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Find me one honest man

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Diogenes of Sinope

By: Dick Hirsch September 2, I was thinking about Diogenes the other day. No, not that Diogenes—not the one who runs that popular Greek restaurant and sells that remarkable rice pudding. Yes, he is a newsworthy character, but I was thinking of his namesake, the original Diogenes, the historical figure.

You know Diogenes, right? It was such a noble effort and ended in such a dismal failure. Diogenes spent his life searching for an honest man. We have an image of him prowling the streets of Athens and out in the countryside, holding his lantern high in a fruitless quest for an honest man.

He was a Greek philosopher, a cynic, and he paid little attention to the basic elements of a normal life. He begged for alms, relying on the charity of others. Most importantly, he carved for himself an enduring niche in history by trekking through cities and villages in a valiant and unending search for an honest man. What would Diogenes find today? Would his lantern be extinguished, a rueful admission that his was an impossible quest?

Whom do we trust today? There are some honest folk, or are there? In my youth I had a boss who repeatedly attempted to convert me with his philosophy. He never convinced me, although I learned not to trust him and always wondered whether he trusted me. Throughout history, an endless cavalcade of political candidates has contributed to the erosion of public confidence in those who seek or hold public office.

It is a situation that transcends borders; the U. As a group they long ago lost the confidence of the public. The public is eternally suspicious of their motives. We vote for them but have little faith. The current presidential campaign has provided an unrelenting barrage of unproven charges. Newspapers and networks have been trying to keep pace with the rhetoric and enumerate the many assertions that have no basis in fact.

One of the candidates has proven to be a true fabulist. Fabulism pervades areas other than politics. In many cases corporate bosses are undone by greed and criminal behavior. The plight of the clergy is stunning. Where once there was infinite trust, now there is lingering suspicion. In education, some teachers inflate grades while others sleep with students.

Those are just some of the most visible trouble spots. Life is more complicated than centuries ago when Diogenes embarked on his mission.

Are there fewer honest men today? That is a question that is easy to ask in a situation like this, but impossible to answer. Were Diogenes alive today, some may wonder how that dauntless Greek would rank us if we encountered him while shopping at the mall.

To obtain permission to reprint this article, call or email rbj rbj. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, numerous local businesses have stepped up to help each other and the underserved Scaling down conference room capacity, installing touchless sensors and increasing the height of work-station dividers are among the practical applications FuzeHub, a nonprofit organization that provides manufacturers with programs and resources, has awarded eight collaborative projects through the Jeff Lawrence Would Diogenes find an honest man today?

He died without finding one. So the question remains: In whom do we place our trust? Dick Hirsch is a longtime contributor to the Opinion page. Dick Hirsch. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.

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By: Dick Hirsch September 2, I was thinking about Diogenes the other day. No, not that Diogenes—not the one who runs that popular Greek restaurant and sells that remarkable rice pudding. Yes, he is a newsworthy character, but I was thinking of his namesake, the original Diogenes, the historical figure. You know Diogenes, right?

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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. He modelled himself on the example of Heracles , and believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his simple lifestyle and behaviour 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.

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I f asked to identify important topics for a new journal on national affairs, few of us would think first — if at all — of the humanities and their condition in American life today. The sorry state of elementary and secondary education would surely make the list, as might the need to improve scientific literacy and technological competence, so that, as we are often told, America may remain "competitive" in the globalized economy and high-tech world of tomorrow. Attention might be invited also to political correctness in college classrooms or campus restrictions on free speech. But the larger and more important educational issue of what college students should be learning and why — and especially in the humanities — is a subject below the radar for nearly everyone. It was not always thus.

Diogenes of Sinope fourth century BC is too irascible a character not to share some anecdotes about him from the compendium of Diogenes Laertius on the lives of the philosophers.


Diogenes the Cynic


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Looking for an Honest Man


Jul 11, - Plato said that the best type of ruler was the ideal dictator, however because power corrupts the ideal dictator can't exist. His idea of a good  2 answers.


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