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Lesson Ten Diogenes and Alexander Gilbert Highet
About the Author About the Text Text structure Word Study Detailed Discussion of the Text In-class Discussion Teaching Procedures
About the Author Gilbert Highet (1906—1978) was born in Glasgow, Scoltland, educated at Glasgow and at Oxford, and became a naturalized American citizen in 1951.He was known for his scholarly and critical writing.
About the Text Cynic and Cynicism ( 愤世疾俗者与犬儒主义 ) ： The Oxford English Dictionary describes a cynic as a person “ disposed to rail or find fault “ and as one who “shows a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions, and is wont to express this by sneers and sarcasm.” In short,the cynic is “a sneering fault- finder”
The ancient school of Cynicism was founded in the fourth century BC by Antisthenes. The Cynics urged both men and women to follow a way of life in harmony with nature and to reject all unnecessary civilized luxuries. They also rejected all social conventions,customs and laws.
Text Structure Part One(para.1-10) Description of Diogenes as a beggar, a philosopher and a missionary, his lifestyle and doctrine: Cynicism. Part Two(para.11-12) Description of Alexander the Conqueror, who was the greatest man of the time. Part Three(para.13-17) The dramatic encounter of the two, revealing that only these two men were the real free man in the world.
Word Study lunatic adj. sb who behaves in a crazy or very stupid way; a mad man word origin: Insanity was once believed to be controlled by the moon and its phases. Lunatic literally means “moonstruck”, subject to the changes of the moon, and comes from the Latin word luna,moon. Know sb: you are quite familiar with the person know of sb: you have been told or you have read or heard about this person.
mischievous adj. playing tricks on people or doing things to annoying or embarrass them e.g. a mischievous look/smile/trick a mischievous letter/rumor mischief n. mischief-maker: n. person who deliberately cause trouble or discord abuse n. : rude, angry, and offensive words
squatter: n. a person who lives in an empty building or on a piece of land without pay any rent. corrupt adj. very bad morally e.g. a corrupt society corruption: n. dishonest, illegal, or immoral behavior cask: n. a round wooden container used for storing wine or other liquids
satirize: vt. to use satire to make fun of people’s faults e.g. a play satirizing the fashion industry satire satirical convert: v [to] to change or make someone change their opinion, belief or habit. e.g. I have converted to decaffeinated coffee. convert sb to sth e.g. My daughter finally converted me to Gun ‘n’ Roses.
expound: vt. ~sth (to sb) (fml) explain or make sth clear by giving details e. g. He expounded his views on education to me at great length. doctrine: n. a belief or set of beliefs that form the main part of a religion or system of ideas. e.g. Marxist doctrine, the doctrine of predestination elaborate: adj. carefully worked out and full of details e.g. elaborate furniture/meals/plan/system/hairstyle
extravagance n. the act of spending a lot of money on things that are not necessary e.g. His extravagance explains why he is always in debt. extravagantly adj. procure v. ~ sth (for sb) to obtain sth, esp sth that is difficult to get e.g. The book is out of print and difficult to procure. procurement n.[u] (fml) e.g. the procurement of goods,raw materials, supplies,weapons
perishable: adj. easy to fall into decay if not kept under specific conditions. e.g. Perishable food should be stored in a refrigerator. perishables: n. [pl.] goods (esp food) which go bad or decay quickly, such as fish or soft fruit missionary: n. originally a person sent by a church to a foreign country to convert local people to Christianity Here: a person who feels that he has a mission or sacred duty to do sth
Word Study chivalrous: adj. 1) behaving in a polite, kind, generous and honorable way, esp towards women 2) (in the Middle Ages) showing the qualities of a perfect knight. chivalry n. [u] emulate: vt. ~ sb (at sth) (fml) try to do as well as or better than sb e.g. She tried to emulate her ealder sister at the piano. emulation n. [u] e.g. She worked hard in emulation of her elder sister.
Word Study paradox: n. a statement that seems impossible because it contains two oppositing ideas that are both true. e.g. “More haste, less speed” is a well known paradox. paradoxical adj. unanimous: adj. ~ (in) 1) all agreeing on a decision or an opinion e.g. The villagers are unanimous in their opposition to the building of a bypass. 2) (of a decision, an opinion,etc) given or hold by everybody e.g. The proposal was accepted with unanimous approval.
