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

Vytis Valatka


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.


Ancient Greek Cynicism; surplus of pleasures; principle of flywheel; radical temperance; mild temperance; reduction of consumption; contemporary society

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236