Thales wet and dry

Thales, widely though somewhat arbitrarily designated the first western philosopher, was a walker.

And notorioiusly, a plunger. So caught up was he one day, lost in his ruminations about water being the font et origo of things, that he tripped and dipped.  “Drowning in the act of speculation,” John Lachs dryly notes.

The other side of the story, we always hasten to add, is that he was also sufficiently worldly-wise to corner the olive market when he wanted to.

Plato’s version had it that Thales fell into the drink because his gaze was fixed on the starry heavens. What exactly he was thinking is anyone’s guess.

What else do we know of Thales’ perambulations? Not much. But I think that’s enough, for my purposes. It’s good to contemplate the stars and the material nature of existence. It’s also good to keep our feet on terra firma.

Advertisements

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: