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Temple of the Dog

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#1 Mope


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Posted 11 December 2019 - 03:37 AM

Let me tell you a story, about the "great cynic"; Diogenes of Sinope.

Diogenes was born in Sinope, a colony on the black sea. The son of a treasurer, a banker for the time period; his father minted coins. And as old world traditions were, he was expected to follow the path of his father and also become a minter of coins.

But Diogenes was never a "follower" of the laws of men, he had a rebellious nature. So, Diogenes took to the debasement of the currency that he was supposed to create. Smashed them with a chisel stamp rendering the coins worthless.

Eventually he was caught and banished from Sinope, lost all of his material possessions and his citizenship.

It is legend that after the fact Diogenes went to the "Oracle of Delphi" to seek advisement and she told him that he should "deface the currency". Having been exiled for doing just that, Diogenes took it as a metaphor that he should challenge the establishment and conventional methods of thought. And so he made it his life's mission to do just that and went to Athens.

When Diogenes arrived in athens he had a slave with him by the name of "Manes". Shortly thereafter, manes escaped. And when asked about it Diogenes just said plainly, "If manes can live without diogenes, then why not diogenes without manes?"

In Athens, Diogenes was attracted to the aesthetic teachings of the student of Socrates, Antisthenes. To live without the shallow pleasures and false materialism of men. At the time Antisthenes was an ornery ass old man, who when was pleaded by Diogenes to take on as a pupil instead beat him off of him with a walking stick.

To this Diogenes responded, "Strike, for you will find no wood hard enough to keep me away from you, so long as I think you've something to say."

Eventually, Antisthenes did take Diogenes on as his pupil who is said to have "dogged his every step like a loyal hound".

Diogenes believed that people were far too concerned with vanity, greed, codependence and a false sense of self importance. That the actions of a person should speak of virtue rather than just pretty words and ideas. He hardened himself to the environment, sleeping in a bigass wine jar that once belonged to a nearby temple.

Once after seeing a young, poor boy drinking from his own hands Diogenes destroyed the single wooden bowl that he owned; exclaiming,  "A child has beaten me in plainness of living!"

Diogenes had a fierce rivalry with the philosopher Plato and in opposition to his teachings of "elitist responsibility and classism" Diogenes would fuck with him, hard. One might call Diogenes the very first historical representation of a "troll". But he always did it with a purpose and conviction, to spread his teachings through his own actions.

Diogenes would sit in on Plato's lectures at his academy and eat, bringing attention to himself as a distraction to the material being taught and of Plato's endeavor to teach.

When Plato gave his definition of man as “featherless bipeds” and was much praised for the definition, Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I’ve brought you a man.” After this incident, “with broad flat nails” was added to Plato’s definition.

 After being confronted with the prospect of begging (which was how Diogenes lived) when Plato did not beg, “Oh yes,” said Diogenes, “he does, but when he does so ‘He holds his head down close, that none may hear.’”

Diogenes is famed for walking through town, in broad daylight carrying a lit lantern. When asked what he was doing he would say, "I'm looking for an honest man."

Let it be known that for a man so far ahead of his time (or perfectly in line with it as a matter of perspective) Diogenes was not without experiencing threats upon his life or freedom by the establishment. He just wasn't afraid of it.

He was once dragged away off of the street by King Philip; who then asked who he was to which diogenes responded, "I am a spy upon your insatiable greed".

Perdiccas threatened to put him to death unless he came to him to which diogenes said, "that's nothing wonderful, for a beetle or a tarantula would do the same".

When confronted with accusation of being insane, diogenes said, "it's not that I'm mad, my mind is just different from yours."

Eventually Diogenes left Athens by sea but was captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Corinth. When brought to the slave market, the slave auctioneer asked what he was good at; to which he responded cleverly, "in ruling men".

He then spotted a man in a gold trimmed, purple robe and said, "that man there looks as if he needs a master"!

That man is said to have been Xianedes who admired Diogenes audacity and sense of humor. Purchased him as a slave to tutor his two young sons.

It is said that Diogenes was loved by the family as one of their own and was granted his freedom or lived as a member of the family for the rest of his life. What is known is that he stayed in Corinth and was respected for his brilliance.

Now comes in Alexander The Great; who absolutely loved Diogenes. Why would one of the most powerful men throughout history respect and idolize a poor beggar, a slave at that?    Some things, no military might in the world could ever claim. No amount of riches could ever buy. And in that, diogenes was overflowing in wealth.

