Though the authorship of Problems has been contested, I like to think it was Aristotle. It casts a different light on the nature of serious philosophical debate. It’s a book of questions that one might imagine jotted down subsequent to an after-hours party:
Why is it that it is not those who are very drunk that are most troublesome in their cups, but those who are only half blotto? Is it because they have neither drunk so little that they still resemble the sober nor so much that they are in the incapacitated state of those who have drunk deep? Further, those who are sober have more power of judgment, while those who are very drunk make no attempt to exercise their judgment; but those who are only half blotto can still exercise their judgment because they are not very drunk, but they exercise it badly because they are not sober, and they are ready to despise some of their neighbors and imagine that they are being slighted by others.
Yeah, those pesky half-drunks. I remember them well. But the questioning here really probes deep seated human issues:
Why is it that to those who are very drunk everything seems to revolve in a circle, and as soon as the wine takes hold of them they cannot see objects at a distance, and so this is used by some as a test of drunkenness? . . .
Why is it that to those who are drunk one thing at which they are looking sometimes appears to be many? . . .
Why is it that the tongue of those who are drunk stumbles? Is it because, just as the whole body staggars in drunkeness, so also the tongue stumbles and cannot articulate clearly? Or, is it because the flesh of the tongue is spongy ? It therefore becomes saturated and swells up . . .
Why is it that those who are drunk are incapable of having sexual intercourse? Is it because to do so a certain part of the body must be in a state of greater heat than the rest, and this is impossible in the drunken owing to the to the large quantity of heat present in the whole body; for the heat set up by the movement is extinguished by the greater surrounding heat, because they have in them a considerable quantity of unconcocted moisture?
Unconcocted moisture, the root of all human problems. Or was that sex?
Why is it that one who is having sexual intercourse, and also a dying person, casts his eyes upward, while the sleeper casts his eyes downward? . . .
Why do the eyes and buttocks of those who indulge too frequently in sexual intercourse sink very noticably, though the latter are near and the former far from the sexual organs? Is it because these parts co-operate very noticeably in the effort made in the act of coition, contracting at the point of emission of the semen? . . .
Why is it that those who desire to submit to sexual intercourse feel a great shame about confessing it, which they do not feel in confessing a desire for meat or drink or anything of that kind? Is it because the desire for most things is necessary and its non-satisfaction is sometimes fatal to life, but sexual desires proceed from something beyond mere necessity?
The Greeks obviously had lots of spare time, and inquiring minds.
Inquiring minds want to know!