Thursday, February 22, 2007

Less Blurry Roses

"Now give me your help in drawing the conclusion that emerges from what we have agreed. It is good to repeat and contemplate fine things two or three times, they say..." Gorgias, 499.

Socrates drops that piece of homespun knowledge and in his use of it it is hard to think he is wholely serious because it is a flattery of a hostile person who has resisted entering into dialogue with him and he is suggesting that what this Callicles has said is fine when in fact he is about to bring before Callicles mind his contradiction- so he is to some extent drawing him in and tripping him up by his pride, it seems to me. But nevertheless, I like the saying, which Socrates carries around like a proverb. It can smack of being pat and assume more significance than it ought but I take it as a wise enough formulation of how we ought to pause with the good things, the fine things- the good, the lovely, the pure, the noble, etc.- and after the initial recognition make something of a conscious point of adverting to it again, or stopping there and going over it, savoring it, letting it sink in, giving it its due, not blazing by it like we were on our way somewhere better, seeing the roses in a blurr but not smelling them.

Side note: It is very interesting to see how much the character Callicles resembles Nietzsche in his argument. This has been observed by many apparently.

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