Thursday, July 12, 2007

Plato paraphrased

As much as Socrates is my Superman, this spoof of The Republic (Digested) on the Philosophers' Magazine blog was too good to not split my sides with laughter:
A funny thing happened on the way to the agora. I bumped into that Socrates. He was having a chat about justice with all and sundry.
“I bet you know all about that!” asked Polyasskiss.
“I know nothing at all,” replied Socrates. “Which actually makes me considerably cleverer than you.”
“Now, to justice. Do you think justice is simply the most powerful getting their way?”
“Of course.”
“You’re wrong.”
“Anything you say, Socrates.”
“You’re all wrong because you’re like monkeys brought up in a cave who don’t know the difference between reality and shadows.”
“I’m a monkey brought up in a cave who doesn’t know the difference between reality and shadows.”
“That’s why you should be ruled by philosophers.”
“But aren’t philosophers rubbish politicians who end up getting condemned to death?”
“How simple and foolish you are, my simian friend. The fact that philosophers get killed rather than crowned kings proves how suited they really are to rule.”
“Ahhhh! I get it! Actually, I don’t.”
“Well, think of it like this. Take a vertical line, divide it in two, one third of the way down, then divide each of the remaining parts further into two according to the same ratio. Call the top segment intelligence, the next one reason, the next one belief and the last one total cobblers. Is that clear?”
“Certainly Socrates.”
“Now, a just person is like a just state.”
“What do you mean?”
“I was just coming to that.”
“Sorry. I just wanted to keep the pretence of a dialogue going.”
“What I mean is, you can make all sorts of analogies between things and if you do it cleverly enough you can build a whole philosophy on dubious comparisons and no one will notice.”
“God, you’re wise.”
“I’m not God, my friend, but yes, I’m very, very wise, but also ignorant, so therefore supremely modest really.”
“Is this chat going to go on much longer? I’ve got some shopping to do.”
“Every person has an excellence and they should stick to doing what they do well. We’re men and no one talks crap better than us. So leave the shopping to wives and slaves.”
“I think that more or less sums it up, Socrates.”
“Now, come back tomorrow and I’ll explain why somewhere in the heavens there is a perfect form of the kebab.”

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