Philosophy & Poetry’s Ancient Quarrel
Greek philosopher Plato is accredited with proffering that “No human thing is of serious importance”
I’d like to think he opined this moments before a tantrum at a Athenian waiter, the consequence of his halibut béarnaise had been delivered slightly undercooked. I picture a very public tirade in the renowned Uncle Terry’s bistro, situated over the road from the Acropolis souvenir shop.
Realistically, though, it is unlikely the pivotal figure in the development of Western philosophy would cause a scene in a public eatery…… Unless, of course, his favourite mackerel dish was cooked against his wishes, then he’d no doubt ‘lose it’ big style.
A resulting mood of such magnitude it fuelled not only anger in Uncle Terry’s bistro, but also the scattering of fridge magnets, key rings and tea towels as the tantrum continued into the souvenir store.
So what was the granddaddy of the philosophical written word trying to tell us when he ventured that “No human thing is of serious importance”?
My interpretation is he was extolling was a 400 BC manner of telling people to ‘Get over yourselves’. Raising the awareness that all is important is your existential being (and well cooked mackerel), everything else is superfluous padding during our journey on this mortal coil.
That being said, though, what do I know about philosophy? A subject in which my many knowledge voids are interspersed with my readings from Barnsley theologian Frank Thacklethwaite’s book ‘Socrates Talked Out of His Arse!”
A tome of cynicism, distain and negativity about all things philosophical. A book without one endearing feature, apart from its price of 79p at an out of town recycled goods store.
The foreword to the book is penned by Imelda Marco’s shoe juggler, Herman Klunge. An ill-thought out literary piece of prose of tabloid quality, rendered unworthy of acclaim by its unnecessary vitriolic jibes.
How a man with the calming job of juggling footwear could bear such hate is beyond me…… Although, I suppose the sheer number of Imelda’s shoes must have made this a tad straining for Klunge!
Anyway, I openly admit I make my own interpretations of philosophy and theology from questionable sources. Thacklethwaite’s theories are at best flawed and at worst completely misinterpreted, spitefully and vindictive.
An example of the authors negativity was the scathing words he wrote on Plato’s musing that ‘Philosophy is the highest music.’ The South Yorkshireman decrying the Classical Greek’s words on the basis of being unable to find this ‘highest music’ on iTunes!……. Berk!
Plato also proffered “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”
If that’s the case then, as this is near the end of the work, I take that as being given carte blanche to write any old bollocks down from now on!……. Although, to be fair I probably have been since the beginning!
In all seriousness, from my limited knowledge of philosophy, there are many literary epiphany’s that perhaps we’d do well to adhere to. My own particular favourite is one from Bernard Tubshaw, a Classical Greek theologian colleague of Plato. He taught us:-
“If it’s not right, don’t do it…….. If it is right, do it!…….. If it’s slightly right, do the slightly right stuff!…….. If its mostly right, avoid the stuff that isn’t right!………. If you’re not sure if its right, don’t do it!……… If you think it’s right but aren’t sure, ask a policeman!…….. If you can’t find a policeman, ask Frank the butcher!……… If you’re a vegetarian and don’t want to ask Frank the butcher, try Bert the baker!…….. If Bert the baker is non the wiser, take some personal responsibility you dithering fool!”
Admittedly, it doesn’t roll fluently from the tongue or bear the erudite markings of Plato’s words of wisdom. Nevertheless, though, they are words well worth adhering to!….. Or possibly not!!