Know Your School of Athens Philosophers: Old man Antisthenes

7:00 AM

Raphael, School of Athens, 1509

Gathered under grand arches are the greatest minds of history, all making witty jokes and sharing schools of thought, having such a wonderful time -  except for one man. On the far left, behind the stunning girl in the white robe and beside the sassy Alexander the Great, there is an old man, hands in his sleeves, just listening. Though no one quite knows for sure, this man is rumored to be the great Antisthenes.

Antisthenes believed solely in the power of Virtue. After meeting Socrates, Antisthenes eschews all pleasures and materialism and chooses to live in poverty. This is not a revolutionary concept, many people chose to abandon desire in order to live fully, but Antisthenes argues that Virtue alone is sufficient for happiness.

In his school, Antisthenes has eight laws of virtue.  My favorite, however, is the last one "The wise person knows who are worthy of love, and so does not disdain to love." I hope to one day be wise enough to decide who is "worthy of love," for I am one who hates to love and does not do so very easily. I am not much of a gambler.

Standing under grand arches in the School of Athens, Antisthenes quietly watches, filled to the brim with virtue and the ease of love, as the greatest minds in history mingle. Under his breath he requests "May the sons of your enemies live in luxury."

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