Sunday's Thoughts
by Alice-Alexandra-Sofia
 

Philosophy: Plato

 

Introduction

Theological Doctrine

Concept of Man

Social and Political Doctrines

Conclusive Remarks

 

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Introduction

 

Two non–equal parts of Greek philosophy became the philosophical foundation for the Western civilization: Socrates–Plato, and the others. “Non–equal” means that  

  –– Socrates–Plato had established the basis; in fact, it was mostly Plato: often, he camouflaged his own opinions with the Socrates’ name [Plato Letters II: 314c], and sometimes it is not possible to determine, does Plato explain the Socrates’ ideas or reveal own opinions, which the society is not ready to accept

–– the others, as Aristotle, elaborated, modified, systematized, or contradicted the concepts of Socrates–Plato.

The Plato’s theological–philosophical–epistemological doctrine became the first attempt in the history of human thought to provide man with the complete explanation of his world and with a practical application – the guidance for survival within his own establishments. On the foundation built by his predecessors, according to his degree of comprehension of truth, and with the power of his imagination, Plato attempted to construct the logical scheme of the Universe and to describe its driving, controlling, and moving forces within the wholeness of three intertwined dimensions:

 

Gods

the world created by gods

man under the power of gods and within the world created by gods

 

Ultimately, Plato created a new model of man, in which he conveys his understanding of the Cosmos and the moral standards that reflect his vision of the man’s world; he also granted his creation with an ability to comprehend the nature of gods. Consequently, he attempted to design the “perfect” society and the “perfect state” fitted to his “perfect” man. Plato’s definition of perfection is based on the ability of the society–state to maintain the adequate life for his model man, and the ability of the model man – consummated/divine philosopher–king – to control the “perfect” state and the “perfect” society.

Although the Plato’s world incorporates new criteria of good and evil, Plato uses the same old words to convey his opinion; probably, that is why many generations of philosophers and thinkers accepted as the criteria of quality and significance of life three Socrates’ notions:

a) question: is the life worth living after man mutilated his conscience with the wrong actions? (the point of interest is the essence of Plato’s criteria of good and evil)

b) definition of good life as the honorable and right living (the point of interest is the Plato’s criteria of good life and honor)

c) statement that morality is the healthy mental state and happiness [Crito 47e–48b; Republic 353d–354a] (the point of interest is the Plato’s interpretation of health and happiness).

Three groups of Plato’s concepts provide a key to understanding of the essence and consequences of his doctrine:

1/ the moral ideals, which Plato offers as the basis for opinion, judgment, philosophical and other concepts, and their embodiment into the social norms and policies of the state

2/ an image of the ruler and the design–operation of the society and state, which Plato offered as the ideal

3/ the interconnection of his theological, philosophical, and political beliefs – the Plato’s world is flux, the uninterrupted link of changes within the constantly changing flow of events. Consequently, in the Plato’s world, theology (the description of the world of gods) serves as the general foundation for the design of the state and society, as well as for the methods to control human life; from other side, social and political problems influence and modify the theological concepts. Plato’s version of the political interactive theology prepared the ground for the Aristotelian governing system, which transforms the interests of the absolute ruler–owner (the Plato’s divine consummated philosopher–king) into the main criteria of good and into the religious beliefs, laws, social norms, and morality of the ruler’s subjects.

 

 

Theological Doctrine

 

The following theological assumptions define Plato’s philosophical, moral, epistemological, and political concepts:

–– polytheism – “all things are full of gods” [Epinomis 991d; Laws 899b]

–– envisioning of the Intelligence as the “supreme power” of the Universe, where the immortal soul controls the world of the matter; consequently, Plato asserts that the “truly religious outlook” makes a man eligible to govern the state [Laws 967d–968a]

–– the link between possession of certain knowledge, which Plato presents as an embodiment of the deified Intelligence, and the power over the others. In Plato’s world, only the “godlike and moderate” thinkers, who cognized the “blessed science” of astronomy, possess the gifts of divinity; therefore, according to the laws supervised by the Nocturnal Council, they should be entrusted with the highest offices [Epinomus 992c–e]

–– negative and pessimistic perception of the nature of man (and mankind in general), which underlies the irreconcilable conflict between intelligence of a “divine philosopher” and madness of the masses – the mob referred to as to the “ferocious beast” [e.g., in: Phaedo, Phaedrus, Protagoras, Republic].

