Thursday, March 24, 2011

“Philosophical language about Sameness and Otherness lacks nuance. It is like using a shovel to turn a screw.”

Socrates and Sven continued to walk.
That morning the way was packed and the air cold. There was not a cloud in the sky; the sun seemed to bounce along the cold air. Day laborers walked by, their tools clinking at their sides in an awake rhythm, and their breath came out in white puffs. Women with head coverings as colorful as the fruit they bore in baskets carried between them, passed by.
Socrates: Look at them go. What do they know of one another?
Sven: Nothing. The laborer doesn’t trade his labor for fruit, instead they all go to a middle-man.
They entered a village. Streams of people surrounded them.
Socrates: Such a rude grown-up you’ve become Sven… What I was going to say is that they know much. They all know one another as beings derived from the same stuff, the same set of urges and emotions—the same blood the same flesh. Because of the big universal “man” that is all of them they are able to relate in amazing ways, in ways that make sense… In each of them lies the capacity of all. That’s why the meat seller there…(Socrates pointed to a skinny man with oriental features.)
Socrates: Can talk with… no… can marry, that woman. (Socrates pointed to a red haired European woman with a bucket of water on her head.
Sven: That’s unimportant. That’s banal stuff. What really matters, what really could make their lives better involves distribution of their products and it involves giving them a voice in city planning. Look at this market (Sven smiled, he felt he was playing Socrates game well) It is disorganized.
And in truth the market was—fruit next to chocolate next to wagon parts next to beer.
Socrates: Ah. You are much wiser than I, with your Empiricism and critique. You do not need a mentor.
And with that Socrates stepped back from the Way. Sven stepped forward. Socrates was gone amongst the crowd of people.