-- Or, Great Leaps Forward
I am settled on a park bench, soothed by the susurrous summer background hum of bulrushes in the pond and dragonflies on lily pads, many muffled iPod ear buds and fingers being dragged across a thousand iPads. Professor Plagno, for whom Plato is the role model and patron saint, by career a fully tenured Professor of Platonism-Agnosticism (that's how he introduced himself), whom I met by chance some months ago when we both happened to sit down on the same bench in this park, instantly establishing a Platonic friendship and continuing seminars, has just strolled up, right on time. An arch-activist Platonic agnostic, seriously bearded, with a faint lisp or (hard to tell with my hearing aids) unidentifiable foreign accent (probably early platonese), and huggable, the professor bows and says, “Greetings, Dr. Wes, my dear Loma Linda University physician old-time Seventh-day Adventist gormless Genesis-1 creationist.”
“I’m always honored. My dear professor,” says I, making room for him on the bench. “Shall we continue our dialog as Plato and Socrates, or go with Abbott and Costello this time?”
After recovering from a fit of guffaws, the professor says, “You’re the one creationist I know, dude, that’s professor talk, that I always have fun talking to and poking Platonic fun at. Have I told you that somehow I really like Adventists? But seriously, my very dear friend -- you Adventists have no better friends than us Platonic agnostics, -- you need some good Platonic help, and I'm here to give it. That’s what we’ve always been good for. We are the designated drivers for disabled minds. Ours is the Great Commission to go into all the world and heal all sickly ideologies, belief systems, epistemologies, ontologies, preachings and theologies, oh, especially theologies. I’m here to play good Samaritan and minister to the Adventist mind, so in need of agnostic stimulants and Platonic liniments. And I believe you're ready for my first lecture in Plato 101 as it has evolved in 42 years from simple lecture to PowerPoint with ‘Carmina Burana’ background music. Though long emeritus I still give this lecture at the university -- by student demand. Actually about twenty of them, trans-gender pan-theology students I was told, staged a protest on the quad safe space when it was rumored I would no longer be giving the lecture. I presume you brought your iPhone? Here, friend, have some brie bits.”
“Thanks for brie-friending me, professor. Alas, I didn’t bring my iPad to play your PowerPoint, though.”
“I can't believe it! Prove it!"
"I was waiting for you to get that agnostic mantra worked in somehow. I'd invite you to pat my pockets but that's carrying Platonic friendship too far."
"That’s OK anyway, doctor. I’ll give it to you live, I know it by heart, been giving it for 52 years, long before PowerPoint," says the professor, straightening his yellow polka dotted orange bow tie. "Try to picture yourself in a giant amphitheater with 500 students, 5 screens distributed around the room, a ceiling covered over with Klieg lights, banks of loudspeakers, and there I am at the lectern, bellowing as follows: Welcome to Plato 101, student dudes. I am Professor Plagno. The aim of this course is to introduce you to the world’s greatest thinker, Plato, 429?–347 B.C.E, who single-handedly, so to speak, founded Western Civilization . ... How many of you have heard of Plato? One…two…four? How many of you have heard of Western Civilization? One…two… same four. How many of you have heard of Miley Cyrus? Everybody! OK OK! May I have it quiet please.
