Sober and Drunk

Socrates, The Louvre

Socrates, The Louvre

Is it true Socrates said
we should argue every problem
sober and then drunk? Well fed
then hungry? Free then enslaved? When
we try to ascertain truth,
historical or otherwise,
science, engineering, math–
is the answer that we all prize
irrefutable? Will all
bow down to its logic, reason,
pertinence? Or will it fail
to win the imagination,
hearts as well as minds–dreamers
as well as the philosophers?

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, May 18, 2013

4 thoughts on “Sober and Drunk

  1. In the opposites we see different sides of a question or situation, often highly contrasting answers to the questions. How true in so many areas. You often see people who dismiss others questions or feeling, when thrown into a similar situation will say, “never again will I….” Logic will never understand emotion., and scientific discoveries often come from drams.


    • Interesting. I think I read the poem differently, which, of course, poetry invites. I heard Socrates arguing that the truth would dawn on those who knew not only sobriety (the prevailing “wisdom” or conventional way of seeing), but drunkenness; not only being sated but hungry for something more; not only in the state of one’s own presumed “freedom” but also one’s own or others’ enslavement. What do you think? They’re all metaphors.


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