Phyllis et Aristotles

11 05 2011

ONCE upon a time, Aristotle taught Alexander that he should restrain himself from frequently approaching his wife, who was very beautiful, lest he should impede his spirit from seeking the general good. Alexander acquiesed to him. The queen, when she perceived this and was upset, began to draw Aristotle to love her. Many times she crossed paths with him alone, with bare feet and disheveled hair, so that she might entice him.

At last, being enticed, he began to solicit her carnally. She says,

“This I will certainly not do, unless I see a sign of love, lest you be testing me. Therefore, come to my chamber crawling on hand and foot, in order to carry me like a horse. Then I’ll know that you aren’t deluding me.”

When he had consented to that condition, she secretly told the matter to Alexander, who lying in wait apprehended him carrying the queen. When Alexander wished to kill Aristotle, in order to excuse himself, Aristotle says,

If thus it happened to me, an old man most wise, that I was deceived by a woman, you can see that I taught you well, that it could happen to you, a young man.”

Hearing that, the king spared him, and made progress in Aristotle’s teachings.

AND they lived happily ever after. Source


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8 responses

14 05 2011
sancrucensis

The Lenin quotes are nice, but what foundation does he really have for them in his materialist anthropology? Really existing socialism was quick to recognize the utility of that particular brand of opium (just think of the FKK movement in East Germany–whose influence was that supposed to serve?). You can say what you like about Thomist anthropology and ethics, but at least they don’t play into the hands of the simulacra gentium to the extent that materialism does.

As for Radical Orthodxy: fair enough. When the clerico-fascist empire of my dreams comes I will put you and them in the same concentration camp. No, seriously, you are obviously right that a new wave of clerical fascism (however desirable in itself ;)) is totally unrealistic, but, as you well know, we happen to believe in a literally eschatalogical Kingdom which will make all that irrelevant when it comes.

13 05 2011
Arturo Vasquez

You might be suprised to know that Lenin almost felt the same way.

And really, Radical Orthodoxy is such a bore. Pretentious, convoluted philosophizing just to say the same thing people have always said. Zizek hanging out with these folks just shows how much of an intellectual clown the Slovenian philosopher can be.

13 05 2011
sancrucensis

Yeah, one can of course put the shoe of “you really only think x because of moral incontinence or power-hunger or whatever” on either foot. In fact one can keep switching feet indefinitely. If we want to talk about “influence” then why don’t we reflect on whose “influence” the alternative to the Aristotelian view of virtue serves. You say it yourself in your Gramschi post: capitalism. Sexual “liberation” is bourgeois oppression and the new opium of the masses (cf. v. amusing analysis here: http://theotherjournal.com/2008/06/04/three-questions-on-modern-atheism-an-interview-with-john-milbank/).
This shoe switching will never come to an end since the “he only believs x because of sordid explanation y” argument only convinces people who are already convinced on other grounds anyway. So maybe we should just go barefoot; sorry for my original insinuation, which (as you probably guessed) was not entirely in earnest.

13 05 2011
Arturo Vasquez

What a tragedy, then, huh? As the Catholic Church has given up the fight for political hegemony and influence, the only way it can try to influence people now is by saying: “we have the true secret to being a human being!” Not that anyone believes that rubbish. They should have just stuck to sending wayward clerics to monasteries and censoring books.

I would say that such “personalism” will lead to a new wave of clerical fascism, but it won’t be the case in this country, and the Church is dying off in Europe faster than you can say, “Benedicamus Domino”. Indeed, even in the Front National in France, which I have no doubt is still full of Lefebvrists and other cranks, the operative term is “laïcité”: neither the mullah’s turban, nor the Pope’s mitre. (Maybe it would help if he started wearing the tiara again.)

13 05 2011
cantueso

I heard a somewhat different story.

Aristotle was Alexander’s teacher and told him to stay away from that pretty Phyllis.

Phyllis heard about this recommendation and took action. She went and danced and sang in the garden under Aristotle’s window.

Aristotle plum fell for her, and she said she would like to have him crawl on all four around the garden and let her ride on his back.
Aristotle complied and Alexander watched them and later told the philosopher what he thought of it.

Apparently the story was particularly popular in the Middle Ages based on a French troubadour’s version called Le Lai d’Aristote, according to http://etudesculturelles.blogspot.com/2008/04/le-lai-daristote_22.html.

12 05 2011
sancrucensis

I love his “I told you so” Response to Alexander. It’s actually quite a modest response. He wasn’t one to jump to conclusions. Bouncier thinkers whose blogs I read 😉 would probably say something like: “OMG, my idea that right reason can order the passions has been proved to be an illusion! This destroys my hylomorphic anthropology! Ži…I mean Empedocles was right; man is not an ensouled body, he’s organs without a body and the violent force of reason…”

12 05 2011
C. Wingate

Always the teachable moment.

11 05 2011
venuleius

I always knew I liked Aristotle more than Plato.

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