Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jeremy Toombs writes

To Socrates

There is nothing like a chair.
I’d like to give Socrates
a Lay-Z-Boy. Here’s yr. chair
a bucket of fried chicken and a bottle
of whiskey. Need anything else?

1 comment:

  1. ocrates was an Athenian philosopher known chiefly through the accounts of his students Plato and Xenophon, commentary by Plato's student Aristotle, and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes and other satirists such as Mnesimachus and Ameipsias. He left behind no writings of his own.

    Perhaps his most important contribution is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method, first described by Plato in the Socratic dialogues. A problem is broken down into a series of strategic questions; eventually, this approach would lead to the development of the scientific method, in which hypothesis is the first stage. Socrates' use of the approach has given him his reputation as the father of political philosophy and ethics.

    But it is impossible to know how much of Socrates in the Dialgues is the "real" Socrates and how much the creation of Plato himself, a gifted poet-philosopher. Of course, much the same can be said of Shakespeare's "historical" characters or perhaps even such well-delineated figures in antiquity as King David. They seem authentic because of the mastery of their presentation.

    A very different figure emerges from his portrayal in THE CLOUDS, in which. Aristophanes lampoons his sophistry and his dirtiness. He is presented as the head of the Thinkery whose intellectual accomplishments include a new unit of measurement for ascertaining the distance jumped by a flea, the discovery that the trumpet-shaped rear of a gnat is the cause of its buzzing noise, and the application of a large pair of compasses to steal cloaks by lifting them over the walls of a gymnasium. (At his trial for corrupting the youth of Athens, Plato's Socrates claimed that the laughter of the theater was a harder task to answer than the arguments of his accusers.)

    It is no wonder that Jeremy would relish a spirited conversation with such a rollicking figure!


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