Ever feel like you’re just not going anywhere?

1 Inter labores voluntarios et exercitia corporis ad fortuitas patientiae vices firmandi id quoque accepimus Socraten facere insuevisse: 2 stare solitus Socrates dicitur pertinaci statu perdius atque pernox a summo lucis ortu ad solem alterum orientem inconivens, immobilis, isdem in vestigiis et ore atque oculis eundem in locum directis cogitabundus tamquam quodam secessu mentis atque animi facto a corpore.

–Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 2.1.1–2

Among his wonted labors and exercises for the strengthening of his body against chance trials of endurance we are told that Socrates also was accustomed to do the following: Socrates is said to have been accustomed to stand in a specific position through a whole day and a night from the crack of dawn to that of the next day without sleep, immobile, in the same spot and with his face and eyes fixed upon the same place, as if having separated his mind and spirit from his body, contemplative.

–Aulus Gellius, Attic* Nights 2.1.1–2

* The Attic of the title refers to the country around Athens.


Already in the fourth century B.C., Socrates’ most famous student and philosophical successor, Plato son of Ariston, showed a decline in the master’s pristine discipline, by often using a chair.

I’d like to try this some day. I’ll bet my friend Zak has already done it, and if not, would like to. Of course one would have to work up to it by an ascetical habit over time. Just going 24 hours awake without eating, while entertaining oneself, would take a lot of training.

Signifying his self-identification with Plato in the latter’s break from the practice of his philosophical master, Socrates, Steve in his thinking chair.

Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.