My discourse proceeds in the following way: each term is sustained only in its topological relation with the others.

Jacques Lacan | Book XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis


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  • LX:58 | The Thinkpot (Thinking Thoughts At)

LX:58 | The Thinkpot (Thinking Thoughts At)

Strepsiades:

Fine!  I’m not taking this trip-up lying down.
I’ll wing a prayer and go off to the Thinkpot myself for training.
But how is an old relic like me,
forgetful and lumbering, going to master the art
of logic chopping and hairsplitting?

{starts walking again}

But I’ve got to go.

{He reaches the hut of the Thinkpot and stands wavering outside.}

Why am I shilly-shallying like this?
Why don’t I just knock on the door?

{He bangs on the door, shouting.}

Hey, boy!  Boyakins!

First Pupil: {from inside}

Go to blazes, whoever’s banging on my door!

{He opens the door.}

Strepsiades:

Strepsiades son of Phidon, from Cicynna.

First Pupil:

A real dumbo, by God!  Kicking the door down and causing a thought to miscarry!

Strepsiades:

Please excuse me.  My home’s in the country, but do tell me about the thought that’s got miscarried.

First Pupil:

To tell anyone not a pupil is a sacrilege.

Strepsiades: 

Oh don’t bother!
I’ve really come to the Thinkpot to be a pupil myself.

First Pupil:

All right, I’ll tell you but you’ve got to realize this is holy stuff - hush-hush.
Socrates has just been asking Chaerephon on how many of its own feet a flea can jump.
You see, a flea just bit Chaerephon’s eyebrow and then jumped onto Socrate’s pate.

Strepsiades:

And Socrates is measuring the terrain?

First Pupil:

Yes, he melted some wax,
took the flea, and dipped its feet in it
so when the wax cooled
the flea had fancy Persian slippers on.
These he removed to measure the distance.

Strepsiades:

Lord above, what subtlety!

First Pupil: 

Like to hear another brilliant idea of Socrates?

Strepsiades: 

Another?  I can’t wait.

First Pupil:

Chaerephon of Sphettus asked him
what his position on gnats was:
do they whine from their mouths or their bottoms?

Strepsiades: 

So?  What did he say about the gnat?

First Pupil: 

The gnat’s inside is narrow, he affirmed,
so the air gets pressed through a restricted space rumpwards,
and because of the force of the wind
the arsehole’s opening to the narrow passage
lets out a tune.

Strepsiades: 

So the bottom becomes a trumpet?
Three cheers for such sharp-sightedness!
Anyone with such an intimate knowledge of a gnat’s inside has to be an invincible defendant.

First Pupil:

Yes, and he’s just had another wonderful insight, but ’twas snatched away by a lizard.  

Strepsiades:

Really?  Do tell me.

First Pupil:

He was scrutinizing the byways of the moon,
gazing upwards in the dark with his mouth open
when a gecko shat on him from the ceiling.

Strepsiades:

Oh I like that:  a gecko shitting on Socrates!

First Pupil:

And yesterday when we had nothing to eat for dinner…

Strepsiades: 

What?  He wangled something?

First Pupil:

He sprinkled a layer of ash on the table,
tried to use a bent skewer for a compass,
then produced a gay he’d picked up from the wrestling school and undressed him.

Strepsiades:

And we think Thales was a marvel!

{They walk to the entrance of the Thinkpot.}

Open up, open up, open the Thinkpot
and show me this Socrates at once;
I’m crazy to know more.
Come on, open up the door!


Source

Aristophanes.  "Clouds."  Aristophanes: The Complete Plays.  Trans. Roche, Paul.  New American Library, 2005.  139 - 41. 


See Also

Lexicon Entries

The Most Basic Sphere of Concern is Schooling

Works and Days

 

Documents

 


Notes

The name of my Maryland studio is The Thinkpot - a reference to this play.  See About

Tags: Aristophanes

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