“Well, dudes, my dear wet-behind-the ears dudes, I’m not surprised you’ve never heard of Plato. Nowadays it’s Kant, Nitschke, Schopenhauer, Derrida and Dawkins, and our William James and Rorty et al who are the philosophical celebrities. But that is just how Plato, the father of it all, would have it. He lurks behind the Kants and Rortys and hovers over the Humes. It’s upon Plato’s shoulders that the Rortys stand, however they’d like you to believe they go where no man has gone before. For Plato is symbolic of human reasoning power, so nicely empowering Kant et al and on and on. Plato gets the credit for inventing reasoning and logic as the overriding and consummate authority, so pure and powerful it can be accomplished only by full-throttle cogitation from a chair. Meditation, while OK, puts the mind in cruise control and overdrive, or, maybe not too far in the future, autopilot, and if performed on a yoga mat into neutral or park gear. Worse, to accept – by faith, not reason -- divine revelation, to hear God or the Holy Spirit speaking is to send humanity into reverse. Faith in God is a downright toxic fuel worse than leaded gas or gluten. What Plato fathered satisfies what has proved to be the most sovereign craving of mankind. As Plato figured, so important and powerful and overriding is it that Plato sacrificed his own fame and name in behalf of redeeming academic thought, and thus mankind. Time may have put Plato into the shadows, but he remains the true redeemer. As somebody, maybe it actually was Reagan, a sort of philosopher whatever else you think he may have been, said, ‘there’s no end to what can be accomplished if we don’t care who gets the credit.’
“So, my dear students, the thinking world, -- the intellectual, high-IQ, doctoral level demographic... YOU! -- can thank Greece, Greek paideia, Hellenism, and Plato (and us platonists), who, unlike the rest of humanity, outgrew all our old embarrassing anthropomorphic Olympian gods, even Hercules if not quite Aphrodite and Bacchus, and invented philosophy,-- apotheosized over all gods or God. In fact philosophy means 'love of wisdom,' even over love of God. Thou shalt have no other loves before philosophy.”
“WHAAAAT!” I burst out, thrown off balance, shocked, a state which always ignites my answering before I realize it or even know what I’m saying. “Does not the Bible say that ‘The fear of the Lord, THAT is the beginning of wisdom’ – just the reverse of what philosophy says?”
My shock seems to be just what the professor expected. "Your weird objection was right on cue! When I give this lecture at the university, under full Klieg lights, I always arrange to have a plant in the audience to ask your question, verbatim. Would you be willing, next time I give it? Anyway, my reply is, yes yes, indeed indeed, you've nailed it, paideia exactly reverses that priority – a great great leap forward for mankind.
“As to your Christ and His loudly insistent claim to be all mankind’s redeemer, we – we scholars, even most SDA scholars -- don’t aim to talk to Him, we talk about him. Rather than have him (uncapitalized, please note) seeking us, we sit around figuring him out. As a matter of fact figuring him out is a whole separate academic course of study and research, called Christology. You can get a doctorate in it. Developed early in Christianity when it went scholarly, now it’s gone way skeptical, covertly or overtly agnostic. Living around 400BC Plato philosophized God but not Christ, who was yet to be born in the manger. But neoPlatonism did, thus Christology. Of course, just between you and me, we platonists, we’d LEAVE Him out.
“In the process we invented big words and big logic by the yard: metaphysics, epistemology, teleology, ontology, dialectics, diuretics, maieutics, heuristics, and hermeneutics which is named after an old god, Hermes, and used to upgrade Homer and Hesiod by recognizing them as allegories, long before your own scholars appropriated it to allegorize the living daylights out of the Bible. Plus rhetoric, whereby all the above and more are employed simply to convince an audience. With it you can explain or prove anything. All authorities agree, everybody knows, that the Hellenistic array of goodies, epitomized by platonism, constitutes the greatest gift that mankind has ever received, more precious than fire, the foundation and master template of civilization, notably the Western Civilization, in which Judeo-Christian culture participated -- after being suitably remolded by Plato. And this whole cornucopia is our creative property, legacy, largess, it’s all royalty-free, open-source codec, public domain.”
“Whew!” I sough, as I would suppose his students do at this point.
