50 Diogenes Quotes From The Cynical Philosopher

Diogenes, known as Diogenes the Cynic or Diogenes of Sinope, was a Greek philosopher, and one of the founders of the Cynic philosophy. He was arguably the funniest figure ever to be considered a serious philosopher. Here are the best Diogenes quotes that will give you a unique perspective on life and philosophy.

Born in Sinope, Diogenes was a very controversial figure. He was exiled or fled from Sinope for the debasement of currency (or maybe his father did it; it’s unclear) and shifted to Athens.

Diogenes lived a simple and ascetic life, rejecting societal norms and material possessions. He criticized the values and customs of Athenian society.

Choosing to live in a large ceramic jar or pithos in the marketplace and begging for a living, Diogenes challenged the conventional ideas of wealth, power, and social status.

He perhaps became famous for carrying a lantern during the daylight searching for an honest man but claiming to never find one. It was his way of exposing the hypocrisy and sham of polite societal conventions.

He did not hesitate to criticize prominent figures like Socrates, Plato, and Alexander the Great. His interactions with them were often filled with sharp wit and philosophical irreverence.

In response to Diogenes’ unconventional approach, Plato referred to him as “Socrates gone mad.” His fellow Athenians nicknamed him as “the Dog” because he ate discarded food scraps and hilariously barked at those who passed by.

Despite his unconventional life and absurd behavior, his teachings emphasized self-sufficiency, virtue, and living in accordance with nature.

Here are the best Diogenes quotes about love, life, and social status from the man who believed in living a simple life.

Top 10 Diogenes Quotes

  1. “It takes a wise man to discover a wise man.” — Diogenes                              

    Diogenes Quotes
    Diogenes Quotes
  2. “He has the most who is most content with the least.” — Diogenes         

    Famous Quotes By Diogenes
    Famous Quotes By Diogenes
  3. “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” — Diogenes  

    Diogenes of Sinope Quotes
    Diogenes of Sinope Quotes
  4. “One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings.” — Diogenes  

    Best Diogenes Quotes
    Best Diogenes Quotes
  5. “Of what use is a philosopher who doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings?” — Diogenes   

    Diogenes Funny Quotes
    Diogenes Funny Quotes
  6. “It is not that I am mad, it is only that my head is different from yours.” — Diogenes  

    Quotes From Diogenes
    Quotes From Diogenes
  7. “Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards.” — Diogenes
  8. “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” — Diogenes
  9. “It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.” —  Diogenes
  10. “If only it was as easy to banish hunger by rubbing the belly as it is to masturbate.” — Diogenes

Famous Quotes By Diogenes

  1. Modesty is the color of virtue.” — Diogenes
  2. “A friend is one soul abiding in two bodies.” — Diogenes
  3. “Man is the most intelligent of the animals – and the most silly.” — Diogenes
  4. “Other dogs bite only their enemies, whereas I bite also my friends in order to save them.” — Diogenes
  5. “We come into the world alone and we die alone. Why, in life, should we be any less alone?” — Diogenes
  6. “People who talk well but do nothing are like musical instruments; the sound is all they have to offer.” — Diogenes
  7. Education gives sobriety to the young, comfort to the old, riches to the poor and is an ornament to the rich.” — Diogenes
  8. “You will become a teacher of yourself when for the same things that you blame others, you also blame yourself.” — Diogenes
  9. “Wise kings generally have wise counselors; and he must be a wise man himself who is capable of distinguishing one.” — Diogenes
  10. “Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice.” — Diogenes

Diogenes of Sinope Quotes

  1. “Poverty is a virtue which one can teach yourself.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  2. “Most men are within a finger’s breadth of being mad.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  3. “Young men not ought to marry yet, and old men never ought to marry at all.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  4. “Wise leaders generally have wise counselors because it takes a wise person themselves to distinguish them.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  5. “To become self-educated you should condemn yourself for all those things that you would criticize others.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  6. “He pointed to a certain Corinthian with a fine purple border to his robe… and said, “Sell me to this man; he needs a master.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  7. “When two friends part they should lock up each other’s secrets and exchange keys. The truly noble mind has no resentments.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  8. “If you are to be kept right, you must possess either good friends or red-hot enemies. The one will warn you, the other will expose you.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  9. “The noblest people are those despising wealth, learning, pleasure, and life; esteeming above them poverty, ignorance, hardship, and death.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  10. “To arrive at perfection, a man should have very sincere friends or inveterate enemies; because he would be made sensible of his good or ill conduct, either by the censures of the one or the admonitions of the other.” — Diogenes of Sinope

Diogenes Quotes

  1. “I pissed on the man who called me a dog. Why was he so surprised?” — Diogenes
  2. “The only way to gall and fret effectively is for yourself to be a good and honest man.” — Diogenes
  3. “The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust.” — Diogenes 
  4. “If I gained one thing from philosophy is that at the very least, I am well prepared to confront any change in fortune.” — Diogenes
  5. “To one who asked what was the proper time for lunch, he said, ‘If a rich man, when you will; if a poor man, when you can.’” — Diogenes
  6. “I am searching for the bones of your father [Alexander the Great‘s father] but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave.” — Diogenes
  7. “As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task.” — Diogenes
  8. “I have nothing to ask but that you would remove to the other side, that you may not, by intercepting the sunshine, take from me what you cannot give.” — Diogenes
  9. “Those who have virtue always in their mouths, and neglect it in practice, are like a harp, which emits a sound pleasing to others, while itself is insensible of the music.” — Diogenes
  10. “No man is hurt but by himself… Literally by how he interprets what happens to him. If he focusses on how it could have been better, he will be hurt. If he focusses on how it could have been worse, he will be happy. The same is true for women too.” — Diogenes

Funny Diogenes Quotes

  1. “The art of being a slave is to rule one’s master.” — Diogenes
  2. “I know nothing, except the fact of my ignorance.” — Diogenes
  3. “The great thieves lead away the little thief.” — Diogenes of Sinope
  4. “Why not whip the teacher when the pupil misbehaves?” — Diogenes
  5. “What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others.” — Diogenes
  6. “In a rich man’s house there is no place to spit but his face.” — Diogenes
  7. “I am Diogenes the Dog. I nuzzle the kind, bark at the…” — Diogenes of Sinope
  8. “Even if I am but a pretender to wisdom, that in itself is philosophy.” — Diogenes
  9. “I am Diogenes the Dog. I nuzzle the kind, bark at the greedy and bite scoundrels.” — Diogenes
  10. “I am called a dog because I fawn on those who give me anything, I yelp at those who refuse, and I set my teeth in rascals.” — Diogenes


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