DIOGENES THE CYNIC: Philosophy Goes To The Dogs!

Diogenes believed that NATURE, not social convention, showed the way to a virtuous life.

DIOGENES THE CYNIC: Philosophy Goes To The Dogs!

written by Fred Van Lente drawn by Ryan Dunlavey colored by Adam Guzowski

Script for Action Philosophers: Diogenes


Panel 1: DIOGENES THE CYNIC (scroll down) waves at us to open up this story. “Cynic,” as I’m sure you know, means “dog-like,” so I think you should draw ol’ Dio as a cartoon dog – I’m thinking a mangy bloodhound, like Gruff the Crime Dog. Except in a toga. 


BOTTOM COPY: The root of “CYNIC” is the Greek KUNIKOS, or “doglike.” How this philosopher from SINOPES earned that appellation is not hard to FIGURE OUT… 

Panel 2: A floating brain walks Diogenes (who is on all fours) while “holding” a leash. 

CAPTION: Diogenes believed that NATURE, not social CONVENTION, showed the way to a VIRTUOUS LIFE. 

DIOGENES: Unlike ANIMALS, the only LEASH a wise man needs to police his action and expression is his own REASON! 

Panel 3: Diogenes sits in his bathtub and scrubs himself. A mouse in a little bathtub nearby does the same. They wink at each other. (Diogenes didn’t actually live in a bathtub, but more in a giant urn that he turned on its side, but would that be as funny? No, I thought not.)

CAPTION: The cynics held ABSTRACT REASONING in total contempt – a philosophy had to be LIVED to be of any VALUE. 

CAPTION: And the key to good LIVING is SIMPLICITY-- Diogenes LIBERATED himself from the ownership of any POSSESSIONS. 

DIOGENES: “He has the MOST who is most CONTENT with the LEAST!” 

CAPTION: Observing a MOUSE needed no real shelter, he lived in a busted pithos, or TUB! 

Panel 4: In the middle of the Athenian MARKET, Diogenes sits in his bathtub and MASTURBATES to an ancient Greek porno mag (“Playmuse”) – the centerfold of which should cover up any X-rated bits. Regular Athenains run away from him in shock and horror. Or if that’s too hard, maybe just have him looking at the centerfold while eating a sandwich. 

CAPTION: Human customs CONFUSE nature’s path, so Diogenes RIDICULED tradition by continuously FLAUNTING his repeated VIOLATIONS of the same… 

ON-LOOKER: >Ugh!< He’s got no more SHAME than a STRAY DOG! 

CAPTION: …doing EVERYTHING in public, including drinking, EATING (etiquette no-no’s in ancient ATHENS) and even MASTURBATING in the marketplace! 

Panel 5: In one of his rare out-of-tub moments, Diogenes happens by an Athenian praying selfishly at an altar—covered in plates of food and jugs of wine as offerings. 

CAPTION: He also knew how to BARK at HUMAN FOLLY. 

ATHENIAN: PLEASE, Zeus, let me become RICH and FAMOUS… 

Panel 6: Diogenes practically bowls over the selfish supplicant with the force of his bark! The offerings on the altar get knocked over! 


DIOGENES: How dare you INSULT the gods asking for things that you THINK will make you happy…

DIOGENES: …when they have ALREADY given you EVERYTHING you need for HAPPINESS? 

DIOGENES: You may oppose bad luck with COURAGE, oppressive convention with NATURE, negative passion with REASON! 


Panel 1: In an Academy lecture hall, Plato addresses his class – Diogenes happens to pass by the window outside. 

CAPTION: PLATO, an ABSTRACT thinker who curried POLITICAL FAVOR, was Diogenes’ favorite CHEW TOY. 

PLATO: We may define a HUMAN BEING as an ANIMAL who is BIPEDAL and FEATHERLESS. 

Panel 2: Diogenes proudly deposits a PLUCKED CHICKEN in front of Plato at the table in the front of the hall. Plato is furious – his students crack up. 

DIOGENES: I ran into this HUMAN BEING outside, wise Plato… 

DIOGENES: …I wonder, could he pass the ENTRANCE EXAM for your ACADEMY? 

Panel 3: ALEXANDER THE GREAT appears over Diogenes’ tub while he tries to sun himself with a foil-covered board. The dog wears sunglasses. 

CAPTION: Not even ALEXANDER THE GREAT was safe from the cynic’s bite… 

ALEX: Many say you are the wisest man in ALL of Athens, Diogenes – even moreso than MY teacher, ARISTOTLE! 

ALEX: If you provide me with some USEFUL insight, I will grant you ANY boon you ask! 

Panel 4: Same shot: Alex listens to Diogenes. 

DIOGENES: What is your GREATEST DESIRE at the present time, Majesty?

ALEX: To conquer all of GREECE! 

DIOGENES: And after you have done THAT? 

Panel 5: Ditto.

ALEX: I plan to march on TURKEY! 


ALEX: Then the REST of the known world shall fall before my armies! 


Panel 6: Same shot: Alex has to think about that one. 

ALEX: Er… Well … I suppose AFTER THAT I will RELAX and ENJOY myself! 

DIOGENES: Then my piece of WISDOM for YOU, young man… 

Panel 7: Same shot: Alex smiles, humoring Diogenes. 

DIOGENES: …is to SKIP all that BOTHER and just start RELAXING and ENJOYING yourself RIGHT NOW! 

ALEX: >Heh!< You ARE clever, Diogenes. 

ALEX: What REWARD do you wish? 

Panel 8: Same shot: the punchline: Alex looks dismayingly at the reader. 

DIOGENES: Only for you to please stand a few inches to the LEFT.

DIOGENES: You’re blocking my SUN.

CAPTION: True story!