Slowcratic wisdom

Picture of Disho

Plato’s brother, Disho, was the sexiest of the ancient Greek philosophers. In a fit of jealous rage, Plato stole Disho’s ideas and erased his name from the history of philosophical tableware. No one knows to this day whether Slowcrates was a real person or Disho’s invention.

But what we do know was that Slowcrates hung about in the city square and ask passers-by awkward questions. Annoyingly, these questions took a long time to answer.

Nothing irritates a person like asking them to explain why they do the things they do. Most people of course shunned him. They accused Slowcrates of corrupting the youth of Athens. Yet a few who stopped to talk with him started thinking about what it would be like to slow down and not do so many things. Some even became philosophers with magnificent beards.

A typical day looked like this.

SLOWCRATES: Ah, Puffo, where are you going so quickly?

PUFFO: Slowcrates, how are you?

SLOWCRATES: Same old, same old. You know, asking questions and pondering things slowly.

PUFFO: Well, I don’t have time for indolence today. I must go to the auction.

SLOWCRATES: And why the need for such haste?

PUFFO: There is a horse I am keen to purchase, and if I am late, someone else may buy it.

SLOWCRATES: A horse, you say. Have you not already a horse, Puffo?

PUFFO: Indeed, I have.

SLOWCRATES: Then can you not ride only one at a time?

PUFFO: That is true. But the more horses I have, the more people look up to me as a man of worth and ostentation. If I changed my horse as often as I changed my chiton, I shall be held in high regard.

SLOWCRATES: I see your point. And I must say you look resplendent in your flowery chiton. It is unusual.

PUFFO: Oh dear, I rushed from the apothecary’s and forgot to change out of my medical gown.

SLOWCRATES: Be careful, Puffo, this is ancient Greece. Exposing your bottom in public may not bring you the renown you seek.

PUFFO: You are indeed wise, Slowcrates. I cannot go to the auction looking like this.

SLOWCRATES: Then sit down with your back to this column and maintain your modesty while we talk. Now you say you already have a horse. What is it about that horse that pleases you?

PUFFO: It takes me to where I want to go.

SLOWCRATES: Could not you travel on foot?

PUFFO: I could, but it would take more time.

SLOWCRATES: And do you suffer from time poverty?

PUFFO: I do.

SLOWCRATES: So riding a horse would give you more time than if you walked.

PUFFO: Exactly.

SLOWCRATES: Does it not take time to buy the horse; to
feed and exercise the horse, and to maintain the stable, and pay your servant to groom the horse, and to purchase a saddle and other sundries?

PUFFO: It does indeed, and that is why I need a new and faster horse to make up for the time I spend in this way.

SLOWCRATES: And would not this new horse take just as much maintenance? Would you not now be even more time-poor?

PUFFO: I shall not engage with you further on this irritating line of thinking. There is another reason for buying a horse. I show that I am a man of substance and can afford such a beast. A horse shows I am to be admired.

SLOWCRATES: And what is it to be admired?

PUFFO: Never mind! I don’t have time to talk drivel with you anymore. If you persist in asking such questions, there will be consequences.

And Puffo went off to change into something more comfortable.

Slowcrates was not liked for his slow ways. In the end, the populace got so fed up with his questions that they demanded his death. Although his friends could have helped him escape from the city, he bravely decided that anything but a slow lifestyle was not worth living. He drank a cup of really strong tea, which killed him.

Most of Disho’s naughty writings have been lost to the ravages of time. However, slow scholars are familiar with the Relaxic, which spelled out a perfect slow society ruled by those of a tranquil mind.