Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fewest words: Looking for an honest soul

You have heard of Diogenes, I presume. Just to refresh your memory, he was a Greek philosopher and a founder of the "Cynic" school of thought. Among his beliefs was the notion that virtue is best revealed through action as opposed to theory. He was critical of those elements and people within his society he thought to be corrupt. He begged for food and slept in a tub in the marketplace of Athens. (A bit extreme, do you not think? A love seat for a bed is difficult enough.) He carried a lamp in daytime, explaining that he was searching for one honest man. (Actually, I am doing that, too. But, looking for one honest woman is more my style.) If you wish to know more, do a bit of research on your own time and tell me what you think. This painting reveals Jean-Leon Gerome's vision of Diogenes in his tub surrounded by some of the more honest residents of Athens around 361 BCE. To complete the record, Gerome was a 19th Century French painter and sculptor, who completed this work in 1860. I think this painting is marvelous, and I say that not only as a cynic, but also as a skeptic and a misanthrope. (Or whatever; English majors like flowery language.) I almost forgot. I think we are finished with comments for January 2012. Time is up. Clock has expired. Game is over. Take care.

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