Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pre-Socratics Go! Go! Go!

...finally in my library career, someone asks me about the Pre-Socratics. So exciting! ... and yet she looked blankly back at me, like I was a loser, when I got 'expressive' about just how "awesome" her project was going to be. I tried to "cool it up" by saying cool teen things like "you'll dig these guys", I only narrowly avoided saying - " these guys rock".

So then i got images of myself as the cool philosophy prof., sitting on the table, legs crossed, upper body leaning forward in that inviting - -"hey kids, let's rap"-way - "let's talk philosophy"-" i'm one of you" ... oh no, came close... I think visions of a future like that made me give up philosophy...and meeting a few too many ego-inflated Harvard wanker jerks.

Back to the story at hand....

She, instead, demanded I find her only one book that covered Hippocrates, Socrates and Pythagoras. I started to explain how we didn't have just one in and how it's not appropriate to leave all the research to the day before (especially with such cool dudes as these) and, that in fact, Pythagoras was a pre-socratic - oh yeah... girls in grade five LOVE hearing words like "Pre-Socratic" from semi-hip grinning Librarians. She looked like she was going to flee instantly. She demanded again that i get one book on all three. I started to explain the lovely, fascinating nuisances of the pre-socratic era, best being that all sciences were one, and all knowledge was one, everything was to be learned in concert with everything else. The whole, the beautiful unity. These, the earliest philosophers believed that the basic principles of everything were material, but they often disagreed over their number and form. Thales, who originated this kind of philosophy, said it is water. Heraclitus said that everything is continually changing and, comparing existence to a river, claims that one can never step into the same river twice.
Parmenides claims that only one thing exists--the existent and nothing more. Oh and talking of Tiny - Democritus is the best cause he loves tiny things! He's all about the everything is made up of tiny things like atoms that thats the important stuff that counts.

Apparently I should be writing one of those philosophy for Idiots books.

I particularly liked Anaxagoras, - according to him everything that is or will be is arranged by nous (mind)... including the rotating of the stars, the sun, the moon, and the air and the aether, which are continually being separated off because of this rotation. Democritus held that the material elements are the full (atoms) and the empty (the void), and called them being and non-being respectively. In fact, the concept of the big bang was so eloquently discussed by the pre-socratics, as it was based on the concept that everything had to in some sense come together before it could explode apart. Unity being a strong influence.

There is so much great stuff to get into... I implored! Alas I was met with the same bored expression.

"Ya, do you have ONE book that says all that stuff?"


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