Chrome Contact


The beginning of Plato's dialog, Meno, starts with a basic question. The transliteration from Plato's original Greek is below.


Alec tried to put recent events at the café out of his mind. But despite Professor Catania’s lively discussions and seemingly boundless energy in the classroom, Alec’s mind continued to reach back to yesterday on the patio. Over and over he heard: "We should call it Schrödinger’s monkey…" followed by the derisive laughs of the visiting scientists. Over and over he felt the sense of intimacy he experienced with the Chrome, the disdain of Dr. Crink and his ilk, and the frustration of not being able to show them that they were way off base. He wondered if this incredible contact, still almost too hard for him to believe, would be ruined…wasted…by the myopic and fearful theories that Dr. Crink was testing?

Menôn: echeis moi eipein, ô Sôkrates, ara didakton hê aretê; ê ou didakton all' askêton; ê oute askêton oute mathêton, alla phusei paragignetai tois anthrôpois ê allôi tini tropôi; 

Sôkratês: ô Menôn, pro tou men Thettaloi eudokimoi êsan en tois Hellêsin kai ethaumazonto eph' hippikêi te kai ploutôi, nun de, hôs emoi dokei, kai epi sophiai, kai ouch hêkista hoi tou sou hetairou Aristippou politai Larisaioi. toutou de humin aitios esti Gorgias: aphikomenos gar eis tên polin erastas epi sophiai eilêphen Aleuadôn te tous prôtous, hôn ho sos erastês estin Aristippos, kai tôn allôn Thettalôn. kai dê kai touto to ethos humas eithiken, aphobôs te kai megaloprepôs apokrinesthai ean tis ti erêtai, hôsper eikos tous eidotas, hate kai autos parechôn hauton erôtan tôn Hellênôn tôi boulomenôi hoti an tis boulêtai, kai oudeni hotôi ouk apokrinomenos. enthade de, ô phile Menôn, to enantion periestêken: hôsper auchmos tis tês sophias gegonen, kai kinduneuei ek tônde tôn topôn par' humas oichesthai hê sophia.

"So, scholars, next Monday, we will be discussing in detail, in final review before exams, how and why Socrates uses the Pythagorean Theorem. Of course, you will all read that section of the Meno in English—at least once. And...and you should be prepared to also delve into the original, transliterated Greek." Amid a rising groan from the students, the professor tumbled out of the room like weed carried off by a sudden gust.

Alec ran after him, hoping to find him in his office.

"Ahh, come in, come in dear Alec. Have a seat," the professor said waving Alec through the open doorway toward a small, straight-back chair. "Did you enjoy the class today?"


"Uh, yes, very much, Dr. Max," Alec said.

"And did you understand everything we were talking about?"

"Uh, not exactly…that’s sort of why I wanted to talk with you now."

"Absolutely…positively," the professor said with gusto as he ran around his office searching for something that was apparently hiding in one of his overflowing bookshelves. "Yes, yes, absolutely."

Alec wanted to confide in the professor, telling him everything he knew and felt—especially about the previous day’s events. But he suddenly realized that the secret of the café would sound so bizarre, so incredible, that no one would take him seriously. And then, suddenly, the matter of his confidentiality agreement under the Omnivore 90 loomed before him like a very bad nightmare.

"You are unsure how to talk about something?" the old professor said peering over his small glasses as he rummaged through piles of papers scattered around his desk.

"Yes…yes. I don’t even know if I should talk about this with you."

"And would you be referring to that strange matter over at the café? That matter about signing a secrecy promise?"

"Yes, you’re right Dr. Max. That’s what…"

"That’s what I’m looking for right now," the professor chimed in, balancing on the top step of a small ladder like a crazy acrobat. He was stretching and reaching for something that was out of sight on the top shelf of a tall bookcase. "It’s right around here…no here…no here…ahh here we are!"

Alarmed at the prospect that the old professor was going to fall at any moment, Alec had jumped from his seat. He moved closer, almost crouching, ready to catch the old man if he fell.

"Sit down Mr. Booner, or was it, oh yes…sit down Alec." Waving Alec back to the uncomfortable wooden chair reserved for visitors, the spry old man started unsealing a large manila envelope. "When you were here last, Alec, you departed without taking the disk that Army general gave you. Since you had already permitted me to load it on my box, I took the liberty of calling on one of my old pals here on campus—in the computer science department…yes…department," the professor’s voice trailed off in a distinctly absent-minded way. "…yes, so Alec, in the department they have more resources for decoding. Leaping lampreys, I don’t even have a neural network card on my old box! Now, Alec, do you think that I might have gone out of bounds by getting help from my friend?"





. . . . . ..

© 2000 Centroid Communications.

. .