Socrates wanted to die – it was not Athens, it was he who handed himself the poison cup, who compelled Athens to hand him the poison cup… ‘Socrates is no physician,’ he said softly to himself: ‘death alone is a physician here… Socrates himself has only been a long time sick…’ Nietzsche, ‘The Problem of Socrates’ from Twilight of the Idols
In Plato’s Republic, Socrates compares Justice to the health of a body; excellence is not satisfaction but fulfilling a function to the best of one’s ability. Virtue is a quality, immanent but cultivated. Happiness is a doing word. The physician for the soul was the philosopher, the health of the (w)hole being, the
SOCRATES : I think its too much to call him ‘wise’, Phaedrus: only the gods deserve that label. But it would suit him better and be more appropriate to call him a lover of wisdom, or something like that. Plato, Phaedrus (278d)
Nothing escapes the gravitational pull of a black (w)hole – not even light. No one has ever actually seen a black hole, only inferred their existence; like no-one has ever seen the life after death. Yet everything dies, decomposes into atomoi… we are made from the stuff of nebulae, stars extinct.
Each and every philosopher presents a singular and stellar problem. Life and literature as a question without answer, a problem without solution, an unconscious striving (we are only conscious of the excess – man as conscious being is a conclusion) even for oak and rock (the Idea of rockness in rock – who would have thunk it?). But we shut them up – and rightly so, too: they don’t offer us anything anymore – we’re far too educated – our will to truth is too strong for all that superstition in our times: from the middle of our ages and onwards, eternity is an unreal notion. There is no time in a Newtonian physics. The Earth is no longer the centre of the infinite universe: it is the third rock from the sun and by the twenty-first century, a television sitcom import from the USA.
The end of our time is death. One can never see its moment as in possess it anymore than a man can know the joys of fatherhood, I mean, as a visceral experience like a woman knows the birthing of her child. Still, that death is mine. Birth – I’ve forgotten –
What a rest to speak of bicycles and horns. Unfortunately it is not of them I have to speak, but of her who brought me into the world, through the hole in her arse if my memory is correct. Samuel Beckett
– no-one else can die for me, its all mine, the only thing I wholly possess in the end. Even if I cannot concieve of it, comprehend its meaning, speak from experience.
Jesus is gonna be here, he’s gonna be here soon…
There, at the limit of reason, is our end and our resource. The proper conclusion for our fabulations and ruminations – Death, the physician for Socrates – how to die the good death? Agon – to cross swords with one’s self as other. From morning until night we prepare for it – have I wasted my day? I thunk to myself, writing the day down, keeping an account, inscribing a journal recording the events. Steady as a rock of the ages, stedfast in my belief in a god who only knows how to dance, who knows rhythm, spacing; transport (“We’re all here to go into space”) – inner dialectic is a con(-science) but real dialogue for the pros.
Thought occurs in the interaction – between spaces? No, the spaces in between singularities or haecceities, the event always involves an other. Spacing, tempo and nontempo, music and piping: the privileging of speech over writing at the limit. Jazz music involves the spaces in between the notes. Improvisation is the key. Spontaneity and open ‘systems’ are conditions for certain kinds of life to occur: a physics, art. The Gay Science. Unity and division as dialectics is a child’s toy…
Poor Socrates – he died from taking himself too seriously…