In Greek history, Diogenes of Sinope is considered one of the founders of the cynic philosophy. He was born in Sinope (modern-day Sinop, Turkey), an Ionian colony on the Black Sea, in 412 or 404 BCE and died at Corinth in 323 BCE.
Diogenes maintained that all the artificial growths of society were incompatible with happiness and that morality implies a return to the simplicity of nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, health, and fame, and by living a simple life free from all possessions.
Of course, embracing a cynical lifestyle and living a cynical lifestyle are two very different things, especially if one has the responsibilities of a family. But, I try to embrace this philosophy.
While I've personally rejected the ambitious societal desires for excessive wealth and fame and live very simply, I do maintain possessions, seek income, and worry about my health. I still bitch about the unethical, immoral, corrupt, and criminal behaviors that those societal desires create, but don't totally reject all conventional desires. You can't expect me to live in a cave or to eat chipmunk.
So, I guess you could call me a "Jack Cynic".
But did you know that there are actually some modern day cynics in your midst? I guess the Great Recession has made some people think about what's most important to them, money or freedom?
Meet Daniel Suelo. Suelo gave up on money in 2000.
One day he walked into a phone booth, pulled out thirty-dollars and left it. Twelve years later, Suelo still does not have a personal I.D., bank accounts, a modern home, an automobile, does not take government money, or live off of federal welfare. Suelo lives in caves in the canyon lands outside of Moab, UT., harvests wild foods, eats roadkill, and dumpster dives.
Suelo is not an isolationist though. He's still very active in the Moab community, SE Utah politics, and he is also an active blogger.
The American Who Quit Money To Live In A Cave from David Eckenrode on Vimeo.