Why am I trying to remember Plato? It was a dark green hardcover book. I took to reading outside of my course lists, rising every morning at 5am and reading for about 2 hours before getting ready to make the long trek to the university for my courses or teaching assignment. When I finished the Oxford Annotated Bible, I began Plato, naturally (and after him, well, Aristotle, who I found tedious, with his categorizations and namings). In the Fall of that year I read Plato cover to cover, and hardly remember it except of the wonder of worlds opening out. Though subsequently I felt I had the "Plato layer" somewhere in my psyche and would have some dim general idea whenever I came across a reference, or when reading Neo-Platonists.
The cave, and the chained, and the muted light, this I remember. Or the city of perfect people all with their perfect roles. The split of the soul into two halves each forever seeking each other. Transmigration of souls. Pure forms. And Socrates and the hemlock, oh yes. Plato really is two men anyhow, not one. He never was one man. Any philosopher would laugh at me.
This morning carrying a large chocolate-dipped apple that I was given for answering three silly Insurance Company questions (what might insurance be good for? is there a difference between an agent and a broker? oh ho ho my) and getting my picture taken I saw it, I'd never noticed before, down by the vault. Whoever uses it? The way the morning light rested on each of the horizontal lines. It looked like an industrial strength plastic flooring until closer and realizing it was marble. Light shone ethereally down those stairs, surely a representation of pure forms. Why do we have to find representations of what we're thinking about? Is that called pathetic fallacy? Walking by walls of marble tile and on floors of marble, it could almost be a cave. Not quite, but if you thought of the tremendous industry, hauling it all from the earth, cutting and polishing it, cementing it in...
Writers read everything, and readers of writers read everything, and I was doing a graduate degree in English Literature and was tired of references to basic works I hadn't read and so embarked on a wide-ranging and varied reading project... that went on for 10 years at almost a book a day - totally different to Fine Arts, which I also did a degree in, where mostly what you had to know was Art History, at least back then. I'm sure it didn't begin with Plato... so why is He popping up? And on marble staircases of all places.