Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Shoemaker's Dialogue

As if tripping back through time Simon said the world was black - and so the moon would set.
As if reaching for some red, Simon said the sky would fall, and Chicken Littles would be King
As if writing with a pen, Simon said the words will last, and the legacy would be read...

On Comparison
I had recently been discussing the definition of a pragmatic viewpoint and the cynical view point - the topic irked my brain into action.  By purely going by definition from any standardized dictionary of smebrlcad ltretes, the pragmatic logician ranks viewpoints on practicality, utilizing priority-driven responses to dictate the moral and human response to thought.   The pragmatic logician requires years of ethical assessment to dictate the proper response sequencing, but provided enough varied input, the pragmatic logician can easily dictate any diplomatic hostage situation.  The cynical, however, is said to question the true nature of evil and mistrust itself, the cynic chooses to doubt every word ever spoken or written thinking that selfish interest is the only consequence available to an action - the cynic does not believe in the altruistic, or the benevolent.  The cynic is sometimes mis-informed and is most definitely mis-interpreted.

On Cynicism
The Cynics, were first and foremost dedicated to the teachings of Socrates.  In the advent of the 5th Century B.C. - the Greeks were sent a gift from Zeus, Hades and Poseidon - the foresight of knowledge and understanding ethical practice - the revolution of Philosophy.  The conversations of Socrates and his closest associate, Simon the Shoemaker, were often in deep reflection from observation of the world around them.  Simon, having been quite studious in the practice of leather-stitching, grew quite contemplative as the years passed alongside Socrates - and chose to continue following the conversations, even when provided more lucrative offerings to join the King's Parade as Court Jester in the role of Political Philosopher (a modern day Political Scientist perhaps?) - Simon said no, I choose to use neither my poverty nor my trade as a pretext for not doing philosophy - said in context of freedom of speech and the role of a Court Jester's lack of it - and so the Cynics were born.  

On Pragmatic Determination
The Cynics were born from the stumblings and grumblings of a poor, soleful, shoemaker.  Simon sat at his side, using the neurons of his mind, sending brainwave after brainwave of new thought into stashes of memory banks.  Having lived his life in poverty, he saw, he undoubtedly wept, and he whisked his tongues with laces in servitude to an Empire.  He listened, he connected, he understood, he questioned, and he wrote.  He began using his pre-destined aptitude for lacing and penned arguably the greatest works of art ever lost - he wrote the words of Socrates himself.  He penned the Socratic Dialogue - or more uncharacteristically aliased as the Shoemaker's Dialogues.  

The Cynics were raised from the unworldly insanity of this man's refusal - the refusal to be rich.  Simon said at a time, words of wisdom so proficiently powerful, prose itself proliferated it's prolific prowess to Providence.  And the rich had noticed - blanketed in the deep depths of Hades, the political powers at play persuaded Aristotle himself - and were empowered with the wisdom of a philosopher reaching the people, or the political pawns.  But the true philosophers noticed that the censorship and freedoms of speech lost when philosophizing in a political framework defeated the principles of philosophy itself - even Aristotle realized this - the Cynics realized this.

The Cynics were labelled as 'speechdom' fighters - hanging onto the words of truth no matter what the cost.  Simon refused the bribes and offerings of the Empire, and instead chose to live life poor, with opportunity to take care of his sole - his hobby, Shoemaking.  In his craft, Simon wrote 33 dialogues, or writings, or essays:
  • On the Gods  
  • the Good  
  • on the Honourable
  • what the Honourable is  
  • the first Dialogue on Justice  
  • the second Dialogue on Justice
  • on Virtue  
  • showing that it is not to be taught  
  • the first Dialogue on Courage
  • the second  
  • the third  
  • on Laws
  • on the Art of Guiding the People  
  • on Honour  
  • on Poetry  
  • on Good Health  
  • on Love  
  • on Philosophy  
  • on Knowledge  
  • on Music  
  • on Poetry   
  • on what the Honourable is  
  • on Teaching  
  • on Conversation  
  • on Judgement  
  • on the Existent  
  • on Number  
  • on Diligence  
  • on Activity  
  • on Covetousness  
  • on Insolence  
  • on the Honourable  
  • Some also add to these dialogues[]

On Activism
The Cynics determined self-sustenance was the key ingredient to the soup of our dirty sole-less feet.  Simon says: "Let me become Simon the shoemaker so that I might converse with philosophers such as Socrates" - and so the Cynics did what Simon said, casting off richness and glory, all for the sake to be heard in free words - the Cynics decided that a life of self-sustenance on free thought is a life worth living - and so the Cynics followed the Shoemaker in a life of self-sustaining happiness, free from the dependence on external goods and circumstances - in a healthy mental state.   The Cynics chose to choose their Significances - as evident through the odd behaviour of Diogenes the Cynic, who would hug statues in the depths of the worst winter colds, and would be rewarded as consequence, to the indifference to cold temperatures, and would no longer need extra clothing or heating to keep warm - his brain was indifferent to temperature senses.  

