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On Reviving Socrates

by Andrea Nicki

We could invent some technology
that could undo his death, revitalize ancient cells from the dust
and encourage him to couple with a modern-day Hypatia.
We could find genes associated with philosophical thinking,
engineer multiple embryos,
and use preimplantation genetic diagnosis to ensure that
Hypatia gives birth to philosophical octoplets.
Hypatia was by all accounts not only a great philosopher
but also a great mathematician and astronomer.
Further, she was known for her virtue and feminist boldness.
We could select genes associated with mathematical ability,
scientific analysis, virtue, and feminist boldness,
and engineer variety.
Socrates was also a great teacher, and a mentor of the young.
We could select genes associated with these skills.
There could be diverse philosophical offspring that could deepen
different areas of public life.
Finally, we could construct a new illness: ‘critical thinking deficit disorder’
and ensure all those suffering get free pharmaceuticals.
We could call the new miracle drugs ‘Socrac’ and ‘Hypac’
and combine these with counselling and support.

If this fails we could say a prayer:
“O Socrates, O Great Thinker, O Great Questioner,
O Challenger of the Youth, we beg you to reincarnate!
We will provide you with the best educators and counsellors.”

Or we could forego scientific and religious zeal
and require critical thinking courses from kindergarten
through to PhD,
teaching each human to think.

© Andrea Nicki 2011

Andrea Nicki teaches philosophy at SFU in Vancouver. Her first book of poetry, Welcoming (2009) is published by Inanna Press.

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