Mice, he realizes, do not need a special place to live and sleep, and eat whatever they happen to find on their path. If mice could speak they could say what, according to an Arabic source, Diogenes once said when asked if he had a house : his house was wherever he could lie down to rest. Neither social distinctions nor elaborate philosophical systems have any significance in their lives. They are not encumbered by artificial and atavistic conventions, nor are they concerned about the past of the future, living always in the present moment and for the present moment. Thus Diogenes thought, mice live in a natural way and are, therefore, happier and more genuine than human beings, for which reason they deserve to be imitated and emulated. Accordingly, mice and the other animals should be our models of life and behavior, for they are invariably better and more authentic than the embarrassing specimens of humanity that we find everywhere, who have chosen to distance themselves as much us possible from the world of nature, and who have succeeded in constructing for themselves a world in witch neither rest nor happiness can be found.
Dogs, too, especially streets dogs, live in accordance
with nature. Independence, simplicity, the ability to adapt themselves
to changing circumstances, an absence of inhibition with respect to their
feelings and their physical needs, indifference concerning where and how
they live and what they eat, absolute honesty, freedom of speech—for they
bark whenever they please and at whom-ever they dislike – these are some
among the virtues or strengths that characterize the canine army, and these
are precisely the traits that Diogenes and his Cynic descendants admired
and found worthy of imitation. Why, then, should he have taken offence
when the Athenian rabble, unable to understand his mode of life, chose
to call him a Dog?