Thoughts The Gods Would Hardly Deign to Contemplate
Finnish prime minister.– Late modern humanity is terminally boring, predictable, soulless, and finds its truest level of being in an imaginary world populated entirely by fifteen-year-olds raised by hookers and drug pushers. Jane Austen would not recognize this race. Wilde’s Dorian Gray, on his lowest night of drug-addicted slum prowling, would find the Finnish prime minister simply too gross and bland to be worth his time. Meanwhile, she and her admirers are standing firm on her inalienable right to party. There is late-stage democratic society for you. No one old enough to vote, let alone to be voted for, should live a life in which the word “party” is used in its current corrupted form, as a verb. It’s an affront to political and grammatical decency.
Aimless.– The prude today is not the man who objects to our radical immodesty and easy licentiousness, but rather the one who throws himself into such behavior in order to join the late modern exodus from the life-upending madness — the inspiration to abnormality — that Eros in its full force, straining wildly at the reins, may bring. Cut the reins forever, let the wild stallion run free, willy-nilly, and the very concept of greatness, let alone the thing itself, disappears instantly. Greatness is an unremitting tension, energy bursting at the seams in a hundred places while the spirited soul struggles to contain it. Stop struggling, end the tension, and all goes slack — tediously, hellishly slack. This is why those who confuse freedom with the mere absence of limits inevitably become ever more obsessed with their next moment of pleasure; the desperate race to evade the monster, boredom, has become a ceaseless torture for them. The need to do everything stems precisely from having no idea what to do. The best life will always and necessarily look dull and worthless to the worst men. Modernity has glutted the market with worst men, which is why the best life is so remote from, and incomprehensible to, our age.
The need for entertainment.— Thinking is active. Being entertained is passive. Entertainment is a pleasant rest for the active soul, but only occasionally desired and never required. For the inactive soul, it is essential, in the sense of defining the life of passivity, to the extent that insubstantiality or emptiness may be said to have a definition.
“Give me something to look at, something to amuse me, something to feel.” This cry issues endlessly from the abyss.
“Do not distract me, I am trying to work something out.” This is the voice from the mountaintop.
Socrates drifts into thought on his way to the dinner to which he has been honored with an invitation, Agathon’s private victory party after the Dionysian festival. In contemplation, he forgets to enter the house and simply wanders to a neighboring house. Agathon urges his servants to go out and find the philosopher to bring him in. Aristodemus, who had been walking with Socrates when he veered off, insists that his teacher be left alone and allowed to come in for dinner only when he is ready. Alcibiades reports that Socrates would do the same thing even during a military expedition. None of the chief preoccupations of other men, neither the pleasures nor the duties, hold priority for the man whose essential preoccupation is the soul, and whose primary duty is to seek self-knowledge.