Maybe it was his audacity? His wisdom? His sense of humor? His ability to live by his convictions and speak through action?

I think it was a little bit it all, Diogenes was a diamond in the rough of a man, timeless; ingenious and wise.

Whatever it was, Alexander sought him out and their meeting was the stuff of legend.

Alexander approached Diogenes who was laying about, bathing in the sun and asked him, "Diogenes! Is there anything I can do for you??"

To which Diogenes answered in his smartassed fashion, "yes, you can get out of my sunlight."

When Diogenes was staring at a pile of refuse intently; Alexander asked him, "Diogenes, what are you looking at?"

To which he said, "I'm searching for the bones of your father but I cannot discern them among the bones of slaves."

Diogenes saw himself as a "cosmopolitan", or a "citizen of the world". He originated and coined the term when once asked where he was from.

He idolized the loyalty and simplicity of the common dog. As a matter of fact the term "critic" means "dog-like"  he said that all men should endeavor to be more like dogs.

"Other dogs bite only their enemies, whereas I bite also my friends in order to save them"

You would think that a man like Diogenes would end up in an early grave for being radically different and so outspoken in a time where men were bonded in chains, sold into slavery, and ruled by kings.

But no, not Diogenes; he died at the age of 90 by food poisoning, rabies from a dog-bite, or suicide by holding his breath.

When he was ill and dying you'd think his wit would fade in the face of death itself? Right? It didn't...

Diogenes was asked how he would like to have his body interred.

He didn't understand the question. "Leave me in the wilderness among nature where I belong"

When told that his body would most likely be ravaged by wild animals if left to exposure; he retorted, "Then give me a staff to fend them off!"

When it was explained to him that he would not have the awareness to use it or to fend off wild animals he responded, "Then it doesn't matter what you do with it, what is this fixation with dead bodies."

None of Diogenes writings survived the test of time, only his words and accounts of his peculiar actions conveyed from one person to another until written by other thinkers.

One thing did survive though, the debased currency. Of all of the things that a man like Diogenes could leave behind it was the valueless, defaced coins that were recovered as the only material artifact of his legend. And if that isn't some sort of cosmic irony then I don't know what is. Seems like even in death, Diogenes had to have the last laugh.

Not everyone can be rich or famous; heroes or legends. Nor should we really ever even want to be.

Alexander: "If I were not Alexander the Great I would wish to be Diogenes."

Diogenes: "If I were not Diogenes, I would wish to be Diogenes."

Greatness isn't in the material, it's not what's said in articulate language or flaunted in wealth. It's in the character and conviction of people.

So; if you ever have the choice between being Alexander the great or Diogenes, be Diogenes.

#2 Swordfish


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Posted 23 December 2019 - 10:20 AM

Are you fact fiend?

#3 Mope


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Posted 25 December 2019 - 05:11 PM

I don't think so; can't watch clips now but I'll look when I can.

I'm the redneck rumplestiltskin

#4 rudy the red-beaked reindeer

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 05:19 PM

When this was posted I researched temple of the dog, the eddie vedder band, but I forgot what I found. I believe there is no connection to diogenes and the title of this thread was a joke but I really can't remember.

#5 Mope


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Posted 27 January 2020 - 01:44 PM

You are right, I titled it as a reference to diogenes himself being known as "dog-like". "Temple of the dog" is supposed to be a play on words towards my reverence for Diogenes as such and an obscure reference to the 90s band of the same name which as far as I know has no correlation.

#6 Mope


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Posted 27 January 2020 - 01:51 PM

You know I had never heard of Diogenes until recently.

Then I read a little about him and got a fixation; "this guy is amazing" and the more I read the more I liked him.

He's probably my favorite philosopher now

I also read in a quote in an article somewhere that another philosopher of the time period referred to his methodology as: "stomping acrossed the temples of antiquity in muddy sandals"

Of course I'm paraphrasing from memory but it was pretty similar

And I immediately thought to myself: this son of a bitch is the philosophical rick james

Then started laughing because I envisioned some ornery old assed greek hobo half dressed in a toga stomping all over a palace floor in muddy sandals yelling, "fuck yo' couch"

#7 hukt own fonikz

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Posted 05 February 2020 - 04:59 PM

Temple of the Dog, the band, was named after a line in the Mother Love Bone song "Man of Golden Words."


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