In the Chamber of Delights
The great philosopher famously said “An unexamined life isn’t worth living.”
Well, I’ve been examining and examining recently until it all came down to this: I wake up, wash up, read the paper and emails, take out the trash, write up a blog; and oh, today she wants me to install a new toilet flush valve. For a guy who reads Greek philosophy, examination washing up and trash removal is an abomination. Adding in a plumbing chore improves nothing. If examining flush valves makes your life worth living, go for it.
Plato must have had a better information intake than me. My philosophy inspiration comes from a ton of E-mail spam, junk travel opportunities, insurance bargains, and a 30 day free trial of something. Yes, these all go into the recycle bin in a flash, but can you imagine Aristotle even thinking about such nothing-burgers?
The 6:30 TV news is my other philosophy uptake. Male anchors with sonorous voices and fabulous hair, or female anchors with lovely teeth and profiles, show us fantastic footage of fiery explosions, car crashes, and adorable pets. All news is a late-breaking combination of titillation and existential threats “you have to watch.”
Would you find Socrates or Plato discoursing on crashes and cutie-pie pets? No, but without the TV and e-mail, I’m Major Tom, lost in space and incommunicado.
By contrast, I once confronted an industrial-strength examination of life. It was with Heather, our local yoga school’s levitating life guru. Heather was a free spirit trapped in a world of suits: But she was still great fun. She was so obsessed with examining her life that she never touched a newspaper or met a responsibility she couldn’t ignore.
She would tell us,
“Ditch the TV and e-mail. Examine fantastic dreams. Bungee jump into a world beyond the dimensions of here and now. Throw yourself into irrational travel.”, she would advise.” Take risks while you still have something worth risking. Hype up that old brain and see if any idea flow remains.”
Heather wasn’t into Plato, but she was a “searcher,” examining life according to her own rules. She had answers for every question, but they were all “spiritual candy”; both exciting, euphoric. But like all candy, it left you with too many cavities to fill in your head. Heather’s years of “searching” never looked to the future but rather the hippy 1960s.
I concluded I couldn’t live such a sticky sweet, moon-beam life. I get bent out of shape if I can’t pay my rent, find a job or keep the toilet plumbing humming. Prescriptions from the levitating class didn’t do it for me.
But I trudge onward, hoping for euphoria, and still trying to examine life.
Back to you, Plato. Where to from here?
Wize man that he was, the philosopher would say:
“Nothing in life comes close to a whooping good flush. When you know what’s piling up, everything else takes lesser priority to the ecstasy of becoming unplugged. Therefore:
FIX THE FUCKING FLUSH VALVE!”
Love it and forwarded to a long-time friend who is a Professor of Philosophy at the local institute of higher learning. He also loves it.