life, he became crippled. A story by Origen goes like this-
Epictetus’ master was pulling on his leg in an awkward way. Epictetus calmly told his master that his leg was not meant to be moved in that manner. His master continued, and sure enough, he broke his leg. Epictetus replied with indifference, I told you so. The story is meant to show how much of a stoic Epictetus had become. He made an effort to prevent his leg from being broken, but since it was broken through means beyond his control, he did not give much care as to the outcome.
Around 68 AD, after Nero’s death, Epictetus was granted his freedom. He continued to teach philosophy in Rome until 93 AD, when Domitian banished philosophers from Rome. Epictetus then went Nicopolis in Epirus, where he would spend the rest of his days.
There he founded a school of philosophy. Inspired by the Cynics, especially Diogenes, Epictetus lived a simple life. He had few possessions. He also had few friends.
Epictetus recommended that you whisper into your child’s ear that he or she was going to die tomorrow, because by doing so you were detaching yourself from the child and allowing that they could easily die.
While more anecdotes survive of Diogenes than of Epictetus, more writings based on Epictetus’ teachings survive.