I was curiously going through the blog I used to write when I was merely Sweet Sixteen and I stumbled upon this post, and I honestly began to wonder why I ever stopped reading Philosophy books! I copied it onto my new ‘mature’ blog as a sign of Nostalgia but most importantly as a sign of approval to younger me. The post is originally called ‘Plato and I agreed’.
We live afraid of the truth, live all our life with eyes closed, thinking that what we see is all there is.
I’ve been studying some of Plato’s philosophy lately and there are many arguments I agree with.
Plato believed there were two worlds: ‘The world of ideas’ and ‘the world of senses’. He believed that there must be something behind the ‘material world’. “This reality contained the ‘eternal and immutable’ ‘patterns’ behind the various phenomena we come across in nature”. And this belonged to the world of ideas, because only that which is understood with our reason is considered ‘true knowledge.’
The ‘truths’ we have in the world of senses are those which we obviously find with our senses. “We can only have opinions about things that belong to the world of senses, tangible things”. This is because every human being sees what they want in everything.
For example, the bible is clear about everything it says, yet everyone interprets it in different ways.
These are two extremely different worlds because, reason, in a way is the direct opposite of ‘thinking so’ and ‘feeling’.
“According to Plato, man is a dual creature. We have a body that ‘flows’ for it’s inseparably bound to the world of the senses, and it’s subject to the same fate as everything else in this world – death”.
All our senses are part of the body, therefore becoming unreliable. Plato also believed we have an immortal soul – “and this soul is the realm of reason”. The soul is the opposite of the body, because it’s not physical, meaning it belongs to the world of ideas.
I agree with Plato when he states that the soul exists before it inhabits the body. I believe the soul wanders around the universe as one with nature. I also believe the soul is so wise before it inhabits the body and once it becomes ‘one’ with the body, its process starts again. It learns everything again. “As soon as the soul wakes up in a human body, it forgets all the perfect ideas.”
But the soul never does entirely detaches from its freedom before, or from everything it ever knew.
Once in a while the soul sees something and it seems familiar, as if it had seen it before or even lived it before and we call this a deja vu, but do you really think it’s all a coincidence? Or has the soul waken up to notice one of the initial ‘perfect ideas’?
“The sight of something familiar is sufficient to awaken in the soul a faint recollection of the ‘perfect idea’, which the soul once saw in the world of ideas, and this stirs the soul with a yearning to return to its true realm”. Plato called this yearning ‘eros’ which means love.
What all of this means is that once the soul realizes a greater ‘truth’ and significance to this life it longs to go back to the initial ‘truth’. It doesn’t want to be ‘blinded’ again.
“From now on the body and the sensory world is experienced as imperfect and insignificant. The soul longs to fly home… to be frees from the chains of the body.”
We suddenly become one with our soul and the ‘truths’ we once considered important or a ‘truth’ at all are no longer so. We want to know reasons why things happen, we want to discover.
Of course this is all an ideal course of life according to Plato, since by no means all human beings set the soul free to go back to the world of ideas.
Some of us just live our life not noticing the things that are so clear in front of our own eyes. We live an ignorant life content with what we know and ‘satisfied’ with what little we know, actually thinking we know a lot. For ignorance is bliss.
” Wisest is he who knows he does not know” Socrates said.
We live in the shadows of the world of sense. Not that he meant that the natural world is the shadows itself but that it is dark and gloomy in comparison with the clarity of ideas.
A picture of a beautiful landscape, is not dark and dreary. But it is only a picture.
*Excerpts from ‘Sophie’s World’ written by Jostein Gaarder