For if one is willing to listen to Socrates’ arguments, they’d appear quite ridiculous at first; they’re wrapped round on the outside with words and phrases like the hide of an outrageous satyr. He talks about packasses and smiths and cobblers and tanners, and forever appears to be saying the same things in the same ways, so that an inexperienced and unreasonable man might ridicule his arguments. But if the arguments are opened, and one sees them from the inside, he will find first that they are the only arguments with any sense in them, and next, that they contain within themselves utterly divine and multitudinous images of virtue, and that they are relevant to most or rather to all things worth considering for one who intends to be noble and good.
—Alcibiades’ Speech, 222a, Plato, Symposium
Literature, real literature, must not be gulped down like some potion which may be good for the heart or good for the brain—the brain, that stomach of the soul. Literature must be taken and broken to bits, pulled apart, squashed—then its lovely reek will be smelt in the hollow of the palm, it will be munched and rolled upon the tongue with relish; then, and only then, its rare flavor will be appreciated at its true worth and the broken and crushed parts will again come together in your mind and disclose the beauty of a unity to which you have contributed something of your own blood.
—Nabokov, Lectures on Russian Literature, p. 105
No specific systems of analysis in these here hidden connections which I discovered while researching a very short piece I wanted to write—when Socrates saved Alcibiades’ life at Potidaea—here there are just metaphors, but both of them essentially say, in their own way, to consider things slowly and closely, to look at what’s taken for granted from new and different angles, to keep thinking and asking questions.
The paragraph on Potidaea will be forthcoming; far less analytical, far more action-packed.