August 7: My Dinner With Socrates


Some dolmades, Socrates? Spanakopita? They have a retsina here that will make your eyes pop asymmetrically...I'm sorry, what?:

For the body is a source of endless trouble to us by reason of the mere requirement of food; and also is liable to diseases which overtake and impede us in the search after truth: and by filling us so full of loves, and lusts, and fears, and fancies, and idols, and every sort of folly, prevents our ever having, as people say, so much as a thought.
Just the hemlock for you, then. You know when they say, "name your poison," it's only an expression, right? Are you sure, though? I mean, it's your last meal, you ought to have something you can enjoy.
How singular is the thing called pleasure, and how curiously related to pain, which might be thought to be the opposite of it; for they never come to a man together, and yet he who pursues either of them is generally compelled to take the other.
I suppose that's true; when I have some of the baklava here, it goes straight to my hips. Speaking of desserts, it appears that you're a big fan of pie in the sky in the sweet by and by:
For I am quite ready to acknowledge... that I ought to be grieved at death, if I were not persuaded that I am going to other gods who are wise and good (of this I am as certain as I can be of anything of the sort) and to men departed (though I am not so certain of this), who are better than those whom I leave behind...
"Better than those you leave behind?" I can't say but I resemble that remark, especially when I'm so looking forward to the lamb shank (which I had them roast using the Socratic method), and you're in such a Puritanical mood. I know, it's the hemlock talking, but still:
In this present life, I reckon that we make the nearest approach to knowledge when we have the least possible concern or interest in the body, and are not saturated with the bodily nature, but remain pure until the hour when God himself is pleased to release us. And then the foolishness of the body will be cleared away and we shall be pure and hold converse with other pure souls, and know of ourselves the clear light everywhere...
Look, I've been in line at Disneyland, so I know well that the body is often no prize, but I wish you wouldn't be hating on it so much. What if you find out that your Olympians have been replaced by three cheap Middle Eastern guys ? I'll see if I can get them to bring over a heat lamp; you seem cold.

You like this place? Epicurus told me about it.

2 comments:

Lisa Simeone said...

Well, all I have to add to that is: ἔχεις μοι εἰπεῖν, ὦ Σώκρατες, ἆρα διδακτὸν ἡ ἀρετή; ἢ οὐ διδακτὸν ἀλλ' ἀσκητόν; ἢ οὔτε ἀσκητὸν οὔτε μαθητόν, ἀλλὰ φύσει παραγίγνεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἢ ἄλλῳ τινὶ τρόπῳ.

Delicious said...

I'm sorry, I don't speak jive.