What an incredible turn of phrase, that I heard for the first time today. “Socrates talks to us; we don’t talk to Socrates.” Indeed.

— Nicholas A. Christakis (@NAChristakis) September 5, 2021 (I had decided NOT to post this, and then I thought: “Being churlish about pompous fools is kinda my thing.” So here we are.)
Plato wrote a number of dialogues, the main character of which is Socrates. But Socrates doesn’t talk to us, any more than Hamlet does; or Milton’s Satan; or the dead tongued with fire beyond the speech of the living (“Burnt Norton”).
They all speak, if we are willing to listen. But we give them tongues, and we give them ear, and without us they are dead and buried in an instant. Knowledge of the past, from the past, is lost that easily. Socrates is dead. He is not speaking. We are reading words attributed to him, and interpreting them in a human context. In a European context we may listen to traditional Chinese music and not even recognize it as music. In a wholly non-human context, is Bach understood as music? Is his music understood as “speaking”? By whom? Dead scientists who obviously never understood music?
Sagan’s statement is cheap metaphysics and so out of step with contemporary literary theory and philosophy as to be embarrassingly ignorant. Even the expectation the message will get an answer bizarrely assumes a human context in an utterly non-human (at least) context.
If Socrates was talking to Sagan, Socrates would never stop laughing. I mean, I know Sagan was trying to sound wise and profound. The simpler response, and more reasonable, would have been simply:  “Why not?”It would beat the emptiness of this string of words. What a pretentious twat. And what utter bullshit. It wouldn’t even make a good fortune cookie.Re memoHbtBesides, Socrates is dead. He no more speaks to us than Sagan does.
I know, I know, opinions are like assholes, and so am I. But these things that pass for knowledge I don’t understand.