HumpDay Quickie #81

Posted: October 14, 2015 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

The Cave

by AV Laidlaw

Herodotus wrote that Arisgoras of Mykonos decided his fellow citizens had become too venal to understand his philosophy, and sealed away all his writing in a flooded sea cave where they would not trouble the Greeks again. Many considered this one of the more fanciful tales from Histories – Russell believed Arisgoras never existed at all – until Philip Kourvetaris announced he had discovered the flooded cave on the coast of Delos.

I sent Philip half a dozen emails until he agreed to an interview. “It’s the modern world,” I said. “If you want people to back your research, you have to give them something back. Nobody does anything for the sake of knowledge anymore.”

Having grown up during the Regime of the Colonels, he was a naturally reticent man, peering from behind a pair of round glasses, a thick grey moustache hiding his lips. He talked in hesitant English about himself, the arrest of his father for political subversion and subsequent suicide of his mother, and freely about Plato and the ruins of Delos. He left the impression he was more comfortable in the past than the present.

“This will be published somewhere respectable?” He asked.

I assured him the interview would appear in one of the better Sunday papers, and he shook my hand limply, promising a second meeting after he had recovered the writing from the cave.

A few months later, I waited for him in the lobby of the Royal Olympic. I watched a woman feed a rat-whiskered lapdog raw steak as she ignored the page waiting for his tip, and an American rock star balance on his Cuban heels perfectly between the desire for anonymity and the necessity to be recognised. I thought Arisgoras might have had a point, after all. But after three hours of tar-thick coffee and phone checking, Philip did not show. These things happen in journalism, I thought, and congratulated myself for the stoicism.

His apology came after a week, hand written and with no return address. “I have found the cave, and in the cave I have found the truth. The sunlit world outside is simply an illusion.”

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