Some have said that all of western thought is a footnote to Plato. But what if western thought were a person? What would this individual think? How would he or she behave?
In Spanking Plato, a satirical, funny, and irreverent story, I have personified Western Thought—also known as Wes or Wesley Thought—as one who is confused, and angry because history considers him a mere footnote to Plato. After all, as he says, he was around long before Plato. He also is angry because some many other historical people like Aquinas and Aristotle have put words in his mouth. As a result, he is confused about who he is and suffers an identity crisis. He seeks the help of a therapist.
This series of therapeutic sessions shows the various interventions used by the therapist are ineffective and useless. Psychoanalytic therapy doesn’t work; behavioral therapy is unsuccessful; cognitive therapy is useless. The therapist can’t even find the correct DSM IV code for his disorder.
During these sessions, Wes complains at length and loudly about such people as Socrates, whom he views as a doddering old man continually annoying people with questions that set them up.
When Socrates enters the marketplace, the crowds part from him like the Red Sea parting for the Israelites. When Socrates walks down the street, innocent Athenian citizens thinking to themselves, “Oh my God! It’s Socrates!” run either in the opposite direction or across the street.
Wesley is unclear as to whether the crowd is avoiding Socrates’ questions or his unwashed toga.
According to Thought, Socrates claimed to have married his wife, Xantippe, to help him develop the virtue of patience. Of course, no one has ever said why Xantippe married Socrates. Perhaps she thought she could get out of doing the laundry.
Thought has especially harsh words about people like Augustine and John Calvin. He considers Calvin to be a high strung, anally retentive man who has an oil drill bit reamed up his butt. Calvin possesses the personality of a Marine Drill Instructor and the intelligence of a Tea Party voter.
He is especially incensed about his sister, Eastern Thought, whom he thinks is a spacey airhead who belongs in the “Void” she is always seeking. His family has disowned him because they believe he represents what people are saying about him.
A cynical story, Spanking Plato describes Thought’s frustration about how he has been misunderstood and misrepresented throughout history. Will he discover who he is?