A Conversation with Diogenes of Sinope, Or, A Humorous Strike at the “Modern” Self

 

Diogenes (the philosopher and the true Sinopian): “He has the most who is most content with the least.”

I (a Sinopian by soul): Oh, you Honorable Diogenes of Sinope – however poorly esteemed you may have been during your lifetime, I am a true admirer.  Forgive me for my ignorance: Had you intended your pronouncement to be a gender-sensitive one?

Diogenes: ?

I: In other words, gender-neutral?

Diogenes: ?

I: (What on earth am I talking about? Back to his century! Fast!)

You can’t see that far but I am a woman.  One of those creatures whom Alexander the Great had offered you, among other necessities of your desire.  (Oh no, it is so very demeaning for me to talk like this…) You, however, only wanted him to step out of your sunlight.

Diogenes: I know women. Never needed one by my side but I know.  Go on!

I: I am honored to come from a long line of Sinopians but the only Sinopian I have known to have almost coveted to lead a life as you have, was a man as well.

Diogenes: As accepting and as understanding the inhabitants of Sinope may be today, a life on the streets, solely living on bare necessities and staying in constant public eye is not for you.

I: So I see.

Diogenes: Something lies heavy in your heart, I sense.  What is it?

I: My mind gets filled with advice on how to live.  I respect the past of thinkers like you with highest regard and try to heed the teachings.

Diogenes: As long as you leave out any words of abstract nonsense from Plato and Aristotle!

I: No, oh no.  I was going to mention Democritus and what he is known to have said.

“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.”

Diogenes: Good, that’s good.  Whom else have you been listening to?

I: His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

Diogenes: ?

I: He exists in my century and a very well known statement of my time comes from him.

“The very purpose of our life is Happiness.”

Diogenes: Hmm.

I: Is there something the matter, you Honorable Diogenes of Sinope?

Diogenes: I must and shall think about this.

I: Dalai Lama has spoken out countless words on “happiness” and those always bring me back to yours.  As His Holiness is living proof.

Diogenes: I see.  But still, what is “happiness” to us is utmost important because we all can have a different definition of it. Democritus’ words, for instance, use “possessions” and “gold”.  What possessions? What gold? For me, it was owning nothing, being in nature, living free and unplanned.  Like dogs. With dogs, whenever necessary.

I: Just like the “tarzan” of Sinop? Again, of my century. In fact, I had the rare opportunity to witness him  in person several times from nearby.

Diogenes: You say he is all the way from your century and from my birthplace?  Now, that I find interesting. Tell me about him.

I: First, here is a picture of Sinoplu “tarzan” (I hope he would have forgiven me, had he lived, for using the attribute he is said to have disliked so):image.

Diogenes: ?

I: Oh, picture.  We now have paintings of you, which are similar to pictures. To better imagine how you may have looked.

Diogenes: He looks good. Like me.

I: Yes, I would agree, you Honorable Diogenes of Sinope. And here is an article on his life and death,  Sinop’un Simgesi Tarzan Kemal.  He is said to have disliked the nickname “tarzan” the Sinopians had attributed to him.  He had no house, only possessions of survival value, fed the dogs of the town and beyond, respected nature.

Diogenes: (article? I better let this one slip. I still have to find food for tonight, and feed the dogs.  This woman is full of words I haven’t ever heard before. If I ask her this one too, this conversation will never end…) If he had, indeed, lived helping the dogs, respecting nature, refusing material possessions, then, you are right in seeing in him a piece of me. But what is that with him supposedly having fallen in love with his family’s maid, and out of that unfulfilled love, having acquired his now widely known lifestyle?

I: We, Turkish people, love melancholy more than anything else, is what I think.

Diogenes: Turkish?

I: Do forgive me, you Honorable Diogenes of Sinope!

Diogenes: Turkish?

I: A mere slip of the tongue…

Diogenes: All I said was,

I: (I can’t believe I am interrupting the Great Cynic Diogenes…) Yes, yes. “He has the most who is most content with the least.”

Diogenes: How, then, did we end up here with this conversation?

I: I called upon you.  Because of my prolonged concerns.  My time in my society is about having more and more material possessions, living in large homes, and sometimes, I can’t help but find myself at a loss with these expectations.

Diogenes: What did I say? He has the most who is most content with the least.

I: But then, there are some people who are content with basic necessities.  And when they do resort to a life “with the least”, they become a viral hit.

Diogenes: ???

I: (Oh my, I did it again…) I beg for your forgiveness, you Honorable Diogenes of Sinope.  They are then somewhat known, is what I meant to say.

Diogenes: Can you tell me something about them?

I:  Certainly. Here are the links of …

Diogenes: (links?)

I: some who have been downsizing

Diogenes: (downsizing?)

I: Honorable Diogenes, I am afraid we are losing the connection.

Diogenes: (connection?)

I: May we, please, continue this conversation on Skype?

Diogenes: ???

~ ~ ~

I: “He has the most who is most content with the least”?  I wonder what he meant by that…

(TO BE CONTINUED…WITHOUT THE GREAT DIOGENES, IMAGINED OR NOT)

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