“Ah! Platonism and Platonic agnosticism -- father and mother of philosophy and godfather and godmother of the mind of man -- friends of Rome, friends of barbarians, friends of Christians and pagans ancient and pop. Of thinkers pagan, Judeo, Christian, Arabian, hippie, all free thinkers from Athens to Alexandria to Jerusalem to Rome to Cordoba to Samarkand, on into India, and Haight-Ashbury to Harvard -- here we come! Personal tutors of the most favored and aristocratic of history’s greatest emperors, conquerors, lawyers, CEOs, although, alas, in recent years celebrities have favored gurus or Jesuits, which is OK because gurus and Jesuits owe a lot to Plato. Plato has second-guessed or god-fathered or kibitzed all the prophets from Moses to Paul, from St. Augustine to St. Aquinas, from Mohammad to Buddha. If the Protestant Reformation was centered on the Bible, the Enlightenments, the Renaissance, all the humanist surges from the time of Erasmus, a contemporary of Martin Luther and the Reformation, to the new establishment of Chairs of Humanism in your SDA universities, are at bottom Platonic and Hellenistic. All of Western Civilization. Great leaps forward for mankind!"
Having just this morning been brought up to speed on Western Civilization courtesy of Buzzfeed.com, I am obliged to interrupt the professor: "That Western Civilization exists is thanks to Plato and Hellenism is of course what Western Civilization, and Plato, has always insisted. But is it not true that the most enlightened emergent thinkers are now proclaiming that all thought, all philosophy, indeed Western Civilization, had its origin in India, not Greece? Buddha. All that mysticism, you know. That's what awarded cross-legged celebrities on their mats crave, deliverance from all the trouble and stress nowadays, mainly that new illegitimate President."
"Posh!" the Professor sneered. "Plato is thought spiraling outwards to more and greater thought. Buddha, sure he's really pop nowadays, big thing in Hollywood-on-the-Ganges, but, really, Buddha is spiraling inwards to thoughtless mental coma. Nirvana, you know. So thinking men will say nice things about meditation but return to Plato as surely as the soul returns to the Form. To continue ---
“Our compulsion to fix men’s minds goes all the way back to Hellenistic Alexandria, where Philo, a Jewish scholar converted to Hellenism and a contemporary of John the Baptist, was hellbent on reconciling Judaism with Hellenism, advantage Hellenism. And when Christianity encroached upon Greek Plato-agnostic turf, we platonists (by then neo-platonists), respectful of the childishness of Christianity, undertook to get Christianity to grow up. We explained who Jesus really was and what He really meant to say, as He Himself or His own disciples or Paul could not. A charismatic teacher and fabulizer, that Christ, but not up to the thought level of Plato, Philo, Plotinus, or Photinus, and in serious need of Platonic aid if ever to be relevant to the thinking world. And that’s what the Alexandrian Hellenist-Christian Origen did too, also the Cappadocian Fathers – get Christianity up to speed. If Paul converted rational Greece to apostolic Christianity, Greece converted Christianity to philosophy, about as neatly as its philosophy had conquered pagan Rome, which was under the happy misunderstanding that it had conquered Greece, whereupon Christianity, now empowered by Greek rhetoric, debating and thinking skills, conquered Grecian Rome which was then subsumed by Barbarians, who themselves submitted to Platonically matured Roman Christianity, while being challenged by Arabs also tinted with Platonism, completing the circle and restoring the world to rational thought. Great leaps forward. End of lecture. My students unfailingly give me a standing ovation.”
So, I obligingly took a pretty good leap, considering my age, from the bench and clap-clapped as the professor sat down, and commented, "I detect the Platonic leap as your leit-motif!"
