I shall post a quote today: penned, obviously, by Plato.
Old Mr. Plato wrote a little thing called the “Symposium”: and in it, there is a character called Apollodorus, who recounts the events of an evening to his friend, whom he meets in the street. I don’t mean to get all “in-depth” with this work, this evening; but I do wish to relay one of Apollodorus’s statements to you. He said:
“I pity you who are my companions, because you always think that you are hard at work when really you are idling. And I daresay that you pity me in return, whom you regard as an unfortunate wight, which I perhaps am. But I certainly know of you what you only think of me — there is the difference.”
Well. This is rather a perfect quotation for the whole of mankind — is it not? Everyone seems very much to like talking about all they’ve accomplished; and unless your own accomplishments are similar to theirs (not to say as great, or even less than; but merely similar) then they want very little to do with you, and they give you very little credit. But if you call them out on this little tidbit, and make it known, you’re called insane, or at the very least you’re called useless, and erring.
This is proved by Apollodorus’s companion’s reply.
“I see, Apollodorus, that you are just the same — always speaking evil of yourself, and of others; and I do believe that you pity all mankind, beginning with yourself and including everybody else . . . true in this to your old name, which, however deserved, I know not how you acquired, of Apollodorus the madman . . . for your humor is always to be out of humor with yourself and everybody . . .”
And what can Apollodorus say? He replies:
“Yes, friend, and I am proved to be mad, and out of my wits, because I have these notions of myself and you; no other evidence is required.”
It doesn’t seem that there’s ever anything else to say. If you don’t conform to their habits, and their customs, you’re called mad. If you see the world in a different way, you’re called mad. If there’s anything at all different about you — no matter whether you’re a good person or not — you’re called mad.
Only a small observation. And made with not the slightest trace of wrath of bitterness! Only an observation.
Goodnight to you, and Happy New Year. Stay tuned for a post in the near future on the legacy of Greek literature, as conveyed by Mr. R.W. Livingstone.