The Challenge of Ancient Cynics to Contemporary World: The Return to the Natural Virtue of Temperance Cover Image

Antikos kinikų iššūkis šiuolaikiniam pasauliui: grįžimas prie prigimtinės saikingumo dorybės
The Challenge of Ancient Cynics to Contemporary World: The Return to the Natural Virtue of Temperance

Author(s): Vytis Valatka
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Mykolas Romeris University
Keywords: Ancient Greek Cynicism; surplus of pleasures; principle of flywheel; radical temperance; mild temperance; reduction of consumption; contemporary society

Summary/Abstract: This article analyses the most important and interesting aspects of the Ancient Greek Cynicism: diagnosis of the main disease of Ancient Greek civilization and prescribed medicine for that malignant malady. The article also treats the relevance of that medicine to the modern form of above mentioned malady. The article begins with the Ancient Cynics’ severe criticism of the Antique Greece civilization. According to Cynics, civilization annihilates temperance – the main feature and essential virtue of human nature. Furthermore, civilization replaces temperance with surplus of pleasures, regarded as the state of dangerous disease. According to Cynics, there is only one remedy for this disease, namely, the return to the natural radical temperance. The only way leading to that is askesis, i.e. practice for both body and soul. The cult of pleasures is also an evident vice and disease of contemporary commodified civilization. The qualities of this civilization turn radical temperance of Cynicism into a too bitter tablet for the unduly squeamish stomach of a contemporary man. Meanwhile, considerably milder form of temperance, which could promote the sense of proportion in everything, could become a contemporary means of prophylaxis. Similarly, askesis of the Ancient Greek Cynics deprived of its radical dimension could become one of the possible ways to achieve the above mentioned sense of proportion.

  • Issue Year: 3/2011
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 1171-1180
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: English