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Conversation on Immortality
B. I do not think we need to worry. We have an excellent balloon barrage. Did you see them in the morning? Lots and lots of them. Beautiful sight, by the way, in the sun.
K. A pity it's so pitch dark, otherwise we could have a game of chess. I have a pocket set.
D. Can't you play blind? It would be the right place for a game.
K. Unfortunately, I can't.
Guns. Some bangs in the distance. Silence.
S. That was quite far away, wasn't it?
B. A mile perhaps. Maybe two.
L. So, what was it old Phaedon said?
W. Socrates, you mean.
L, Well, Socrates then.
D. I don't quite remember. It was a queer sort of reasoning.
B. Socrates gives several proofs in the Dialogue.
L. For instance?
B. For instance, he argues that destruction or death is nothing but the dissolution of the parts that have composed a thing and can, therefore, only happen to things that are composed or consist of parts. Now the soul, being a simple entity, has no parts; it is, so to speak, an element, a spiritual substance; it cannot decompose; consequently, it is indestructible.
L. But did it come into existence?
B. It has pre-existence - that means that the soul existed before it was united to an earthly body. But this does not seem to exclude that even this pre-existence had a beginning - at some time.
S. I find this peculiarly unattractive, this whole way of reasoning, don't you? Soul - simple entity - unconvincing, I would say; old fashioned concepts.
L. Yes. Scholastic. Dusty.
B. Would you then care to reformulate the problem for us?
D. Sure. Either science can tell us something about it or, if not, it is not a problem at all.
K. Dear me. As far as I know, there are lots of questions which science is not yet in a position to answer.
D. Not yet, yes. But some day, perhaps, it will...
K. Then how do you know whether or not a question is unanswerable?