Sirens’ Song: a Letter

All in all I didn’t do much today. While I was playing the bass, the UPS carrier brought my new book of Plato. The one before it was delivered to the wrong address, so Amazon replaced it for free. Then I opened it up and looked through it. There are two schematics in the book that I would have to figure out to know their purpose, and also there’s an illustration of the Spindle of Necessity. I love the way this book is organized and translated from the Greek. The Republic, to me, is a perfect handbook of self discipline, by teaching the primacy of reason in the soul, both individually and collectively, then going on to describe the character of the philosopher. A tyrant, according to Plato, is someone whose reason has been overthrown by his impulses. One might argue that alcoholism is this kind of situation, a sort of gluttony gone out of control by the rational component of the personality. And indeed, the reason becomes overturned by the irrational desire to drink alcohol, and therefore the person has become unjust and tyrannical.

At around two thirty I walked over to the store for a bucket of coffee ice cream, speaking of impulses. I was feeling pretty good today and wanted to celebrate a little. Caffeine is my way of splurging a bit without actually drinking alcohol. I also had a Coke this morning. I think I prefer the raspberry tea Snapple, but it’s all good. The drinks are cold, wet, sweet, and have caffeine in them. It’s easy to overdo it, so I have to employ my reason and be judicious. I wonder at what point the rational faculty gets overwhelmed by what’s below the neck, ie the subconscious and its lunacies? It’d make a great topic for a college paper in English or philosophy.

If you’ve never read Republic, then you might find it interesting, even helpful for everyday living. If nothing else, it’s a great classic of world literature that it benefits you to know. And it’s quite reader friendly, written in dialogue form that’s easy to follow.

Now I’m going to ponder what I just inquired about reason and the subconscious. Is it better to keep those things under rational lock and key, or maybe let them out a little to see the light of day? Plato and Goethe would argue over this point.

Suddenly I think again of Odysseus strapped to the mast of his ship, listening to the song of the Sirens out of sheer curiosity to know the lunatic fringe of human experience. I wonder if he gained anything by his rash behavior? But isn’t that a great image from The Odyssey?

An Odyssey

I just thought of Jude the Obscure for some reason: perhaps a man with schizophrenia in a low social position is destined to remain low. Would that be the desire of nature? Or is that really justice? Do I have a say in the matter? Life is not a Thomas Hardy novel, thank goodness. If it were, then the booze would’ve killed me already. As it is, I feel stranded in a parallel universe outside of my old shoes, a sort of limbo, or better, on top of Mt Olympus for the gods to judge my fate. It’s as though there’d been an intervention on the part of Pallas Athena, spiriting me up to the court of the gods for a decision. The old natural me has been left behind like an empty shell— the same way as John Carter when he was teleported to Mars in the 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. Now I begin to detect a plan in all my actions since starting my blog three years ago. The disembodied spirit that is me awaits the verdict of the powers that be, and from there, who knows what might happen? Not a Thomas Hardy novel: the story is mine, and I also am the protagonist. As author and hero both, I write my own destiny, not on Mars, but here and now on earth…