The Ecphorizer

Schadenfreude
Philip Hughes

Issue #16 (December 1982)

"Look," Plato directed the attention of another in chains, also facing the back wall of the cave. "Only shadows, all that we observe flit by so engagingly."

The other, having no option, awaited the rest of the reflection.

"Moments of lucid apprehension such as this proceed routinely from the a priori method of induction. For instance, consider: behind us, The Light; before us, necessarily, illusion. Since direct witnessing of the truth is not granted us, we must perforce exercise what capacity we have that is unfettered, namely the ability to reflect and figure. Personally speaking, I find such exercise to offer consolation beyond all other conceivable pleasures." He paused and played contentedly with his beard.

"Dark areas you spelunk," replied the man, politely, meanwhile turning a hand to shadow mime: "'Rabbit Ears.'... I see what you contemplate. And yet, substance seems lacking. Most notable before us loom our own blurred adumbrations - 'Bird in Flight' - without which: no contrasting notion of The Light ...'Crash Landing'"; he gave his wrists a flip. "Only vague foreshadowings penumbras of the expressible."

The elder philosopher reflected, then sighed, then reflected again and offered "Great gods, you're right! Where is one's delight in transcendental cogitation? Assure me, partner in shadows, what pleasure can be held to remain for us in this our grotty existence?"

With a shrug, the other raised his hands: "...'Ducks Quacking' ...." 

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Philip Hughes




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