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Come one, Come all!  We're having a festival!

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It is not really true that Western Philosophy starts with Plato’s Republic, but it is certainly true that the Republic starts with a festival.  The great games were being held in Athens, and Socrates was walking towards them with a few friends, when they are stopped by Polemarchus and asked to instead come to his house and charm them with his big ideas about truth and stuff.  Socrates acknowledges Polemarchus’ kind appreciation of his flow, but demurs, stating he really wants to see the taught young bodies hurl themselves over horses as they pass burning torches in the darkness (as is promised at the festival), and that maybe they can hang some other time. 

Polemarchus then points out at that his bros and him are simply in larger numbers than Socrates' paltry posse, and unless he wants things to get ugly, he should do as they say.  Socrates responds that he will use logic, then, to argue Polemarchus out of this unnecessarily intimidating position, and show him that it is best that Socrates get the opportunity to party as he'd planned.  Polemarchus responds that if Socrates tries that, he will simply put cotton in his ears and refuse to listen to Socrate’s appeals.


Socrates thus finds himself at a loss.  He looks to Glaucon, and Glaucon looks back.  Besides, tosses in Polemarchus, the festival goes deep into the night, we just want you to entertain us with truth over dinner. 

Socrates looks back at his buddies; Glaucon is there and shrugs, Plato is there, and as always, is writing, documenting the whole thing as it happens.  (That's Plato ... always listening, always recording, almost invisible as he makes the rest visible to history).

"Very good” says Socrates, and they relent.

Born out of this moment of masculine intimidation is nothing less than the most well studied backroom rave conversation of all time.  A society is built and crumbles, people are stratified and amalgamated, souls rise and evaporate.  We never get to hear about what happens next: Do they eventually get to the horse events?  Who hooks up with whom?  Does Polemarchus use Socrates’ insights to do anything of value for anyone, excluding his own amusement?

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