Lives And Opinions Of Eminent Philosophers Quotes

"I Am Looking For A Man"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Laertius' research into the lives of prominent ancients has a remarkable posterity. The latest Off-Broadway improvisation pictures a man going about with a lighted lantern in the daylight, looking in every corner, and coming up against another man who asks what he is doing. "Looking for an honest man," is the reply (and the common misquotation), to which the other responds, "What are you doing with my lantern?" The story is told also of Aesop in a life only recently translated from a first century manuscript. The earlier Diogenes, fourth century B.C., left his own country under a cloud of suspicion for debasing coins. He was the outspoken opponent of the Sophists and answered Plato with a different educational system based on the allaround man, with athletics as a prominent part. He is also remembered for his encounter with Alexander if the anecdote of his reply to the great ruler can be believed: when the king asked the sunbathing philosopher what he could do for him, Diogenes replied, "Stand out of my light."

. . . He used to call the demagogues the lackeys of the people and crowns awarded to them the efflorescence of fame. He lit a lamp in broad daylight and said, as he went about, "I am looking for a man."