On Wednesday April 7 I received an email from Mr Krása, who invited me in the name of the Czech Platonic Society to present a paper at the XIII Symposium Platonicum Pragense, which will be devoted to Plato’s Phaedrus and will take place on November 3-5 in Prague. I was elated.
On April 11, I wrote to a friend of mine: ‘I opened my e-mails at ten this evening, just after my breakfast. This is not a mistake. I completely lost the sense of time. For after I wrote to you my last letter, I began to write my contribution for the Prague Symposium. And it just grabbed me. I wrote, went to sleep, woke up, started to write again, shaved, had a bath combined with massaging my whole body, went to bed again, woke up, worked a bit on my ‘Dating of the Phaedrus’, went to bed. Woke up, did some more work, cooked my breakfast, worked some more, went to bed, woke up, worked some more, went shopping, which I combined with a decent bit of cycling, went to bed, woke up, worked again, made my supper, worked again, went for a night walk, went to bed again, woke up, made my bath, worked again, went to bed, woke up at about eight in the morning – or so I thought. I was surprised that it was rather dark for eight in the morning, ‘it must be very cloudy’, I thought, and began to prepare my breakfast. When I looked at the window again, it began to be seriously dark. Only then I realized that it wasn’t a quarter past eight in the morning, but in the evening.’
When I finished the paper, I wanted to time my reading it aloud. I read the first sentence and had to stop timing. I had to rewrite the sentence, too many words, I wanted it terse. I started again, and the same happened with my second, the with my third sentence. At that point I realized that I must revise the paper. The revision took three or four days. I started reading it aloud and timing. It was better, but after being forced to make changes again, I stopped the timing and revised it again. This time I decided to read it aloud without timing, leaving as much time ass was needed for the final revision. When I finished it, I read it aloud in one go, was happy, timed it, shortened it to get into the prescribed 30 minutes.
I read it aloud again, and again, until I was happy with my reading. I wated for more than 40 years for the opportunity to present this paper to academics for discussion. The discussion period will be for 40 minutes. I am looking forward to it.
Until this point all my Greek quotations were written in italics. But being really happy with it, I decided to change the italics into the authentic Greek script. It was quite a job, for I haven’t used the SPionic for years. I managed in the end, and was very happy with it.
Then I began to write a Czech version of my paper on Plato for the Symposium. I began by translating the English version, but since the Czech version is not designed to be read at the Symposium, I felt free to discuss points, which I could not do in the English version because of the 30 minutes time constraint. And new points compelled me to quote some Greek. To my amazement, the SPionic did not allow me to print any Ancient Greek characters. It appeared to function as if designed for the modern Greek. At that moment I realised how lucky I was that I succeeded in rewriting all my quotations in the Ancient Greek alphabet.
It made me sad, when I realised that from now on there was to be no possibility of quoting Ancient Greek on the internet. I spoke about it to a friend; I told him I was about to write about it on my blog. But before committing myself to the intended post, I tried it again. And to my amazement, it worked. I thought of writing a post on ‘Lucky, sad, happy’, but then I was distracted by other things, reading English detective stories aloud, just to keep my voice in good condition. For week or two I did not touch any Greek. But today I returned to my Czech version.
I was explaining that in the Palinode Plato responded to the challenge raised by Aristophanes’ last choric antistrophe in the Frogs. The chorus maintains that when he ceased writing tragedies, he threw away and abandoned the greatest art. In the Palinode Plato shows that philosophy is the greatest art (mousikȇ).
I went on to explain that Plato in the Palinode indicates that as a philosopher he was destined to be the ruler. Thus, at 246e Zeus, the great leader, travels first, leading the train of his followers, and ordering all things in cosmos; at 250b1-7 Plato says that before their incarnation the souls, which were to become philosophers, viewed the Forms in the company of Zeus. He becomes personal: ‘we beheld with our eyes that blessed vision, ourselves in the train of Zeus’. I wanted to type the crucial words in SPionic: e9po/menoi meta_ me_n Dio_j h9mei=j – but it did not work. Then I began to write this post, and suddenly, SPionic appears to work again.
But when I then returned to my Czech text, the SPionic didn’t work with the Czech font used as the basis.
The computer does not allow me to save this text among my documents: ‘UPLOAD BLOCKED’. And so I shall copy the text and try to put it on my blog as my next post. Will that work?