1. He had …done his business like a dog at the roadside, washed at the public fountain. (para. 1) He had emptied his bowels or passed water like a dog at the roadside. 2. He knew they were mad, each in a different way. (para. 1) He knew they were mad, each in a different way. Some were mad about money; some were mad about power; some were mad about sex. Detailed Discussion of the Text
3. He thought everybody lived far too elaborately, expensively, anxiously. (Para 2) He thought that our life is too complicated, too costly, and gives us too much pressure. He argues that we should simplify our life. 4. He was not the first to inhabit such a thing. But he was the first who ever did so by choice, out of principle. He was not the first to live in a cask. But he was the first who ever did so because he wanted to, based on a principle, and not by necessity, not because he was forced to. Detailed Discussion of the Text
5. But he taught chiefly by example. Diogenes also taught by talking to people, but he mainly taught by setting an example for others to learn from or using living people around him as his examples. Detailed Discussion of the Text
6. in order to procure a quantity of false, perishable goods he has sold the only true, lasting good, his own independence. In order to get a certain amount of material properties or worldly possessions which actually have no value and will not last, he has allowed himself to be controlled by these things and has given away his own independence which is the only thing that is true and can last. Detailed Discussion of the Text
7. his life’s aim was clear to him: it was “to restamp the currency”: to take the clean metal of human life, to …,to imprint it with its true values. (para 5) Diogenes is using the analogy of “restamping the currency” to mean the change of human values. Human life, in his opinion, is like clean metal, but marked with false values, and it is his intension to wipe out the false markings and print true values on it. Detailed Discussion of the Text
8. Diogenes answered “I’m trying to find a man.” He meant that all people he could see were only half men. Here the word “man” means a true man by Diogenes standard. 9. Diogenes took his old cask and began to roll it up and down…”I feel I ought to do something!” This shows Diogenes’s attitude towards war. He obviously thinks that war is silly. War is fought over land and other worldly possessions. Therefore it does not make any sense for people who do no care for these possessions. Detailed Discussion of the Text
10. Only twenty, Alexander was far older and wiser than his years. Alexander looked far older than a man of his age normally does, and was much wiser than a man of his age normally is the young prince slept with the Iliad under his pillow and longed to emulate Achilles,…Asia to ruin. Aristotle taught Alexander poetry. The young prince particularlly loved Homer’s poems, so much that he would sleep with the Iliad under his pillow and longed to follow Achilles’s example. His dream was to use his power for the exchange of Greek and Middle Eastern cultures. Detailed Discussion of the Text
12. “Yes,” Said the dog. “stand to one side. You are blocking the sunlight.” When Alexander asked Diogenes whether there was anything he could do for him, he of course was thinking of money, power, a job, a decent house or a warm garment. But Diogenes did not want any of these. What he wanted from the king was not to block the sunlight,not to interfere with his ife,not to stand in his way. Detailed Discussion of the Text
13. He understood Cynicism as the others could not. While ordinary people thought that Diogenes was either a lunatic or a beggar, Alexander understood him because he was also a philosopher in away, and that was why he later took one of Diogenes’s pupils along with him in his expedition to India as his philosophical interpreter. 14. He knew that of all men then alive in the world only Alexander the conqueror and Diogenes the beggar were free. Alexander thought that he was free because he had absolute power and Diogenes was free because he didn't’t need any power. Detailed Discussion of the Text
Diogenes’s encounter with Alexander 1). What does Diogenes mean when he says that Alexander is blocking his sun? 2). “He (Alexander) knew that of all the men then alive I the world only Alexander the conqueror and Diogenes the beggar were free?” Why? In-class Discussion
Read for Details: 1. “She smiled, he frowned.” Why? (para. 2) 2. What could Vera have seen in the man that made him not without attraction? (para 30) 3. Why do you think Vera sold the piano? (para 42) 4. “You are not going?” (para 53) a) Why did Vera suddenly begin to unbutton her collar again and draw down her veil? b) What had the man said to hurt her feelings? In-class Discussion
Read for Details 5. “It simply was that we were such egoists, so self-engrossed, so wrapped up in ourselves that we had not a corner in our hearts for anybody else.” Is this a pretty accurate description of the man himself? Do you think Vera is just like the man? In-class Discussion