‘Venerable and Awful’


I had been around. And I had slid. From an amused bemusement, past simple bewilderment, beyond all sophisticated skepticism, to a lurching unquiet desperation.

Perhaps you are one of  the blessed, one with an easy, resilient faith. You don’t see what all the fuss is about.

Scrape the surface and nothing makes sense. So I sit on the side and agree to pretend.

Cherished, coddled paradigms that are deeply conflicted are preserved precariously with strips and patches of facile assumptions, specious logic and authoritative bluster. A Learned Ignorance replaced by an erudite cleverness.

You are finally ready to allow the possibility [and just the possibility] that most explanations are deflections, denials and exalted rationalizations.

Zeno, the favorite of Parmenides [‘Venerable and Awful’], a pioneer of the logico-mathematical paradox, describes his new treatise to Socrates:

It is…a defense of Parmenides against those who make fun of his ideas…this book is a retort against those who assert a Plurality…pays them back in the same coin with something to spare. For it shows that on a thorough examination, their own supposition that there is a Plurality leads to even more absurd consequences than the Hypothesis of ‘The One’.’

The Parmenides is considered the most difficult of the Platonic Dialogues. That is because Parmenides [and a few others; see the Posts] was alert to the Self-Loop, and to which his modern interpreters are conspicuously innocent.

This and all other excerpts from Plato’s Dialogues are from the Hamilton and Cairns, Princeton, ’61 Edition.