Delight Springs

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A good way to think

I've always assumed Socrates must have been a walker. I mean, not just a guy who walked, from necessity and utility (how else was he going to carry himself down to the Agora for work each day, after all?); but an active appreciator and celebrant of the pleasures and benefits of reflective motility.

But until I picked up The Hemlock Cup by Bettany Hughes, I hadn't really considered it. He was not alone, pounding the Athenian pavements.
Men of all degrees walked through the winding streets, brushing shoulders with one another. Prostitutes could confidently ply their trade by slipping on customized little hobnail boots... All life was here. Socrates, himself a great walker (we hear in one of the Platonic dialogues, the Phaedrus, that contemporaries thought walking 'a good way to think'), would have traveled through an Athenian landscape of surprising parity...
Socrates was a great walker. He talks about travelling 25-mile distances without a second thought. Walking and thinking seem to have been a true pleasure to him... 
So he wouldn't have been "permanently pissed," Pythons. But his mood would have been cheery, his tone  buff and vital. He would have plied his trade with confidence too. Humble and confident, not cocksure and arrogant. Curious and inquiring. Peripatetic. Aristotelian. But Plato, they say...

Walking with Socrates can still be arranged, for a fee. (Or you can take a course.) But wouldn't that be sophistry?

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