But at that instant the professor himself was leaping up and apologizing for failing to include a part of his lecture, actually the denouement. Although it's the one lecture he still delivers, without his PowerPoint and telepromper he'd forgotten this part. Now he carries on: “The Hellenistic package, bought by the Church and to which it submitted, included, for example, Aristotle, who, in the 11th century, would displace even Plato as most overriding philosophical authority. But that's another story. Whereas Plato famously sat in his chair reasoning, Aristotle also got out of his and looked around, and also drew conclusions from what he saw. For that he is considered not only an essentially Platonic philosopher but also the father of science and the scientific method. As science’s father it’s ironic, but I think fitting, that he himself drew from his objectively obtained data one of history’s most unfortunate and consequential conclusions (merely the first in a to-this-day and forever line of scientific boo-boos.) His was that the whole cosmos, certainly the sun, revolves around the earth, of which, along with the whole imported philosophical bundle, the Church was the anointed defender. So when Galileo rejected the Aristotelian cosmos, the Church hit him with the inquisition, wrongly brandished nowadays as the prime example of a Church’s closed-minded persecution of new scientific discoveries. But that isn’t fair to Hellenistic paideia which had converted the Church to defend imported legends rather than scripture, or the Church which supposed its conversion to Christianized Hellenism a divine upgrade, or the authentic scientific method (which really labels such notions, whether being defended or proposed, as theories, from which conclusions, rather than ergos, may be drawn, rather than laws upheld in court), and especially unfair to Aristotle whose interpretation of the data actually drove the Galileo brouhaha, and terribly unfair to Galileo who must have known it was Aristotle he had challenged rather than God or the Church, and even unfair to Plato who shall be eternally skeptical of what the eye perceives, and the most unfair to God whom the Church has claimed was being defended but who was the party least involved of all. In my PowerPoint, dear doctor Wes, I include, introduced by a trumpet fanfare, 'Sinfonies de Fanfares' to be exact, that event as the prime demonstration of how even the Church, for a thousand years the most powerful authority on the planet, had at its core Plato and friends. At this point in my lecture I expect, and get, applause.”
“Applause! Applause” I respond, applauding quite sincerely. “That’s an informative twist to the prevailing spin. Another great leap into Abbott and Costello -- best take on 'Who's on First' I've ever heard. Or maybe the Keystone Cops."
Empowered by applause, the professor, bowing, adds a bonus to his Aristotle-Galileo episode, to wit: "I teach my students that if Aristotle is the father of science, Plato is the father of agnosticism. Which is why I, sir, occupy, or did, the fully endowed duly hyphenated Chair of Platonism-Agnosticism."
"Platonism and agnosticism are pretty cozy," I add, still clapping. "You never see them apart. Are they like married?”
“Are they married? Plato and agnosticism?” The professor beams and clasps his hands together. “Like Adam and Eve, flesh of one flesh, bone of bone. Prove it? I have their license in my hip pocket, and a selfie of me and their wedding cake. Platonism was removed from the very flesh of agnosticism, or v.v., for it took heroic agnosticism for Plato to expel the whole pantheon of anthropomorphic Greek and pagan gods from the Groves of Venus and Ishtar, and the Jewish, and later the Christian, God from the Garden of Eden. I like to say that Plato employed not only pure reason but also pure agnosticism to arrive at The One, the First. Which brings me to what I was building up to and really wanted to talk to you about: Intelligent Design!”
“Whu-u- Intelligent Design!” I shout, again in shock. That Plagno was Platonically adaptable to just about any ideology I knew, but Intelligent Design?
“Not so loud” shushes the professor. “You’ll have the Park Police on us. But of course Intelligent Design! That's one reason I respect Adventism. You were using both faith and science, not mindless fideism, to argue for a literal Genesis 1 before Intelligent Design came on the scene. Intelligent Design will do for Evolution what platonism did for pagan Rome and mindless Christianity. The thinking mind, and the whole Platonic system, demands design before anything else; Darwinism is randomness, which is not good platonism."
“But,” I blurt, trying to whisper, “evolution -- I'm speaking in behalf of evolution now -- evolution is science, science is evolution, merged like the Trinity, married like Plato to agnosticism, decreed so if not by the Council of Nicaea, by a US District Court, against the objections (‘if any man objects let him speak now’) of Intelligent Design’s lawyers who insisted that ID has as at least as intimate a relation with science as Evolution does, a valid and demonstrably consummated relationship in fact, with high quality scientific activity going on as we speak. But the court recognized only Evo's claim to commitment to science. Having pronounced the marriage of Evo to science, the court then turned around and married ID to God, again against the loud objections of corporate ID which rejects God at least as vehemently as Evo -- for which impudence the Court ejected ID for contempt of court and sentenced it to life imprisonment in the Religion Department." Only then did I notice that I was standing and waving my arms.
