I remember.

I remember us sitting there at three o'clock, four o'clock in the morning, clutching our cups of instant coffee, and arguing.

I don't know why, but people always seemed to gather in our room, mine and Liz's, at the end of the evening. Sitting on the beds, the chairs, the floor, drinking coffee and trying to come up with the meaning of life.

We were all young enough then to believe that we really would discover it. Girls and boys of eighteen and nineteen, passionate, idealistic.

And as the other voices grew silent, there was just you and me, still arguing.

We always seemed to be on the opposite sides of any question, however trivial, and we debated our points with thoroughness and vigor. You would state, I riposte, you declare, and I deny. I can't remember if we ever reached a single conclusion about anything, but Gods, it was fun!

We would be there, our eyes locked on each other, gesturing, becoming more and more emphatic, drawing energy from one another. The others, sitting and looking on, sometimes wincing at some particularly sharp comment or plangent point.

Your eyes were blue I remember, your hair so very blond.

Anne would move closer to you as we got more involved in the discussion, lean her head on your shoulder. Nicholas' arm would go around me, and pull me close. Both of them, staking their claim, sensing the frisson between you and I, attributing it to sex rather than the way your piercing intelligence would undo or invigorate me, the way my merciless analysis of your points would spur you on to ever greater feats of creativity.

I loved your mind, but I never loved you.

You were stimulated by my wit, not my face and body.

Except..... just once.....

Christmas, and there was mistletoe hung over the door. Anne had fallen asleep, and I showed you out. You looked up at the mistletoe and grinned. "Well?" you said. I leaned in for a quick kiss, but somehow, it didn't turn out quick.

Your hands held my shoulders and pulled me towards you. Our lips opened, and our tongues met. You slipped your arms round me and pulled me tight against you, and my hands went up, and twined gently around your neck. The kiss just went on, and on, and on...

When it broke, finally, we were both flustered. Your hands caught mine, your thumbs stroking over the backs of my fingers. Then, suddenly, you dropped them, took a step back.

"Um, bad idea" You said.

I nodded. "Very bad"

"I should go"

I nodded again.

"Pity though. Wrong place, wrong time."

I nodded a third time, and you left.

No-one ever guessed, but afterwards, from time to time, in the middle of an exchange, you would smile for no reason, and I would echo the smile.

I remember.

Your piercing intelligence would undo or invigorate me
or both
But certainly pierce

And who am I to think that I know
what is best for myself
I know more what is best for the Plan and the Palace
and less what is best for the Path

So I linger at the end of your knife
and it comes down to the push and pull
of one fear or another

In the end it is the warmth of your skin that draws me in
through the blade
slicing home to the pressure in the bone

If you prove the statues can't hear us move together
I may stop apologizing for the blood on the marble

An excellent term to describe the Socratic method of examination of various facets of human existence. By the use of sharp, ever more detailed questions, the questioner attempts to lift the veil of secrecy over aspects of skill and perceived professionalism by the questioned. Although considered by some to be an invasive means of determining information, use of this technique can prove most handy in attempting to distill the truth about concepts both abstract and practical.

On a personal note during my time as an undergraduate and up to the present I have attempted to use this method to determine the reality of the world around me. However the most memorable times regarding question and answer, charge and counter charge, had to be during periods when I faced interrogation and replied in turn. The very best debates are like two frenzied boars tearing into each other, attempting to find a weak point in each other's hides. In the end though such debates often proved fruitless as both sides would entrench and prove unable to successfully reach any conclusions or compromises. The ground uncovered during these intellectual feuds though was quite impressive, for those seeking to gain enlightenment I recommend whole heartedly using this method of mutual Socratic evaluation.

Of course one must also realize that when engaging in intense personal debate there are rare occasions where one can achieve a free flowing ecstasy of thought. By that I refer to the moments when ones ideas merge with the partner or partners one is debating with and mutually build off each other. As each person contributes the structure of thought grows and leads those in debate to links previously unexplored. More commonly though the ecstasy that comes from this experience is more basic in nature, simple animalistic blood lust cloaked in the mantle of intellectual debate.

Note it is recommended that should one engage in such intense soul searching not to do so when speaking to oneself. As one of the people who talks to himself on occasion I can safely say doing so assures that no one will come near you when out in public. Then again, the question one must then address, using proper Socratic method if you wish, is why do we, as humans, crave social acceptance.

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