Epictetus - Cynic Quotes
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Others may fence themselves with walls and houses, when they do such deeds as these, and wrap themselves in darkness—aye, they have many a device to hide themselves. Another may shut his door and station one before his chamber to say, if any comes, He has gone forth! he is not at leisure! But the true Cynic will have none of these things; instead of them, he must wrap himself in Modesty: else he will but bring himself to shame, naked and under the open sky. That is his house; that is his door; that is the slave that guards his chamber; that is his darkness!
But in the present condition of things, which resembles an Army in battle array, ought not the Cynic to be free from all distraction and given wholly to the service of God, so that he can go in and out among men, neither fettered by the duties nor entangled by the relations of common life? For if he transgresses them, he will forfeit the character of a good man and true; whereas if he observe them, there is an end of him as the Messenger, the Spy, the Herald of the Gods!
Ask me, if you choose, if a Cynic shall engage in the administration of a state.... Ask you if a man shall come forward in the Athenian assembly and talk about revenues and supplies, when his business is to converse with all men, Athenians, Corinthians, and Romans alike, not about supplies, not about revenue, not yet peace and war, but about Happiness and Misery, Prosperity and Adversity, Slavery and Freedom?... what greater government shall he hold than he holds already?
The true Cynic must know that he is sent as a Messenger from God to men, to show unto them that as touching good and evil they are in error; looking for those where they are not to be found, nor ever bethinking themselves where they are. And like Diogenes when brought before Philip after the battle of Chæronea, the Cynic must remember that he is a Spy. For a Spy he really is—to bring back word what things are on Man's side, and what against him. And when he has diligently observed all, he must come back with a true report, not terrified into announcing them to be foes that are no foes, nor otherwise perturbed or confounded by the things of sense.