Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Socrates in the Atheosphere

[Note: Some historians have claimed that Socrates was born on June 4. Oddly enough, on his birthday, I discovered this unheard-of dialogue in an old jar of stuffed grape leaves I had sitting on my shelf.]

Socrates: Greetings, Evo. What brings you to the marketplace today?
Evo: My feet do Socrates.
Socrates: LOL, Evo. But, nay. I mean why do you come here?
Evo: It’s another day in paradise, my friend. The sun is shining, and so I thought to betake myself outdoors.
Socrates: I agree with you, Evo. The sun is indeed shining. But does it not also shine when there are clouds? Or does the sun cease to shine on such a day? Does the sun disappear when we cannot see it?
Evo: No, of course not. The sun never disappears.
Socrates: Then it always shines?
Evo: Yes, scientifically that is true.
Socrates: And yet, you make a distinction between a clear day on which the sun shines and a nasty day on which the sun shines. Is that not the case?
Evo: Well, maybe I should have said it was a beautiful day.
Socrates: And can you then, Evo, tell me what beauty is? How can I know that this day is a beautiful one? By what standards am I to judge?
Evo: I can tell you only my own standards, Socrates. Yours might be different.
Socrates: So are you saying that there is no way of judging beauty? Your idea of beauty is different from mine?
Evo: Well, of course, Socrates.
Socrates: I win this round, Evo.

