There was a time when I thought Socrates was a badass. He questioned the authority. Yeah! Damn the Man! He’s the father of Of Greek thought. Of modern philosophy. Of modern science…? Why not! He probably invented sliced bread. And oral sex. Everybody loves Socrates! He’s soooo cooool.
I wanted to be Socrates when I grew up. I dressed as Socrates for Halloween. I learned to read and write Greek and even once touched a 3,000 year old parchment! Okay no I didn’t, but I had a dream once that I did.
Then I lived, for a time, in an enclave of intellectuals, pseudo-Socrateses you might say.
Now the enclave, they were all right. But being around them helped me finally realize that Socrates was an asshole and a coward and basically just smart enough to be fucking stupid.
First, my charge of assholery. Picture this situation: you’ve done a hard day’s work at your jewelry store. Sold some diamond rings to some happy couples. Maybe you sold two necklaces to a guy, one bought with cash, the other with his credit card (you figure it out). Spent some time hunched in front of a CAD program, designing a mount. Maybe it’s near the forge, which has to reach temperatures of over 3300 degrees to melt platinum. Not very pleasant. Makes you sweaty and tired.
But that’s okay. You do what you do because you enjoy creating beauty and you enjoy being able to put food on your table.
Now as you’re locking the store up, some random fellow calling himself Socrates pops up and starts questioning what you do: “What practical purpose does jewelry have?” “How are you adding to society?” “Couldn’t you be doing something better with your wealth?” “How much money is enough?” And so on and so forth.
You’re a decent person so you decide to humor him, “Jewelry is symbolic and beautiful and it holds value through time.”
"Ah," says Socrates, "But does not true beauty result when form follows function? As in a bird soaring through the air, aerodynamic and...