Archive for the ‘dialectic’ Category

Ancient Greeks used to resolve disputes by a process of what was called ‘Dialectic’ – which meant you strolled around the Agora in your toga – oops sorry, that was the Romans and they did it in the Senate. No – ancient Greeks strolled about wearing Chitons [a sort of draped and folded double sheet affair cinched with a Zoster] and not much else and sought to out-argue each other. Ideally one proposition or thesis would be contrasted with another until a sort of middle ground or synthesis was reached. The one with the best argument won something like the closing speeches of lawyers on Boston Legal. In actuality, although the records are sparse on this point, there was probably a lot of pushing and shoving and biting of thumbs, especially when that argumentative sod Socrates insisted on answering every question with another question and driving everyone mad until one was forced to put the ancient boot in while calling for the Hemlock.


But if it worked in theory if not necessarily in practice it would be a great way to head off wars before they got the chance to grow into global conflicts involving massive armies and WPD’s wouldn’t it? Can you imagine? There might be some hope for our species after all. Leaders of opposing factions could sit down together and undertake a process of logical argument until the one with the best grasp of rhetoric won. That would be a political debate on steroids – one that might actually accomplish something other than allowing for a lot of grandiose posturing, general insults and vote gathering. Sounds all very civilized to me, rather like those Chinese emperors who – apparently – sat down and decided the fate of the known world over the chess board. “Check-Mate mate” “Oh alright then, you can have all of Outer Mongolia and I’ll have the bit on this side of the wall.”


Shakespeare said ‘First let’s get rid of all the lawyers” or perhaps he meant Paris Hilton, can’t be sure – and I would also suggest that we include on that list all generals, armies, long-range missiles, religious leaders, fanatics of any kind and George Bush. I think the world would be a better place without any of them and perhaps we could get back to essentials like trying to get along, saving the whales, repairing the ozone layer and feeding the homeless. Perhaps we could mind our own backyards instead of slavering over yours.


At the very least we could declare all weapons of modern warfare totally off limits and if you really must fight you have to agree to nothing more lethal than a wrestling match down at the local arena on a Saturday night where we can all watch it on the big screen. Think of it – too bad they topped Saddam already because we could have a tag team match – Blair and Bush v Saddam and Osama – winner gets a years supply of Middle-Eastern Oil and a Toyota Prius and loser is banished to an island off the coast of French Guiana with all the rest of the shit-disturbers. Either that or you have to fight Ancient Greek style – meaning you go up against Osama naked armed with nothing but your little round shield, your sword, pike and armored breast plate. I suppose there must have been a gentleman’s agreement not to strike below the belt so to speak since you were only wearing your shin guards down there – bit dicey, not to mention drafty if you ask me, but there you are, I’m sure the Ancient Greeks knew best and “You there, Jones in the back row – stop tittering boy – and come and see me after lights out – I mean prayers – you little weed.”


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