* * *
But wait a moment. Who is that with you? It is Sigho, if I’m not mistaken.
: Yes, Socrates, it is indeed I. I’m glad I found you.
Socrates: I assume you have a question for me, then?
Sigho: I would like to change the look of my blog, Socrates. What do you recommend?
Socrates: You have tried Popeye already?
Sigho: Yes, Socrates. But I tired of him.
Socrates: And ghouls? Have you tried them?
Sigho: I did indeed, Socrates. Even before Popeye.
Socrates: And a naked woman?
Sigho: That’s what I have now, Socrates. A good-looking naked woman.
Socrates: And do good-looking naked women not please you, Sigho? For if they do not, there’s plenty of guy-on-guy action in the agora.
Sigho: I am sufficiently pleased by good-looking naked women.
Socrates: But you would like to get rid of this particular naked woman?
Sigho: Yes.
Socrates: Is she beautiful by your standards?
Sigho: I think so.
Socrates: Is she more or less beautiful than Evo’s day?
Sigho: I think she might make Evo’s day even more beautiful.
Socrates: And yet, you would remove this beautiful image?
Sigho: As I said, Socrates, I’m tired of it.
Socrates: So you are tired of beauty then?
Sigho: No, Socrates, not beauty in general. Just this particular beauty.
Socrates: And yet you would like your blog to look beautiful?
Sigho: Certainly.
Socrates: Before picking another beauty, would you consult with Evo to find out his standard?
Sigho: I might.
Socrates: And you know, don’t you, that Evo thinks a sunny day is beautiful?
Sigho: Yes.
Socrates: So should you not use the image of a sunny day on your blog?
Sigho: I had something else in mind.
Socrates: And what was that?
Sigho: I’m not sure.
Socrates: But it will be beautiful?
Sigho: To me.
Socrates: But you won’t know whether it’s beautiful to your readers, because everyone has a different standard of beauty. Is that right?
Sigho: What you say is so, Socrates.
Socrates: And yet, it is to attract readers that you’d have a beautiful image at all. Am I correct?
Sigho: Yes.
Socrates: And at least one of your readers has declared that he thinks a sunny day is beautiful?
Sigho: Evo has, yes.
Socrates: Well, I win that one, too.
* * *
But, look. That’s Phillitus, if my eyes deceive me not. I recognize the headdress and the red hair and the general oversized appearance.
Phillitus: Just so, Socrates. It is I.
Socrates: And you, Phillitus? For what reason have you come to this place?
Phillitus: Why, to seek you out, Socrates.
Socrates: Me?
Phillitus: Yes, Socrates. I was hoping you could answer a question I have. Why is it that when I barbecue chicken my team always loses?
Socrates: Do you have a particular chicken in mind?
Phillitus: No, Socrates. I mean any chicken.
Socrates: The idea of “chicken” then.
Phillitus: Exactly.
Socrates: But surely, Phillitus, you do not barbecue an idea. For that would not be sustenance enough for an ant.
Phillitus: No, Socrates, I barbecue particular chickens.
Socrates: And are these chickens beautiful?
Phillitus: Not to my standard of beauty, Socrates.
Socrates: And when you have barbecued these particular non-beautiful chickens, your team has lost?
Phillitus: Yes.
Socrates: But there may, may there not, be some beautiful chicken that you might barbecue which would not result in a loss by your team. Do you agree?
Phillitus: That has not been my experience with chickens, Socrates.
Socrates: Are you saying, then, that you have barbecued every single chicken there is?
Phillitus: Certainly not.
Socrates: Well, I would suggest that you try some beautiful chickens to see if your hypothesis stands.
Phillitus: But I don’t want my team to lose, Socrates.
Socrates: You don’t get what I’m saying, do you? Well, I win this round. Three points for me so far.
* * *
But, say. Who is that sourpuss skulking around in the distance? Can it be Owlas?
Owlas: Socrates, as you know, Obammas is running for the council.
Socrates: Yes, I’ve been told that.
Owlas: I do not want to vote for him. He speaks nonsense sometimes.
Socrates: What kind of nonsense.
Owlas: Why, religious nonsense, Socrates.
Socrates: Then why not vote for his opponent.
Owlas: I believe his opponent speaks even more nonsense, which is not merely religious in nature.
Socrates: So, according to you, both Obammas and his opponent speak nonsense, but Obammas less so. And only in one area.
Owlas: Yes. But it’s still too much nonsense for me.
Socrates: Are either of the candidates beautiful?
Owlas: I do not vote on the basis of beauty, Socrates.
Socrates: But you must make a choice for the good of Athens, mustn’t you?
Owlas: I shall vote for myself.
Socrates: And by doing so, you hope to win?
Owlas: No, Socrates, my vote will be a protest against two poor choices.
Socrates: Will anyone know that you have protested?
Owlas: I, myself, will know that I have protested.
Socrates: And your protest which only you will know about, is that sufficient to get your message across?
Owlas: I sincerely doubt it, Socrates. But I refuse to put up with nonsense. I think if enough people knew my position, they would, indeed, vote for me.
Socrates: Are you beautiful?
Owlas: I don’t believe so, Socrates.
Socrates: Assuming that you are not beautiful, what kind of barbecue does your team prefer?
Owlas: I don’t have a team, Socrates. I don’t follow sports.
Socrates: If you did follow sports, what kind of barbecue do you think your team would prefer?
Owlas: I have no opinion about that, Socrates. I don’t usually eat barbecue.
Socrates: Well, if you did follow sports, and if you did eat barbecue, what kind of barbecue do you think your team would prefer?
Owlas: I can’t say, Socrates. I lack knowledge of teams and I lack knowledge of barbecue.
Socrates: So white male workers are not likely to vote for you, are they Owlas?
Owlas: Probably not.
Socrates: That’s another point for me, wouldn’t you say?


PhillyChief said...

Phillitus: You know what I think would be beautiful, Socrates?
Socrates: A sunny day?
Phillitus: No, Socrates.
Socrates: A naked woman?
Phillitus: Well that depends on the woman, but that's not what I'm thinking of at the moment
Socrates: A sensible candidate?
Phillitus: Look just shut up and I'll tell you
Socrates: But why would you ask me if- hey, what are you doing?
Phillitus: What I think would be beautiful is kicking your...
Socrates: AAAAHHHHH!!!
Phillitus: Well, I guess I won that one. Hey Sigho, Evo and Owlas, you want a piece of this guy, too? I'm doneth.

Lynet said...