Now the professor says, “But that’s also my whole point too! Officially, Intelligent Design, inside and outside the Court, insists it’s pure science, only science, devoid of ideology, ironically identical to Evolution’s claim. At ID's assertion Evolution and the Court just laugh, but I take it seriously – really I do. Agreeing with corporate Intelligent Design that it is primarily science and ideologically uncertified, I like to say that by philosophic DNA studies Plato is more likely the father of ID than Christians or God, because formal ID recognizes only generic not otherwise specified intelligence and does not require God’s. Likewise Plato’s Intelligence is disembodied, motionless, the not otherwise specified One, from whom all things just oozed with a tone poem as background music, not a hymn. Who’s your daddy, ID? ID looks askance at your meddling anthropomorphic God and turns to Plato’s Big One and says abba father. But, to be reasonable, Little Orphan ID could as well honor Great Spirits, demiurges, the World Soul, New Age Karma-lized spirituality.”
“I’ve got to say, professor," I say, nonplussed, "you've lost me in those intricacies. I would have thought the agnostic in you would be all for Evo without such ado, period.”
“With reason," acknowledges the professor. "Evolution started out laudably agnostic, but, sadly, has evolved downward into as fideistic a creed as ex cathedra Catholicism. That’s where primal Platonic agnosticism gets off, in a huff. Plato, minus his soul which has been reabsorbed into the One, is turning over in his grave.”
“So’s Darwin, body and soul,” I add. “A true scientist outraged at the way the court ruled that his theory had become a law, Darwin, waving a shotgun, would chase the court away from his lab. But then he’d point his shotgun at ID and demand she get the hell away, too!”
“Darwin,” adds the professor, taking over my thread, “would indeed abhor ID, but Plato wouldn’t. ID is a platonist’s dream. At least it’s something we platonists can live with. You could say it’s altogether PC – Philosophically Correct, Platonically Correct. Which is exactly why La Sierra University must establish a Chair of Intelligent Design!"
“A Chair of wh-u-u-ut? Where? La Sierra University? Time out to explain: LSU is a Seventh-day Adventist University, one of 13 in the U.S., including Loma Linda University and Medical School. As originally established over a century ago, the system presented the Biblical Adventist message and worldview which features, and hinges upon, Genesis 1 creation. I was graduated from LSU, then La Sierra College, almost 70 years ago, with a biology major, which, from the Genesis 1 perspective, reviewed tenets of evolution, e.g., ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, Haeckel's Embryo Chart, and so forth. Unhappily, the perspective is different nowadays.
“Cheer up!” says the professor. “I do want to help. A Chair of Intelligent Design would be a great leap forward for La Sierra, a great leap out of the twin swamps of unthinking religion and mindless Evolution. It’s your answer! Absolutely exciting idea, if I do say so myself. What do you think, my friend?”
“What do I think? I’m touched, my dear friend, that you’d be so interested in La Sierra, is what I think. As to Intelligent Design, this is what I think, aspiring to your level of rhetoric.
"Plato may leap off the bus at the Intelligent Design station, get married and settle in and live there happily ever after, but I can’t. Intelligent Design to me is not a destination to be leaped into, but a jumping-off point to be leaped from. I don’t see Intelligent Design as a retirement home. Intelligent Design is exciting indeed, to be commended (at least by me if not the courts) as a transition, but holing up there is not so commendable. To move on to Intelligent Design from Evolution is Platonic; to stay put there is catatonic. To be stuck in Intelligent Design is to be stuck halfway out of the birth canal.
