The Greeks



"Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?"

Plato Raphael Home Page

"You Must Be The Change You Wish To See In The World".....Ghandi

Here we have Plato and Aristotle walking together; outwardly expressing their inner contentions. This extract is taken from the 'school of athens' painting by Raphael. The painting itself is considered the most influential example of its kind. This extract could almost be construed as a musical dialogue to the tune of 'What goes up must come down'. Intrinsically, however, this represents Plato (the idealist) pointing towards heaven (Unless he has seen a 'silver sphere', one never knows !!!) and the more empirical Aristotle (the materialist) rooting his opinions in the sanctity of the (ontological) earth. Both polar opposites occupy their own Utopian (Greek for 'no place') wilderness.

Aristotle's epistemology is grounded firmly in the empirical. Logical calculus, however, had its pitfalls for the intrepid philosopher. He claimed, for example, that women had fewer teeth than men. The logical conclusion thereby lending credence to their inferiority. Nevertheless I would be the last person to criticise his influence on philosophical and in particular Marxist theorems.

Conversely, Plato drew his impetus for thought from his theory of "ideas" (deriving from the Greek) or "forms." The crux of Plato's theorem is the fine dichotomy of an imaginary world of visible and intelligible phenomena. The visible world is the apparent and ephemeral, embroiled in change and uncertainty. The intelligible world is the empirical or the 'real' born of human reasoning. Maybe Plato spent too much time in the darken confines of a cave and eventually became encapsulated by its dark shadowy interior. The endless pursuit of shadows of light, one assumes, is not conducive with that of a healthy lifestyle. Indeed, what would do if you caught one ?

It is the influence of Plato (and a whole host of other philosophical thinkers) that separates Shelley's poetry from the majority of his contemporaries. The 'skylark' transcends the 'real'. This is not uncommon with fellow thinkers, but the propensity to hear the skylark's doctrine "all the earth and the air, with thy voice is loud" and encompass this "star of heaven" to actively negotiate one's existence as we "scorn, hate pride and fear" propelled by the idealistic voice of the skylark, is the modicum of truth that alleviates Shelley from the ranks of the masses. It is this spiritual embodiment, the 'silver sphere' the 'skylark' that possesses the immortality and universal truth that forms the platform on which the birth of future generations should be launched.

 





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