Fika (Fee-ka) is a Swedish word describing a mid-morning or mid-afternoon break in the day. It’s also a concept, a state of mind, an attitude. For more on fika, read my introduction here. Grab a cuppa and something sweet and delicious. Even better – do it with someone else. Enjoy the story. Let it be the beginning of a conversation – with someone else, or yourself. Head over to my website and leave a comment if you want to. Enjoy.
“Alexander and Diogenes” as told by E.H. Gombrich
Now when Alexander [the Great] appeared before the Greek leaders in Corinth they greeted him warmly and paid him lavish compliments – all of them, that is, but one. A funny fellow, a philosopher named Diogenes. He had views not unlike those of the Buddha. According to him, possessions and all the things we think we need only serve to distract us and get in the way of our simple enjoyment of life. So, he had given away everything he owned and now sat, almost naked, in a barrel in the market square in Corinth where he lived, free and independent like a stray dog.
Curious to meet this strange fellow, Alexander went to call on him. Dressed in shining armour, the plume on his helmet waving in the breeze, he walked up to the barrel and said to Diogenes: ‘I like you. Let me know your wish and I shall grant it.’ Diogenes, who had until then been comfortably sunning himself, replied: ‘Indeed, Sire, I have a wish.’ ‘Well, what is it?’ ‘Your shadow has fallen over me: stand a little less between me and the sun.’
Alexander is said to have been so struck by this that he said: ‘If I weren’t Alexander, I should like to be Diogenes.’
This story appears in E.H. Gombrich’s A Little History Of The World.To ponder:
Recall some experiences of the simple joys in your life and give thanks.
What steps could you take to further simplify your life in ways that would bring greater joy?
Have a good weekend.
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