While it is believed that Diogenes had a respectable body of written work, none survive today; only anecdotes about his life provide the source for his philosophy. As a Cynic, he protested against the artificial material comforts of society and called for a return to a simplistic life in harmony with nature. In perhaps the most famous anecdote about Diogenes, Alexander the Great, awed by the great philosopher, asked him what favor could he do for him. Diogenes only asked Alexander to step away, for he was blocking the sunlight. During a time when success was measured in material gains, he lived in destitute poverty. It was said that, as a young boy, he cast away his wooden bowl so that he could drink from his hands. During a time when one's social standing was intimately tied with one's city-state, he called himself a "citizen of the world" - a cosmopolite. As Diogenes lampooned the follies of man, he praised the virtues of the dog - indeed, the word cynic is derived from the Greek word meaning "dog." He himself was comparable to a dog, as he lived shamelessly - he often defecated and urinated in public, much to the chagrin of the people around him.
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