The Philosophers, or a Sequel to Aristophanes’ The Clouds

On the whirling gas planet Orestian, three outlawed philosophers, Sopilates, Forkon, and Wristoles, stood by the main-stairs of the Temple of Festian to discuss, question, analyse poke and prod the last nagging paradox in their corpus. “My brothers”, whispered Sopilates the One-Who-Questions, looking one last time over his shoulders, lest the Cynic police and their unthinking brutes approach unexpectedly.“ We must now ask the unaskable, resolve the irreconcilable, critique the uncriticizable. What is that accursed thing which nags each man and woman, drags them forwards, up the jagged hill now, down the damned dale then, which men lisp her ugly or beautiful name as famous fortune or feisty fate. Who can explain her bounteous hips, or behold her curvacious body; why will a pigeon on this poor man shit, and another let a clean life live? Why will this fatso a mighty drop down the temple stairs fall, but another walk unscathed? Oh, philsopher-brothers, who can answer me, who?!. My soul aches and my soles ache.” So questioned Sopilates, as was his wont, as he sat down with agonizing relief to hear his learned friend Forkon spout wisdom of the ages. “Dear teacher, if you cannot answer this question, who can!? It was you, as I recall with great philosophical joy, who discovered that wateriness was nothing more than a certain quality, a certain waterness, a watery watertude and thereby pushed the philosophical boulder to its glorious pinnacle, where it now sits anxiously overlooking our city-state, ever-ready to crush the feeble-minded . This knowledge was so impressive, so earth-shattering that many whispers floated upon the uneasy waves of the city of your corruption of the youth and their drinking. Boys were said, breath-batedly, to know that which they drunk, and nevermore just to drink that which they drunk. Without this knowledge, Orestian would surely have collapsed from its brutish, childish ignorance. Your courage to define words and phrases when most men were content merely to, I blush to say, use them will surely ring greatness throughout the centuries. But let me now wager my mind on the riddle. It is not Fate with which we should concern ourselves, for fate is but an illusion, a shadowy tale, a wag of a dog’s tail, a horse’s sneeze, and other ephemera brewed by the deceitful wind and the laughing trees. We should rather concentrate, if our big, big minds will let us, on the form of fate.” As soon as Forkon mentioned the word “form”, the two other philosophers’ jaws dropped, astounded at this penetrating insight of reality, as though the blackest curtain had been drawn to reveal the sunniest sun. “Yes brothers, the form”. Again the word smacked awe and admiration on the cherry faces of the thinkers, and the clouds glowed brighter. The philosophers once more checked over their shoulders suspiciously, lest the youth were corrupted by the true nature of reality, and the thinkers locked up in a dingy cell for their pigheaded devotion to the sweet tit of truth. And then, just when it seemed the paradox had been utterly resolved by the word form, Wristoles, the youngest and fairest of the three brains who happened to have bodies, stood up and puffed his chest, drank some watery water and told it, it being the truthy truthness, as it was. “ It is not just the form, comrades-in-books, it is the form instantiated in the matter.” Words fail to describe the delight of the philosophers at this golden revelation. It was as if a cosmic phallus had finally impregnated his once-barren nebula, who on the verge of stellar separation. had finally produced a healthy, cheerful galaxy. “If the form is instantiated in the matter, we may only find the truth by empirical means; our eyes and ears must, like that great poet of old, Foamer the Waterer, sing to us the tune of truth and beat out the rhythm of reason. And so our philosophers looked around themselves, looked in the temple, looked in the courthouse but truth eluded them, or more specifically the form instantiated in the matter could not be seen. Until the moment came where the author of this work revealed himself in his own work, right now, presenting himself in the form of a black cloud, and told, instructed and wrote down, that the philosophers did indeed find the form instantiated in the matter.