"We've been making great Platonic leaps all day, getting ourselves airborne is a very good thing to do, but I'll have to say this about great leaps. They're fine only if you don't stay planted where you landed. Leaps are good only if more leaps follow. One leap does not a dance or 'movement' make. Bunnies and kangaroos know this if, say, Intelligent Design doesn't. Intelligent Design must not, after such a magnificent leap forward, just settle down among the cluster of undesignated higher designers, whether great spirits or aliens arriving by regularly scheduled UFOs. Sooner or later a superior higher designer will have to emerge, either by hoisting himself by his own petards, or by acclamation.
“And they are! Great leapfrogging clear over ID! ID identifies a designer not otherwise specified or motivated. The new question is, ‘not only is there design, but might there also be a Higher Purpose (deserves capitalization, Higher Purpose, HD for short)?’ It’s being asked openly – but with tongue positioned uneasily in cheek, an embarrassed ha-ha light-heartedness, even with postmodern whimsy, somehow with a different less sarcastic ring to it than the deep-throated guffaws once directed at I.D. Promulgated by the likes of William Hamilton as reported by the NYT, even Dawkins, all over uTube, although not quite viral. And at such deviant seminars as 17th annual Isaac Asimov Debate, by Harvard and MIT heat-seeking intellectuals. Even Elon Musk has taken time out from Tesla and SpaceX, and philosophizing on artificial intelligence’s bringing in universal assured income. Can Bezos be far behind?
“And just who might be imposing some sort of Higher Purpose? In the spirit of this odd new vaudeville comedy and postmodern whimsy, the answer is, a race of impossibly advanced, yes, aliens out there in some parallel universe who have been dropping in on us for eons by, yes, UFOs. That's who.
“And what’s the ‘higher purpose’ being imposed by these super-advanced super-playful aliens upon our iddy-biddy planet and us worms just now emerging from the Evolutional swamp? It stems from not mere curiosity and nosiness, nor evil instinct to destroy the human race as per Hollywood. Nope, nothing more profound than entertainment, theirs, not ours. Shades of the ancient mythical humorous God tweaking and prodding and laughing at us. Or some alien cosmic kid is using us as a science project in computer simulation on a planetary scale.
“And what could be the higher purpose behind Higher Purpose? Stripping away the whimsy and comedy reminiscent of the Golden Age of Radio, and UFOs and aliens, and science fiction, I see a searingly serious effort to reconcile Darwinian proto-Evolution, to which eternal allegiance must forever be given, with emergent embarrassingly incontestable scientific facts so keenly and irritatingly recognized by – ha-ha – Intelligent Design, and even to one-up ID without acknowledging HD’s debt to or even the existence of ID, or of, even more desperately, God.
“All those shenanigans are as new as Musk Ox lithium-driven driverless cars still encrusted with fetal vernix caseosa. But from the beginning there were rumblings. Alfred Wallace, the undersung co-founder of Evolution, agreed with Darwin on the origin of life from lower forms that evolved to apes, but at that juncture disagreed, insisting that by simple natural selection Evolution absolutely could not go further, was stuck just beyond the swamp. The materialization of language-endowed mankind required that an intelligent designer take over. Like Darwin a devout atheist, Wallace could not permit God anywhere in the picture. It was not God who took over, as theistic evolutionists currently like to say, but spirits. Spiritualism was popular in the late 1800s for levitating tables and rattling windows and scaring people out of their wits. But scary spirits are out nowadays. Scientology, which seems to involve preternatural performance, is uninterested in the generation of life, and doesn’t count. Aliens (and UFOs) and whimsy-ha-ha are in.
“ID has been leapfrogged, my dear professor. Is this what you want La Sierra to set up a Chair of?”
