90 Quotes by Diogenes

Diogenes of Sinope, an eccentric and iconoclastic ancient Greek philosopher, epitomized a radical rejection of conventional norms and materialism. Known for his embrace of an ascetic lifestyle, Diogenes eschewed wealth, possessions, and societal conventions in favor of a simple and contemplative existence. He famously carried a lantern during the day, claiming to be searching for an honest man, underscoring his skepticism towards the moral integrity of his fellow citizens. Diogenes's teachings centered on self-sufficiency and the pursuit of virtue, challenging the prevailing philosophical currents of his time. His unapologetic commitment to a life guided by virtue and his willingness to challenge societal norms continue to inspire those who question the values and priorities of their societies.

Diogenes Quotes


Chilo advised, "not to speak evil of the dead." (Meaning)

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If I were not Diogenes, I would be wishing to be Diogenes. (Meaning)

I am Diogenes the Dog. (Quote Meaning)

He has the most who is most content with the least. (Meaning)

We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less. (Meaning)

I pissed on the man who called me a dog. Why was he so surprised?

If only it was as easy to banish hunger by rubbing the belly as it is to masturbate.

In a rich man's house, there is no place to spit but his face. (Quote Meaning)

Plato had defined Man as an animal, biped and featherless, and was applauded. Diogenes plucked a fowl and brought it into the lecture-room with the words, "Behold Plato's man!"

Fools! You think of "god" as a sentient being. God is the word used to represent a force. This force created nothing, it just helps things along. It does not answer prayers, although it may make you think of a way to solve a problem. It has the power to influence you, but not decide for you.

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.

He lit a lamp in broad daylight and said, as he went about, "I am looking for a human."

It is not that I am mad, it is only that my head is different from yours. (Meaning)

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I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world. (Meaning)

Education gives sobriety to the young, comfort to the old, riches to the poor and is an ornament to the rich.

Blushing is the color of virtue. (Quote Meaning)

When Alexander the Great addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, Diogenes replied "Yes, stand a little out of my sunshine."

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice.

We come into the world alone and we die alone. Why, in life, should we be any less alone?

Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards. (Meaning)

There is only a finger's difference between a wise man and a fool. (Quote Meaning)

When I look upon seamen, men of science and philosophers, man is the wisest of all beings; when I look upon priests and prophets nothing is as contemptible as man. (Meaning)

Discourse on virtue and they pass by in droves. Whistle and dance the shimmy, and you've got an audience.

He was breakfasting in the marketplace, and the bystanders gathered round him with cries of "dog." "It is you who are dogs," cried he, "when you stand round and watch me at my breakfast."

Aristotle was once asked what those who tell lies gain by it. Said he - That when they speak truth they are not believed.

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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. (Quote Meaning)

Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? (Meaning)

He once begged alms of a statue, and, when asked why he did so, replied, "To get practice in being refused."

The foundation of every state is the education of its youth. (Quote Meaning)

We have complicated every simple gift of the gods.

You will become a teacher of yourself when for the same things that you blame others, you also blame yourself.

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

As houses well stored with provisions are likely to be full of mice, so the bodies of those that eat much are full of diseases.

Why not whip the teacher when the pupil misbehaves? (Meaning)

Man is the most intelligent of the animals - and the most silly. (Quote Meaning)

If your cloak was a gift, I appreciate it; if it was a loan, I'm not through with it yet.

On being asked by someone how he could become famous, Diogenes responded: 'By worrying as little as possible about fame

To the question what wine he found pleasant to drink, he replied, "That for which other people pay."

The art of being a slave is to rule one's master. (Meaning)

The mob is the mother of tyrants. (Meaning)

Young men not ought to marry yet, and old men never ought to marry at all.

When the slave auctioneer asked in what he was proficient, he replied, "In ruling people."

People who talk well but do nothing are like musical intruments; the sound is all they have to offer.

It takes a wise man to discover a wise man. (Quote Meaning)

The sun, too, shines into cesspools and is not polluted. (Meaning)

The question was put to him, what hope is; and his answer was, "The dream of a waking man."

If I lack awareness, then why should I care what happens to me when I am dead?

A friend is one soul abiding in two bodies. (Meaning)

Aren't you ashamed, you who walk backward along the whole path of existence, and blame me for walking backward along the path of the promenade?

Wise kings generally have wise counselors; and he must be a wise man himself who is capable of distinguishing one.

To become self-educated you should condemn yourself for all those things that you would criticize others.

Virtue cannot dwell with wealth either in a city or in a house.

We are more curious about the meaning of dreams than about things we see when awake.

No man is hurt but by himself. (Meaning)

The Sun visits cesspools without being defiled.

The most beautiful thing in the world is freedom of speech. (Meaning)

Even if I am but a pretender to wisdom, that in itself is philosophy.

One day, observing a child drinking out of his hands, he cast away the cup from his wallet with the words, "A child has beaten me in plainness of living."

He was seized and dragged off to King Philip, and being asked who he was, replied, "A spy upon your insatiable greed."

When two friends part they should lock up each other's secrets and exchange keys. The truly noble mind has no resentments.

To arrive at perfection, a man should have very sincere friends or inveterate enemies. (Meaning)

When asked what was the proper time for supper: If you are a rich man, whenever you please; and if you are a poor man, whenever you can.

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.

I do not know whether there are gods, but there ought to be. (Quote Meaning)

The only way to gall and fret effectively is for yourself to be a good and honest man.

I threw my cup away when I saw a child drinking from his hands at the trough.

Let us not unlearn what we have already learned (Meaning)

It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.

Calumny is only the noise of madmen.

The noblest people are those despising wealth, learning, pleasure and life; esteeming above them poverty, ignorance, hardship and death.

It was a favorite expression of Theophrastus that time was the most valuable thing that a man could spend.

There is a false love that will make you something you are not.

Poverty is a virtue which one can teach oneself. (Meaning)

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. (Meaning)

Being asked where in Greece he saw good men, he replied, "Good men nowhere, but good boys at Sparta."

Once he saw the officials of a temple leading away some one who had stolen a bowl belonging to the treasurers, and said, "The great thieves are leading away the little thief."

Lust is a strong tower of mischief, and hath in it many defenders, as neediness, anger, paleness, discord, love, and longing.

Democritus says, "But we know nothing really; for truth lies deep down".

Good men nowhere, but good boys at Sparta.

When some one reminded him that the people of Sinope had sentenced him to exile, he said, "And I sentenced them to stay at home."

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.

Wise leaders generally have wise counselors because it takes a wise person themselves to distinguish them.

Nothing can be produced out of nothing. (Meaning)

Asked where he came from, he said, "I am a citizen of the world." (Quote Meaning)

Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad. (Meaning)

The health and vigor necessary for the practice of what is good, depend equally on both mind and body.

The great thieves lead away the little thief. (Meaning)

What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others. (Meaning)

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.

Ability in man is an apt good, if it be applied to good ends.

Love comes with hunger.

― Diogenes Quotes

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