The sad man surprised me with his story about the dialogue between Socrates and Ion. The Euripedes’ magnetic stone of Heraclea was quite interesting. I decided right then and there that I would have to read about it and decide for myself if the sad man’s insight was correct.
Yet there was one more thing that he wanted to tell me about.
I patiently waited and, once again, he did not disappoint me.
“I wish that Socrates’ insights would have explained it all. However, they did not.”
“I still wanted to search for my original thought. I was driven to search even though my original thought may not have been original. I remained convinced that it was not an inspired one but just as original as I thought. Earlier today, as I sat here under this pine tree, I remembered a discussion that Socrates had with Meno.”
“It was a discussion regarding mimesis; the mimicking of things that had existed previously. The dialogue between Socrates and Meno took on the connotation of the Idea; the original thing. I think of it in simpler terms.”
“An Idea is what happens when original man sat on the ground and placed his food on a rock next to where he sat. The rock is the original Idea for a table. An observer sees this and is inspired to make a table from a wooden slab. A second observer adds legs to the table and the mimeses has modified the original Idea into unrecognizable form. The Idea starts and the chain of magnetic rings begins.”
“Where did the original Idea come from? A muse? The Gods? Why did original man put his food on the rock table? Is there instinct born into us? A hound has the instinct to track rabbits. Is there some instinct in us that creates the Idea?”
“One of Socrates dialogues speaks of an uneducated slave. The slave had overheard someone speak of a geometric problem. The slave quickly solved it.”
“How did he correctly answer a difficult puzzle of geometry? How does the slave do this? Does he have an instinct of geometry? Did he carry this from a previous life? Is he now oblivious to that previous life? Is this where instinct comes from?”
“This morning, right under this pine tree, all those thoughts came rushing back. It was only then that I became horrified about my quest.”
“Even if I thought that I had an original thought, and lost it, the thought could not have been original. It must have been a mimesis created from something I saw in the library or a previous life. It was not an Idea in its original sense. It was a result of my own conceit that I viewed this lost mimesis as my own essence; an original and lost thought.”
“What had I done? I had spent my life chasing other people’s dreams.”
“The libraries, museums, institutions of learning; was all of it a wasted life? I would have been better off not meeting that little blond girl. I could have lived in the woods. Maybe that was an original Idea, an instinct, a drive caused by a previous life; living as a woodsman.”
“At that moment I knew that I never had an original thought. In fact no one in this post-modern world has an original thought. Thoughts are a mimesis of our world as we represent it to ourselves. What had I done? What had I done?”
Again the sad man burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably. I let the emotion subside before I gave him a thought of my own. Surely my thought was not original either. However, it was the best thought I could offer at the time.
I finally interrupted his story to add my own viewpoint.