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Words of Wisdom

Pure Intelligence in the Attainment of Pure Truth: From Socrates (vegetarian) – Glaucon Dialogue in “The Republic” by Plato (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

2021-11-24
Language:English

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The venerated Socrates was born in Athens, Greece circa 470 BC. Many people consider Him to be the father of Western philosophy. Others think of Him as an insightful teacher and an enlightened Master. Today, we will read an excerpt from Plato’s book “The Republic,” with a dialogue between the philosopher Socrates and Glaucon, where they discuss intellect, science and understanding, the opinion of belief, and the perception of shadow.

What knowledge will lead us to the Real Truth? Socrates said, “As being is to becoming, so is pure intellect to opinion. And as intellect is to opinion, so is science to belief, and understanding to the perception of shadows.”

“Socrates says, ‘Arithmetic has a very great and elevating effect, compelling the soul to reason about abstract numbers, and rebelling against the introduction of visible or tangible objects into the argument. You know how steadily the masters of the art repel and ridicule anyone who attempts to divide absolute unity when he is calculating, and if you divide, they multiply, taking care that one shall continue on and not become lost in fractions.’

Glaucon then asks, ‘Then if geometry compels us to view being, it concerns us; if becoming only, it does not concern us?’ Answers Socrates, ‘Yes, that is what we assert. The knowledge at which geometry aims is knowledge of the eternal, and not of the perishing and transient. Geometry will draw the soul towards truth, and create the spirit of philosophy, and raise up that which is now unhappily allowed to fall down. Nothing will be more likely to have such an effect.’

‘The starry heaven which we behold is wrought upon a visible ground, and therefore, although the fairest and most perfect of visible things, must necessarily be deemed inferior far to the true motions of absolute swiftness and absolute slowness, which are relative to each other, and carry with them that which is contained in them, in the true number and in every true figure. Now, these are to be apprehended by reason and intelligence, but not by sight.’”
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