About

parakratten to nomismata. Quite literally to change the currency. Diogenes of Sinope was a Cynic. A Greek philosopher that rejected all conventions, whether of religion, manners, housing, dress, or decency, advocating the pursuit of virtue in a simple and unmaterialistic lifestyle. Cynics have come to represent an attitude of jaded negativity. I do not wish to represent that aspect of Diogenes, but rather the idea that the crime with which he was accused was befitting the values or virtues he would later come to proclaim.

Diogenes was born the son of a banker.  He took up the family business, but had become embroiled in a scandal involving the defacement of currency.   There seems to be some corroborating evidence of defaced coinage in the 4th century BC, the motives of which may have been political rather than economical.  There is one story that has the Oracle at Delphi telling Diogenes to deface the currency. He was subsequently run out of town and found himself in Athens and is said to have become a disciple of Antisthenes, himself a pupil of Socrates.

Although he was accused of defacing “money”, it seems that with the virtues he practiced he altered the value.  Money had lost all intrinsic value.  Diogenes had taken to living in a large washtub instead of a house.  He begged for his food and sought simplicity in all things.  There was a story where he was drinking from a cup when he observed a child make a cup of his hand to drink water.  That was all he needed to throw away the cup.  Another story has Diogenes and Plato discussing that is he, Diogenes, would only learn to keep court with kings, he would not have to wash his food in the river.  To which he replied “If you would only learn to wash your food yourself, you would not have to keep court with kings.”

I have taken the philosophy of the virtues of Diogenes to assign value differently in life.  It is a work in progress.  We should all value our family and loved ones.  Our time should be used in teaching them what we feel are the innate values that benefit society and allow us all to live together peacefully.  To look after those that are unable and be the voice for those that cannot speak for themselves or lend to those that cannot be heard. Become that change you want to see. Give value to what is important.