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March 30, 2022 2 min read



It is no coincidence that Plato is playing on the top screen. If we take a closer look at Raphael's painting "School of Athens", Plato and Aristotle are standing next to each other, but it is remarkable that Plato points his finger towards the sky, while Aristotle holds his hand towards the ground. This is also the crucial clue to deciphering this meme.

There are more details in the painting by Raphael. Both philosophers are holding books in their hands. Plato is holding his dialogue 'Timaeus', while Aristotle is holding his 'Ethics' (there are more books by Aristotle on ethics than just the well-known 'Nicomachean Ethics'). The dialogue 'Timaeus' is about the creation of the world and how chaos became the 'cosmos'. It is a metaphysical work. Aristotle's Ethics, on the other hand, deals with very mundane, human affairs.
These worlds are separate from the cardboard we see in the meme.

Interpreters say that Raphael is critical of Aristotle and expresses this in one detail. Plato is holding his book tucked under his arm so he can move freely, while Aristotle is carrying the book over his knee. Try walking with a textbook the way Aristotle carries his. You will find that it is not so easy, and it was Raphael's way of saying that Aristotle's philosophy makes it difficult for him to engage in discussion with the others.

When you play a shooter on a television screen, it is ultimately a completely different game whether or not you see your teammate's screen. By analogy to the thought above, it is also a completely different "game" if we allow metaphysics to refer to some form of ethics.

We also know that Plato was the teacher of Aristotle. That is why he is player 1 and gets the top screen. One could also add that the separation of the carton represents their disagreement in philosophy, since they cannot see each other's "point of view" like the visual representation in the painting. Perhaps precisely by not seeing something, we see something else, a third, a potential, and a possible reality that we can at best capture selectively.

So maybe the two ancient philosophers are actually playing basketball in a parallel universe - additionally with invisible balls and thus with the platonic idea of a basektball. In this way, they could settle their dispute in a competition.

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