Anatomy of desire

Diogenes the Cynic lived in a barrel. When Alexander the Great asked him: ‘What can I do for you?’, he replied: ‘Please step out of my sun’.

Diogenes could have asked for anything — wealth, power, fame. But he chose to sit in the sun. What a fabulous example of philosophical asceticism!

Philosophers through the ages agree that to change ourselves for the better, we must get a grip on our desires. Does this mean limiting our desire, desiring less? Perhaps it simply means distinguishing good and bad desires — desiring those things that make us happy and healthy and rejecting the contrary.

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