Essay / Philosophy

A Marathon through Plato V

The afternoon and early evening are here. I am tired in body, still fighting off a cold. Still, we are on the edge of good insights. Dr. Geier never seems to need rest.Timaeus places the body within the soul, so that the body does not end up controlling the soul. This is not the way we normally think of it and as a result we end up with a soul “imprisoned” or dominated by the body.The soul is built to connect with “knowables.” When the soul encounters a thing it is built to know, the possibility of knowledge arises. However, the entire construction seems problematic, because the unity of the soul seems impossible. How do the three become one?The thing that is necessary to know cannot be completely understood. How do we force together the parts of the soul (Same, Different, Being)? Of course, I have proposed a solution to this (Unified Platonic Human Psychology), but I am not satisfied. It is the unity that is lost in my thought about the soul. Where is the one?Moderns are like a small child presented with a watch. A watch is just what he wanted. He next wants to understand how it works and tries to take it apart. He does this and the watch becomes a jumble of parts. It does not work and he cannot see how it could work. He becomes skeptical about the inner workings of watches. Instead, just as with the soul, we already know the watch works.We trust that our souls think and work, because they do. Timaeus comes to us with a story about how thinking happens that does not reduce thinking to non-thinking (as a materialist does). We accept him, because his story seems probable.We do not mistrust a fairy tale. Why do use mistrust as basic. Our epistemology should begin (perhaps) in belief and not skepticism. A fairy tale can move us toward things that are. We trust it and so gain knowledge.Socrates wants to see a soul that is alive and knowing. He has constructed one. Why do we spend so much time in doubt when we cannot tell a better story?(Interesting note: every time Plato mentions the four elements they come in a different order. Are all the configurations used up?)We shift to the Republic. My soul is full of the desire to see the Good. Lord help me to be one who pursues truth at all costs. Give a mind that is awake. Lord Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on me a sinner.At 508, Socrates says, “The thing . . .you call light.” Why does Socrates say this? It is an odd way of speaking. Perhaps Socrates is challenging what Glaucon is saying. He wants Glaucon to use more care. The analogy here seems so clear. Yet there are deeper waters that should be attended to.We really want to acknowledge, always, that we do not understand, but we do not want to glorify it.Plato wants us to look away from the familiar. We need to see the familiar as unfamiliar. We need to get past the “knowing” that comes from naming.We break for dinner wondering about the good.

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