“No! Nope! And No!” cries the professor, his forehead frowning with alien creases, no laughing dimples now. “Gone crazy, those whimsical MIT atheists! ID is emerging as the one remaining genuinely scientific activity – what an irony! You never expected to hear that, did you, my dear friend? ID is a great leap forward; HP is just a great pratfall, as in Keystone Cops. Shows what happens when Evo takes over, or UFOs, or aliens—“
“—or spirits,” I add.
“Whatever,” Plagno replies. “I love our Abbott and Costello dialogs, but this HP business is black humor, ‘taint funny, McGee. Answer my question and no horsing around. What do you think about La Sierra setting up a Chair of ID?”
“OK, professor, if you insist. But being collector of desperate antiCreationist whimsicalities, I'll miss the happy HP crowd. But if you insist. Where was I? Oh yes... For an atheist or agnostic (same difference, as I see it) evolutionist, used to randomly colliding, fortuitously conflating cosmic dust particles that came from nothing, Intelligent Design, and I’ll throw in HP whimsy, is Neil Armstrong taking a great leap forward to the heavens. For Harvard University, A Chair in Intelligent Design would be a great breakthrough leap, yes a Platonic leap, forward indeed. For La Sierra University, or College as I knew it long ago when Genesis 1 was the primary premise, your Chair would be a, yes Platonic, backwards backslide off the cliff. But if, as you seem to assume, some other scenario now prevails at La Sierra, such as the ‘days’ of Genesis 1 are allegorical and God used evolution, not spoken commands, as his creative mode, if indeed He’s still involved at all, your suggestion could be considered. But while taking great leaps backward right into Plato’s lap, LSU might as well upgrade the Department of Religion to the Department of Humanities.”
I am elated by my dynamic bidirectional version of the professor’s Vision of Chairs, but the professor is not. “You dumb dude, you dumb dumb dude! You still don’t understand platonism! You have Plato leaping backward and forward like a paddle ball on a rubber string. Platonism is supple and stretchy, but that's ridiculous! To me and all properly directed thinkers, Platonism has indeed proven flexible in upgrading any theology, but only in one direction – forward! Forward! Plato can only leap forward, thus to propel humanity forward! Being the application of only reason, no unnatural ingredients, platonism is itself already the ultimate, yea, the very criterion and definition of authority. Why cannot you catch that? The idea that a Chair in ID at La Sierra University is a slide backwards, that's absolutely inadmissible, even as a premise in a debate. I’m so disappointed, I had such hopes.”
“I’m sorry, my very dear dispirited friend,” I say, stoically. Then, loudly enough to cause the park police to start moving in our direction, I ejaculate, “Though Plato stands between us, do we not still have our Platonic friendship? Shall we not seal our relationship with a suitable brass plaque?”
“Well, .... OK, if you beg me! See you next time – bring your iPlato-phone,” exclaims the Professor, brightening like an epicurean presented with choice brie. “Something will come of it,” he says to himself, “I have hopes.”
“iPlato? Well, OK, I'll bring one, if that's a course requirement. ‘Til next time, then.” I say, silently praying that nothing will come of it but maybe another essay.
•NEXT DIALOG: (CLICK HERE) Platonic emanations
Platonic Friendship: nothing comes of it, or should.
Brie cheese is the favorite cocktail snack of polite doubters, nuancing dancers, mincing maieuticians. The Tea Party and the Brie Party demonstrate in separate corners of our park.
“Who’s on First,” Abbott & Costello’s most famous shtick. Some contend it was lifted from Plato’s dialogs.
Rhetoric: In the Greek heyday, rhetoric was the technical name for a highly technical profession taught by private tutors or at universities, like medicine or war or sculpture, utilizing all devices from syllogism to spin, from fist-banging to open-jawed screeching to weeping. The Greeks were the first to recognize the potential of all this as a way of altering history, and American culture, PACs, and the web, don't forget Nazi Germany, have perfected it.
'taint funny McGee! A tagline from the "Fibber McGee and Molly" show, popular in the Golden Age of Radio.
Dialog # 1
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