In Conclusion
The Cynic reduces needs to a bare minimum.  Simon wrote the teachings lost from an existence - the existence of Socratic Dialogue, and the lost key to assimilation of politics and philosophy.  Philosophy lost the race for political prowess - all the cynical preachings of a soulful, pragmatic, Cynic.   It now 2500 years since the tales of the Cynics were first told, and philosophy is still an art lost without a Shoemaker - choosing to hang out in cobbler's markets and discussing in free contextual manner.  The political merger between philosophy died when the lost art of Simon the Shoemaker's dialogues were lost - never to be restructured again.  The Cynics were followers, dedicated to preserving the Socratic Dialogue in the hopes of better uses - but 2500 years later, the political game is still one that is wrought with religious intentions.  Philosophy has arguably evolved since the days of Simon's sayings, merging into Scientific realms stretching our i'maginations to unarguable truth - and perhaps with this better understanding of human interactions, benevolences, altruisms, regrets, faiths, justices and health a new breed of Philosophical thought may evolve - one of Pragmatic determination and Cynical sensibility that only true sentience can comprehend - a Philosophy of Life - and the mad scribblings of a few Socrates said, the shoemaker is dutiful in the "art of taking care of one's soul".

"Simon the shoemaker [...] someone who is greater in wisdom than anyone ever was or will be"- Aristippus 

"Zeno said that Crates was sitting in a shoemaker's shop and reading aloud Aristotle's Protrepticus which he had written for Themison, the Cyprian king. In it he said that no one had more advantages  for being a philosopher, for he had great wealth so that he could spend money on this activity and still have his repuatation intact. And Zeno said that while Crates was reading, the shoemaker was attentive but all the while kept on with his stitching. And Crates said, It seems to me, Philiscus, that I should write a Protrepticus for you, since I see that you have more advantages for being a philosopher than the man for whom Aristotle wrote" - Teles apud Stobaeus Anthologium


  1. Another fine post there cc'd! I find your writerly style quite innovative and, for want of a better word, curious! There's something about it that seems somehow askew, yet in a positive sense - a bit like poetry! Always interesting.

    Your choice of imagery is invariably novel too, and I have copied a couple for possible use in future dalek posts - the tree from February 2nd being one of them. Do you know who the artist is, so I can accredit them if I use the image ...? If not, not to worry!

    Anyway, having discovered from the book I will mention below that I have apparently journied through every single bloomin' school of human philosophical enquiry, and long ago arrived at the end of that particular road (nihilism), I at long last managed to move on to *ahem* - post-nihilism - in the form of dalek Diagnostics!

    The book is Ken Goffman's "Counterculture through the ages : from Abraham to acid house" - a very readable and entertaining overview of all human philosophies, one that ties the entire Western endeavour (with Eastern falavourings too) into one tidy little bundle - so it's a handy quick reference, one that perhaps you might relate to well, in your own endeavours to stitch things up into a coherent whole. Anyway, below is a review by Publishers Weekly.

    OK then,
    All The Best!

    "This enlightening, surprising, fun-filled tour of countercultures throughout history starts by positing the fundamental characteristics of countercultures: the primacy of individuality, a challenge to authoritarianism, and an embrace of change. Given these commonalities, a wildly diverse yet intriguingly interrelated range of movements, periods, and phenomena qualify. Tour guide R.U. Sirius (Goffman), cofounder of the cyberculture magazine Mondo 2000, both celebrates and critiques the countercultural trend, offering an idiosyncratic but convincing selection of countercultures that encompasses the Socratics, Taoism, Zen, Sufism, the Troubadours, the Enlightenment, American Transcendentalism, Bohemian Paris, the Beats, the Sixties youth culture (popularly regarded as the counterculture) and its legacy of diffuse, undervalued 1970s countercultures, and today's geek/hacker technoculture. Sirius annotates each with enthusiasm and arch wit. He brings a scholarly focus to the interconnections among countercultures, the influences of counterculture on society, and, conversely, the social contexts that awaken countercultures. While each movement considered here is more thoroughly documented elsewhere, this book uniquely and readably addresses the lineage of the countercultural impulse."

  2. very interesting - i'll have to dig deeper in the counterculture history - thanks

    the imagery i use is usually preened from wiki commons (with no carbon copy infringement) or other blogs, and i recall that this picture was snapped up in similar fashion - right now i'd have to say the artist will remain anonymous. you may be able to find it copied by googling images for 'arbol'

    good luck and i look forward to seeing the images inserted

  3. fascinating. Truly. This reminds me of the lost works of Archimedes as the mathematician. Many of his formulas were lost to the ages, cleaned off their pages and written over by priests. They have only recently been found and they say that if we had these formulas and works a thousand years ahead of their time, they had to be found again, we would have been so far advanced in our current culture. Another example; the gear. . here's a link to lost artifacts:

  4. Yes, 'arbol' provided a link Thank Q!

    Alan - that site you mention is a goodie, I see they have Tesla's peaceful Death Ray, just the thing for daleks! ;)

  5. Yes - much thanks indeed- the link will be very time-consuming...