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Spiritual quotes of Plato

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M ENO: What was it, and who were they?

SOCRATES: Those who tell it are priests and priestesses of the sort who make it their business to be able to account for the functions which they perform. Pindar speaks of it too, and many another of the poets who are divinely inspired. What they say is this-see whether you think they are speaking the truth. They say that the soul of man is immortal. At one time it comes to an end-that which is called death-and at another is born again, but is never finally exterminated. On these grounds a man must live all his days as righteously as possible. […]

Thus the soul, since it is immortal and has been born many times, and has seen all things both here and in the other world, has learned everything that is.





Philosophy / Platonism 3956 | 
Meno, 81, b, Translated by W. K. C. Guthrie, in Hamilton and Caims (ed.), Plato.- The Collected Dialogues (New York: Bollingen Series LXXI, 1961), P. 364 







I t is not, let me tell you, said I, the tale to Alcinous told that I shall unfold, but the tale of a warrior bold, Er, the son of Armenius, by race a Pamphylian. He once upon a time was slain in battle, and when the corpses were taken up on the tenth day already decayed, was found intact, and having been brought home, at the moment of his funeral, on the twelfth day as he lay upon the pyre, revived, and after coming to life related what, he said, he had seen in the world beyond. He said that when his soul went forth from his body he journeyed with a great company and that they came to a mysterious region where there were two openings side by side in the earth, and above and over against them in the heaven two others, and that judges were sitting between these, and that after every judgement they bade the righteous journey to the right and upward through the heaven with tokens attached to them in front of the judgement passed upon them, and the unjust to take the road to the left and downward, they too wearing behind signs of all that had befallen them, and that when he himself drew near they told him that he must be the messenger to mankind to tell them of that other world, and they charged him to give ear and to observe everything in the place. And so he said that here he saw, by each opening of heaven and earth, the souls departing after judgement had been passed upon them, while, by the other pair of openings, there came up from the one in the earth souls full of squalor and dust, and from the second there came down from heaven a second procession of souls dean and pure, and that those which arrived from time to time appeared to have come as it were from a long journey and gladly departed to the meadow and encamped there as at a festival, and acquaintances greeted one another, and those which came from the earth questioned the others about conditions up yonder, and those from heaven asked how it fared with those others. And they told their stories to one another, the one lamenting and wailing as they recalled how many and how dreadful things they had suffered and seen in their journey beneath the earth-it lasted a thousand years-while those from heaven related their delights and visions of a beauty beyond words. To tell it all, Glaucon, would take all our time, but the sum, he said, was this. For all the wrongs they had ever done to anyone and all whom they had severally wronged they had paid the penalty in turn tenfold each, and the measure of this was by periods of a hundred years each, so that oil the assumption that this was the length of human life the punishment might be ten times the crime-as for example that if anyone had been the cause of many deaths or had betrayed cities and armies and reduced them to slavery, or had been participant in any other iniquity, they might receive in requital pains tenfold for each of these wrongs, and again if any had done deeds of kindness and had been just and holy men they might receive their due reward in the same measure. And other things not worthy of record he said of those who had just been born and lived but a short time, and he had still greater requitals to tell of piety and impiety towards the gods and parents and of self-slaughter.




Philosophy / Platonism 3955 | 
Republic, X, 614 b, Translation by Paul Shorey, in Hamilton and Cairns (ed.), Plato: The Collected Dialogues (New York Bollingen Series LXXI, 1961), PP. 838-40 







A nd this is the conclusion-that for the good man to ... continually hold converse with God by means of prayers and every kind of service, is the noblest and the best of things, and the most conducive to a happy life.




Philosophy / Platonism 3641 | 
Laws, 716C; Jowett 







O f that Heaven which is above the heavens what earthly poet ever did or ever will sing worthily? It is such as I will describe; for I must dare to speak the truth, when Truth is my theme. There abides the very Being with which true knowledge is concerned; the colorless, formless, intangible Essence visible only to mind, the pilot of the soul. ... Every soul which is capable of receiving the food proper to it rejoices at beholding Reality. ... She beholds Knowledge absolute, not in the form of generation or of relation, which men call existence, but Knowledge absolute in Existence absolute.




Philosophy / Platonism 3640 | 
Phaedrus, 247C-E; Jowett 







T he immortality of the soul is demonstrated by many proofs; but to see it as it really is-not as we now behold it, marred by communion with the body and other miseries-you must contemplate it with the eye of reason in its original purity; and then its beauty will be revealed. ... When a person starts on the discovery of the Absolute by the light of the reason only, without the assistance of the senses, and never desists until by pure intelligence he arrives at the perception of the absolute Good, he at last finds himself at the end of the intellectual world...




Philosophy / Platonism 3639 | 
Republic, 611B-C and 532B ; Jowett 







T he true lover of knowledge is always striving after Being-that is his nature; he will not rest at those multitudinous particular phenomena whose existence is in appearance only, but will go on-the keen edge will not be blunted, nor the force of his passion abate until he have attained the knowledge of the true nature of all essence by a sympathetic and kindred power in the soul. And by that power, drawing near and becoming one with very Being, ... he will know and truly live and increase. Then, and only then, will he cease from his travail.




Philosophy / Platonism 3638 | 
Republic, 490A-B; Jowett 







Y ou too, gentlemen of the jury, must look forward to death with confidence, and fix your minds on this one belief, which is certain: that nothing can harm a good man either in life or after death, and his fortunes are not a matter of indifference to the gods. This present experience of mine has not come about accidently; I am quite clear that the time had come when it was better for me to die and be released from my distractions. That is why my sign [his guiding spirit] never turned me back.




Philosophy / Platonism 3637 | 
Apology, 41D-42A; adapted from Hamilton, E., 1969, pp. 25-26 







W ealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the state.




Philosophy / Platonism 3636 | 
Apology, 29C-30C; adapted from Hamilton, E., 1969, pp. 15-16 







M y very good friend, you are an Athenian and belong to a city which is the greatest and most famous in the world for its wisdom and strength. Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honor, and give no attention or thought to Truth and understanding, and the perfection of your soul?




Philosophy / Platonism 3635 | 
Apology, 29C-30C; adapted from Hamilton, E., 1969, pp. 15-16 







M oreover," [said Socrates] "you must not wonder that those who attain this height are unwilling to descend to human affairs; for their souls are always hastening into the upper world where they desire to dwell..."




Philosophy / Platonism 3634 | 
Republic, Bk. VII.517; adapted from Hamilton, E., 1969 







B ut whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge, the realm of "the Good" appears last of all and is seen only with an effort. And, when seen, it is also understood to be the universal Cause of all things beautiful and right, Father of 'light and Lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate Source of reason and truth in the intelligible world; and to be the Power on which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed."

"I agree," said Glaucon, "as far as I can understand you."





Philosophy / Platonism 3633 | 
Republic, Bk. VII.517; adapted from Hamilton, E., 1969 





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