"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

Mar 31, 2009

Tell It Like It Is

Speaking Truth to Power

by J. R. Nyquist

Weekly Column Published: 03.27.2009

Diogenes the cynic was a Greek philosopher of the fourth century B.C. who walked the streets of Athens carrying a lamp in broad daylight. People asked what he was doing. He said, “I am just looking for a human being.” After Plato offered Socrates’ definition of humanity as “featherless bipeds,” Diogenes brought a plucked chicken to Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I have brought you a human being.” When captured by pirates and sold into slavery his new master asked what his trade was. “Governing men,” he replied, adding that he wished to belong to someone who needed a master. One morning, when Diogenes was basking in the sun, Alexander the Great came to see him. Wishing to do the philosopher a kindness, Alexander asked if there was any favor he could bestow. “Yes,” replied Diogenes. “Stand out of my sunlight.”

The integrity of Diogenes has much to do with his independence. He was not interested in advancing his career, winning the favor of princes, or making money. He didn’t flatter his teachers or the public. When he spoke, there was no reason to distrust what he said. He had nothing to sell, so he had no motive to flatter or manipulate. In today’s world we have become very comfortable buying and selling things. It is also our habit to say what is pleasing to our superiors. More and more, our culture emphasizes the necessity of having a career, of promoting oneself, of making money and impressing other people.

To be wise, to love wisdom, requires a different emphasis than that of today’s culture. It requires an emphasis on truth and clarity. To be successful today, to advance your career, truth and clarity aren’t always appreciated. Perhaps you have heard that the customer is always right. And everyone with common sense knows that the boss is right – because he is the boss. Despite our egalitarian pretenses, rank is an inescapable reality of human existence. And when rank and privilege are abused, when truth is disregarded, what is the underling to do? Should he, like Socrates, drink the hemlock? Alexander the Great admired the nobility of Diogenes, because Diogenes revered his own clarity and the truth above all mortal masters. The Macedonian said, “If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes.”



At 3:59 AM , Blogger JerseyCynic said...


Diogenes, my hero!

Nice post Mr. Nyquist

Sinclair said it best...

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

At 7:56 AM , Blogger Indigobusiness said...

Cousin Diogenes?

Nice quote. Money is the ring in bull nose of modern man.

At 7:09 AM , Blogger JerseyCynic said...

Yep - I'm pretty sure we're related. (I've even started barking at people) My Dad encompasses this outlook also)


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~There is no God and we are his prophets.~

-Cormac McCarthy-

Man is superior to the stars if he lives in the power of superior wisdom. Such a person being the master over heaven and earth by means of his will is a magus and magic is not sorcery but supreme wisdom



'The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them'.....'Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.'.....'In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.'.....'War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.' George Orwell

war is terror

Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasaGo with God and in Good Health

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