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Memories of the 28th Century

Character Abduction

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Recently I was writing a story about Harry visiting Atlantis, and Plato entered into the story for obvious reasons, and that got me to thinking about using people and characters as characters. That was especially true, when I was trying to use Socrates as a character also, but that didn't work out, because his execution came too early in Plato's career. But that didn't stop me from wondering what Socrates was actually like in the real world. That was after I realized that I didn't think much of Socrates, but I admired Plato greatly.

After writing the story, I read some more about Plato, and I found that the general opinion seems to be that Plato used Socrates as a character, rather than showing him as he was in life. I suspect that was a major degradation of Socrates, because he was a rather notable philosopher himself. Perhaps Plato's opinion of him changed over the years. Socrates died when Plato was about twenty-five, but Plato founded his Academy in 387 BCE, when he was about forty, and most of his writing was after that, and Aristotle didn't become a student until about 367 BCE, but apparently Socrates did use the Socratic method of questioning people to make them realize things themselves.

Plato was a very interesting person, and he dreamed up some ideas that are still current or useful, at least. Apparently he was really proud of his world of forms, but that seems almost comical now, but it does seem useful in describing how people recognize things. I remember having a dream in which I saw many kinds of things defined by their difference for an ordinary brown bottle. If that as close as we can get to a perfect form, then there is a problem, but there is a database like that in our minds that shows the differences in things.

All that thinking about Plato and Socrates made me think that it is a great pity that Socrates was opposed to writing, but he was right that writing would cause memories to deteriorate, but writing allows one to live forever in words, and to travel to far places. Although Socrates also lives still in written words; ironic, isn't it?

But Socrates also neglected the Gods, and we know that the Gods are very important, but I expect that the Gods were very happy with Socrates and satisfied that he was not devoted to them.

Creating characters is like the database of beer bottles. We can start with one sort of ideal and change the character by parts, until we have kneaded him or her into the character that we need. There are ready made, stock, characters, but starting from Edgar Allen Poe can be more interesting. One way or another, they are all abducted, carried off from another place, and inserted into our story with the changes that we deem appropriate.

The real world has more variety than we can ever use, but finding the real characters is hit or miss. Charles Sanders Peirce was a great modern philosopher, but he never published in his lifetime; he gave lectures are Harvard, and he was mostly known through notes that people made, but more recently his original works have been edited and published (see link below). But I used him a few times also. I have to read more of his works.
By the way, I used the term "abduction" here, in part because Peirce used it in some of his works.