Oh, that's beautiful!


Seriously, that was great fun to read.

I remember -- still -- that once upon a time you promised me an explanation of why the worth of a work of art is not entirely subjective. Is there the beginnings of a response up there?

Anonymous said...

Ah! The agora!

I had an uncle who did what Owlas is thinking of once.

His mother-in-law happened to be a poll watcher, and found out that he was a write in. She told her daughter and expressed a certain disappointment and chagrin that this was recorded publicly.

My aunt was a woman whose temperment was of a likeness to that which Ol' Soc's wife is reputed to have had, and she made his life, well, interesting for several months after that civic exercise.

Anonymous said...

Phillitus: But how will I know that my chicken is beautiful?
Socrates Begone, pervert.

Ex: You have a great mind. Strange, but great.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Do 4 points = a Stermy?

Anonymous said...

What does Socrates have against chickens? They're pretty good with parmigiana and tomato sauce, although veals are far better.

Paul C said...

Brilliant, although I could have used more beautiful women. And possibly some grilled vegetables instead of barbecue chicken. But these are minor points where quality philosophy is concerned.

The Exterminator said...

Well, if it isn't the Argument from Violence. I don't remember that being mentioned as a category in Aristotle's observations on Rhetoric. But maybe that's why he got beat up so often.

At some point I will post on the objective standards for judging art. For the time being, though, I'd like to retain my readership.

When you first mentioned the agora, I thought you were going to tell us that you knew Socrates personally.

You have a great mind. Strange, but great.
I'm not sure if the people I know would agree with your first premise. But I'm certain they'd agree with your second.

A Stermy can't be measured in points. If it could be, though, I'd give Socrates one in a heartbeat.

If I interpret his words correctly, Socrates has nothing against chickens -- as long as they're beautiful. I, myself, have seen a few beautiful chicken parmigianas in my time as well as one or two beautiful chicken piccatas and at least a handful of beautiful chicken cacciatores. But I do agree that veal, is more beautiful. However, don't you dare barbecue any chicken if you want Philly's team to win.

Yeah, I could have used more beautiful women myself, perhaps adorned in vegetables. Life's too short, isn't it?

Venjanz said...

Thought you would like this since you dig birds:


John Evo said...

Socrates sure is in to winning.

Ex said: For the time being, though, I'd like to retain my readership


The Exterminator said...

Great photo. Thanks.

All right, I'll be honest: I meant you.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering...if one is bitten by an unvaccinated agora, is it possible to contract agoraphobia? How would it be treated?

The Exterminator said...

You leave the wound exposed to the open air.

Anonymous said...

Sarge: What kind of needle would you use to vaccinate an agora? And does the vaccination need to be done when the agora is young? or can a mature agora be vaccinated?

Anonymous said...

I'd give worlds to know, (((billy))), that's why I asked.

It's like mountain pies: how big a pan and oven do you need? What's the best cut off the mountain?

No one but our friend Owlas seems to know...

The Exterminator said...

The best cuts off the mountain are the tips.

A mature agora can be vaccinated, but you should do it immediately without any stalling. The shots are relatively inexpensive; you can buy them at any drug stoa.

John Evo said...

Ex said: Evo:
All right, I'll be honest: I meant you.

Hi. I'm Maria. I'm just fucking around on my dad's laptop.

The Exterminator said...

Nice to know you. I'm glad you're fucking around on your dad's laptop and not on his lap.

Maybe you'll raise the quality of conversation around here. No god knows, we can use a fresh face. Judging from your dad's icon, his face rotted away quite some time ago.

So how fresh is your face?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great laugh, guys. Haven't had a lot to laugh at lately and I sure needed a good one.

Wife told me that when I was done laughing my ass off, please pick it up and put it in it's proper place, I'm a grown man and she's tired of me leaving anatomical parts lying about.

The Exterminator said...

I'm a grown man and she's tired of me leaving anatomical parts lying about.

Well, just make sure you don't lose your head. And watch your tongue.