The first philosopher to outline these themes was Antisthenes, who had been a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BC. He was followed by Diogenes of Sinope, who lived in a tub on the streets of Athens. Diogenes took Cynicism to its logical extremes, and came to be seen as the archetypal Cynic philosopher. He was followed by Crates of Thebes who gave away a large fortune so he could live a life of Cynic poverty in Athens. Cynicism spread with the rise of Imperial Rome in the 1st century, and Cynics could be found begging and preaching throughout the cities of the Empire. It finally disappeared in the late 5th century, although some have claimed that early Christianity adopted many of its ascetic and rhetorical ideas.
Cynical Philosophy as expressed on LemuriasEdit
Cynicism is one of the most striking of all the Hellenistic philosophies. It offered people the possibility of happiness and freedom from suffering in an age of uncertainty. Although there was never an official Cynic doctrine, the fundamental principles of Cynicism can be summarised as follows:
- The goal of life is Eudaimonia and mental clarity or lucidity (ἁτυφια) - freedom from τύφος (smoke) which signified ignorance, mindlessness, folly and conceit.
- Eudaimonia is achieved by living in accord with Nature as understood by human reason.
- τύφος is caused by false judgments of value, which cause negative emotions, unnatural desires and a vicious character.
- Eudaimonia or human flourishing, depends on self-sufficiency (αὐτάρκεια), equanimity, arete, love of humanity, parrhesia and indifference to the vicissitudes of life (ἁδιαφορία).
- One progresses towards flourishing and clarity through ascetic practices (ἄσκησις) which help one become free from influences – such as wealth, fame, or power – that have no value in Nature. Examples include Diogenes' practice of living in a tub and walking barefoot in winter.
- A Cynic practices shamelessness or impudence (Αναιδεια) and defaces the Nomos of society; the laws, customs and social conventions which people take for granted.
The Cynic way of life required continuous training, not just in exercising one's judgments and mental impressions, but a physical training as well:
- [Diogenes] used to say, that there were two kinds of exercise: that, namely, of the mind and that of the body; and that the latter of these created in the mind such quick and agile impressions at the time of its performance, as very much facilitated the practice of virtue; but that one was imperfect without the other, since the health and vigour necessary for the practice of what is good, depend equally on both mind and body.
None of this meant that the Cynic would retreat from society. Cynics would in fact live in the full glare of the public's gaze and would be quite indifferent in the face of any insults which might result from their unconventional behaviour. The Cynics are said to have invented the idea of cosmopolitanism: when he was asked where he came from, Diogenes replied that he was "a citizen of the world, (kosmopolitês)."
The ideal Cynic would evangelise; as the watchdog of humanity, it was their job to hound people about the error of their ways. The example of the Cynic's life (and the use of the Cynic's biting satire) would dig-up and expose the pretensions which lay at the root of everyday conventions.
Although Cynicism concentrated solely on ethics, Cynic philosophy had a big impact on the Hellenistic world, ultimately becoming an important influence for Stoicism. The Stoic Apollodorus writing in the 2nd century BC stated that "Cynicism is the short path to virtue."
With some exceptions, it seems that Cynics are druids. Philosophical Cynics are trained in the Druid class and take druid levels and get druid spells.