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Mindlessness and Mindfulness

In the midst of writing a lengthy post, it may eventually become my longest, about Socrates.

There’s no assurance that volume will equate with importance – most likely, the opposite. The post began as a book review and then grew to two books, then I reversed course and started over; it has been unusually slow going because the subject matter has forced me to stop periodically and uncomfortably rethink my assumptions – and then pick up new books. In one sense, there’s no hurry. After all, Socrates will still be just as relevant or not when I finish blogging about him than when I began. On the other hand, the spirit of our times calls out for Socrates’ techne logon, his “craftsmanship of reason”, so I keep plugging away at it.

The flip side to this intense focus has been an increasing desire for a little mindless entertainment. So, I started watching Sons of Anarchy of my iPad, Season One. So far, It’s fun:

The theme and setting is interesting and the characters and plot are generally more credulity-stretching than even The Soprano’s in their twilight seasons, but Sons of Anarchy fills the bill in terms of entertainment.Boardwalk Empire, is also supposed to be very good, even better, but one at a time.

What do you use as a diversion?

11 Responses to “Mindlessness and Mindfulness”

  1. Chris Says:

    I usually distract myself with science fiction of all types, both the trashy end of the spectrum (anything published by The Black Library is fair game) to the more thoughtful (Rama, Revelation Space, 2001 being some of my favourite series). I tend to keep TV watching to the morning, as I’m not usually one to read until my brain boots up, but Sons of Anarchy, Justified, The Walking Dead, Fringe (until it recently ended) and The Daily Show are staples.

  2. Critt Jaris Says:

    Liminal diversion, Boston. The Greatest Bar, Friend Street, 3rd floor, island bar, corner stool vantage point, Guinness in a hardened plastic glass and my brass spinning top. Works like any good chick magnet back in the day, the actors come to me.

  3. Justin Boland Says:

    Other projects.

  4. Rich Ganske Says:

    Game of Thrones or Homeland. Homeland can be quite asine at times, but you get overwhelmed by the characters within the story. Both are very good.

  5. Rich Ganske Says:


  6. slapout9 Says:

    I am also a rabid SOA fan but the most popular other distraction is anything written by the author John D. MacDonald. Link to a popular blog on JDM. If you ever wanted to know what is was like to grow up in Florida before it was invaded by all kinds of mouses this is the man to read. http://thetrapofsolidgold.blogspot.com/

  7. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    I’m a big fan of Sons of Anarchy.   I’ve made it through four seasons; is it on its fifth?   The fourth was a little irritating, because the paradigm is changing in a way that leaves whatever follows too open.

  8. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Incidentally, I’m always hesitant to become too serious about Socrates.  There’s always the question of separating Socrates from Plato, and whether you are writing about a historical figure or a created (but useful) character; and, how should you address that very question during any consideration of Socrates?  Comparative historical sources?  A review of others’ critical understanding (or guesswork) re: that question?
    Whenever I do reference or write about Socrates, I therefore just gloss him, using a “Curtis’s Socrates” model .  The point is, for me, that I’m going to use him as a foil either way.
    We have so many foils.  Even Socrates (or Plato) was not above using Homer and other authorities for making a point.

  9. zen Says:

    Hi Curtis,
    Socrates was almost certainly a real person. Too many other verifiable historical figures, not all of whom got on well together, who were his contemporaries wrote of him, making it virtually impossible Socrates was merely an invented literary device  of Plato’s. That said, Plato badly poisoned the well (this is one of the topics I am ruminating upon) though the picture would be clearer if more of the sources we know once existed had survived. There is always a liberal amount of guesswork in ancient history that would be fatal for a professional historian in more modern fields. 

  10. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Oh I don’t disagree that Socrates was an actual historical figure, only that certainty about our understanding of him arises. Other sources from the time provide some sketchy cross-reference, but there is some slight disagreement also.
    However, in the end, beyond basic physical facts such as appearance, marriage dynamics, approx. birth date and period of life, the most important features tend to be whatever comes down to us in the ideas, philosophy and method, and whether these are pure or skewed embellishment or more Plato’s makes little difference. (There is also the fact of his martyrdom, which may or may not be “important” depending on a subjective appreciation of its significance, that is all his.)
    Even so, the question of where the line is crossed is one that perturbs me.

  11. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:


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