A Note On the Cynic Short Cut To Happiness

A Note On the Cynic Short Cut To Happiness 183 A NOTE ON THE CYNIC SHORT CUT TO HAPPINESS the Cynics 1). It is also probable that this is the source of the characteristic- ally Cynic notion of "the short cut to happiness" ó80ç S7r' C68mt- woviav) 2). The terminology is found applied literally to a short cut and implies that it is an alternative to a longer and more circuitous route 3). In Xenophon's account, however, the actual nature of the road is mentioned briefly, viz., the road to &pc<fi and true happiness requires Tc6vog and È7t'L[J.ÉÀtL<X whereas the short and easy road leads to xaxia. This is completely reversed in Cynic thinking and the dilemma is minimised. It is not so-much a question of one' "' road leading to xocxnx and another to but rather, since e68ocLtlovcoc is the objective, whether a circuitous and perhaps easier path is to be pre- ferred to a shorter and more direct one. In Dio Chrysostom 4), Xenophon's description is reversed and amplified. The path to fi ?(XcrLÀe:LOÇ 6Expoc is safe and broad while the path to ? <vpavvix% &xpa is narrow, crooked and difficult, whereas in Xenophon it is the road to virtue which is difficult and long. In Dio, true fiaJixcla and rupocvvLq are sitting on twin peaks at the end of the roads and the figure of Hermes is added, whereas in Xenophon, virtue and vice are both the and the ends themselves. In this respect Dio harks back to Hesiod and Simonides who have virtue living among crags "difficult of approach" 5). In Lucian, Xenophon's image is reversed too, but for an entirely different reason. At the end of both roads resides Rhetoric e). For his satirical purpose, however, the explicit mention of false rhetoric is suppressed-Lucian's purpose is to show the true road by a complete reversal of values. The rough road, steep and narrow, involving much effort and surrounded by sharp rocks is rejected; the shorter pleasant approach, on which the seeker after Rhetoric is accompanied by an effeminate man (who is pictured in much the same terms as the personified xaxia in Xenophon), is accepted in the satire as the right road. In the letters of the pseudo-Diogenes 7) we find an elaborate description of what is probably genuine Cynic thought 8). Letter 30 describes the ap- 1) For a maximum account of Antisthenes' contribution to the Memo- rabilia see A.-H. Chroust, Socrates, Man and Myth (London, 1957) and Diog. Laert. VI 16, 18, 104, 105. 2) It is not impossible to regard this as a tenet of early Cynicism (cf. F. Sayre, Diogenes of Sinope, Baltimore, 1938, 106) since we find mention of a short route in Xenophon (Mem. II 1, 29). The break between this and our later references may be due to the decline in popularity of the Heracles figure, that Ragnar Hoistad ascribes to the vulgarisation of early Cynicism (Cynic Heyo and Cynic King, Diss. Uppsala, 1948, 49-50). Our later refer- ences occur in Plut. Amat. 759 D; Diog. Laert. VI 104; Ps-Diog. Letters 12, 30, 37, 44; and in a satirical form in Lucian Vit. Auct. 11 ; Rhet. Paed. 3. 3) Hdt. 1 185 ; IV 136, and Ar. Ran. 123. 4) loc. cit. 5) Hesiod Op. 286 ff., and Simonides, Fr. 37 (Diehl). 6) Rhet. Paed. 3 ff. 7) R. Hercher, EpistolograPhi Graeci (Paris, 1873). 8) Although these letters belong to imperial times (cf. W. Capelle, De Cynicorum Epistulis, Diss. Göttingen, 1896), there seems to be no reason to doubt that at this point they describe elaborately, early Cynic teaching. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Mnemosyne Brill

A Note On the Cynic Short Cut To Happiness

Mnemosyne, Volume 18 (1-4): 183 – Jan 1, 1965
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Brill
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© 1965 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
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0026-7074
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1568-525X
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10.1163/156852565X00188
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Abstract

183 A NOTE ON THE CYNIC SHORT CUT TO HAPPINESS the Cynics 1). It is also probable that this is the source of the characteristic- ally Cynic notion of "the short cut to happiness" ó80ç S7r' C68mt- woviav) 2). The terminology is found applied literally to a short cut and implies that it is an alternative to a longer and more circuitous route 3). In Xenophon's account, however, the actual nature of the road is mentioned briefly, viz., the road to &pc<fi and true happiness requires Tc6vog and È7t'L[J.ÉÀtL<X whereas the short and easy road leads to xaxia. This is completely reversed in Cynic thinking and the dilemma is minimised. It is not so-much a question of one' "' road leading to xocxnx and another to but rather, since e68ocLtlovcoc is the objective, whether a circuitous and perhaps easier path is to be pre- ferred to a shorter and more direct one. In Dio Chrysostom 4), Xenophon's description is reversed and amplified. The path to fi ?(XcrLÀe:LOÇ 6Expoc is safe and broad while the path to ? <vpavvix% &xpa is narrow, crooked and difficult, whereas in Xenophon it is the road to virtue which is difficult and long. In Dio, true fiaJixcla and rupocvvLq are sitting on twin peaks at the end of the roads and the figure of Hermes is added, whereas in Xenophon, virtue and vice are both the and the ends themselves. In this respect Dio harks back to Hesiod and Simonides who have virtue living among crags "difficult of approach" 5). In Lucian, Xenophon's image is reversed too, but for an entirely different reason. At the end of both roads resides Rhetoric e). For his satirical purpose, however, the explicit mention of false rhetoric is suppressed-Lucian's purpose is to show the true road by a complete reversal of values. The rough road, steep and narrow, involving much effort and surrounded by sharp rocks is rejected; the shorter pleasant approach, on which the seeker after Rhetoric is accompanied by an effeminate man (who is pictured in much the same terms as the personified xaxia in Xenophon), is accepted in the satire as the right road. In the letters of the pseudo-Diogenes 7) we find an elaborate description of what is probably genuine Cynic thought 8). Letter 30 describes the ap- 1) For a maximum account of Antisthenes' contribution to the Memo- rabilia see A.-H. Chroust, Socrates, Man and Myth (London, 1957) and Diog. Laert. VI 16, 18, 104, 105. 2) It is not impossible to regard this as a tenet of early Cynicism (cf. F. Sayre, Diogenes of Sinope, Baltimore, 1938, 106) since we find mention of a short route in Xenophon (Mem. II 1, 29). The break between this and our later references may be due to the decline in popularity of the Heracles figure, that Ragnar Hoistad ascribes to the vulgarisation of early Cynicism (Cynic Heyo and Cynic King, Diss. Uppsala, 1948, 49-50). Our later refer- ences occur in Plut. Amat. 759 D; Diog. Laert. VI 104; Ps-Diog. Letters 12, 30, 37, 44; and in a satirical form in Lucian Vit. Auct. 11 ; Rhet. Paed. 3. 3) Hdt. 1 185 ; IV 136, and Ar. Ran. 123. 4) loc. cit. 5) Hesiod Op. 286 ff., and Simonides, Fr. 37 (Diehl). 6) Rhet. Paed. 3 ff. 7) R. Hercher, EpistolograPhi Graeci (Paris, 1873). 8) Although these letters belong to imperial times (cf. W. Capelle, De Cynicorum Epistulis, Diss. Göttingen, 1896), there seems to be no reason to doubt that at this point they describe elaborately, early Cynic teaching.

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MnemosyneBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1965

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