By asserting the link between possession of the particular knowledge and the likeness to deities, Plato follows the Orphic secret doctrine, which considers knowledge as the means of deification. Yet, logically, deification of knowledge does not differ, for instance, from deification of the air: both are just the means to support life of man – air for a body, knowledge for the mind.                                        

Plato perceives the Intelligence as the main movement–, change–, and life–creating factor; the Intelligence acts directly or through its embodiments – “the world–soul” and gods. The man’s soul is another name for the mind because “the soul is the seat of reason” and the mind’s functions within the world of men do not differ from the functions of the universal Intelligence within the Cosmos. Consequently, Plato’s concept of mind has two centers: the life of mind–reason and the purpose and simultaneously result of the mind’s existence – knowledge [Laws 896a–897c; 898a–d; 899b; 903d; 904c; 961d].

In his theological doctrine, Plato systematized the Orphic concepts, doctrines of Anaxagoras and Xenophanes, Protagoras’ relativism, Pythagoras’ obsession with numbers, and the Egyptian symbolism with the planets as gods and the temples as “the place to philosophize.” Yet, he discarded the Xenophanes’ warning that no man is able to know the truth about gods; all what man can have is only an opinion, even if such a man has learned the Past and traced the footsteps of gods [Xenophanes of Colophon Fragments F34].

Myths and figments of human imagination compose the essence of Orphic doctrine, which is the essence of “sublime” theology of Plato [Thomas Taylor qtd. In: Hall (2003) 74], and from which the Neo–Platonists extracted their “sublime” philosophy [Hall (2005) 217]. Hesiod arranged the Orphic myths into his theogony of gods. Then, Proclus re–wrote Hesiod’s theogony in philosophical fashion (Proclus, A.D. 410–485, is the last prominent heathen philosopher). The writings of Proclus*1* provided the theological–philosophical foundation for Western philosophizing theologians who ultimately, substituted the heretical doctrines (covered with language borrowed from the Holy Scriptures) for the Christian teachings.

Plato composed the comprehensive (for his time) mythical polytheistic concept of the Universe, which might be described with the following assertions (1 through 4).

1. Gods are motionless, excluding rotation at the fixed place, by which gods have unchangeable thoughts about essences of things, and a forward motion correlated with the movement, which generates the Universe [Timaeus 40b].

This image of almost immovable gods elaborates the Xenophanes’ concept of the main motionless deity that always abides at the same place [Xenophanes of Colophon Fragments F25, F26, A36].

2. The “Maker” made only one Universe. The Universe is the visible, living, uniquely created and immortal god with the “fixed stars” – living, divine, eternal, and forwardly rotating. The motionless center of the Universe generates the stream of the eternal motion as the source of life [Timaeus 31a–b, 40a–b, 92c; Theaetetus 152].

By inventing rotating–forward–moving gods, Plato attempts to reconcile Xenophanes’ theological “insight” concerning the motionless deities with human logic based in this case on the primitive mechanics (unmovable thing cannot be a source of movement).

From other side, if to recall that a philosophical doctrine is an intellectual construction, which might be recognized as the philosophical doctrine only if it provides rational explanation of a particular nature–foundation and the consequences of some events or phenomena, and as a such, demands at least some appearance of logical completeness, the notion of “motionless deity” at the fixed place might be explained as an attempt to provide at least some point of reference for the irrational vision of the flow of changes arranged into the constantly changing–moving–floating world, which Plato accepted as the reality of human existence.

Later, in the concept of the deified Earth, Aristotle re–iterated the Plato’s image of the Universe: the Universe, as each god, is motionless, because it is self–stabilized and contained in itself. Consequently, the Earth “is in fact motionless” and stays in center because it also “stabilizes itself” [Aristotle Physics III.v. 205b]*2*.

By the way, if something is motionless, does it need self–stabilizing, and how it can stabilize itself in a center if it is motionless?

The second part of the Plato’s concept of the Universe deals with change: the motionless center–deity constantly generates the Universe and the Universe is in constant change: “nothing ever is  but is continually being generated,” and all creations are transformed “now as in the beginning, changing as they lose or gain wisdom and folly.” Therefore, the Universe becomes the stream where all things are changing as if they are streams, and where

––  life is the change: the properties of life include the changer (something/someone that changes things) and the process of change

––  nothing is simple

––  anything can be neither described nor identified.

Anaxagoras (500–428 B.C.) and Protagoras (480–410 B.C.) contemplated man as the measure of all things and the human mind as the ordering and containing principle of all things. Before Plato, the Universe had the man–centered structure, the Absolute Good as the source of life sustained the pre–Plato’s Cosmos, and all aspirations of men were directed to the acquisition of the greatest good. Within the Plato’s constantly changing world, the man–oriented vision of the Cosmos has no place: Plato disagrees with the Protagoras’ assertion that “man is the measure of all things.” Such a criterion is neither consistent with the constant changes of the Universe nor acceptable from the practical point of view, because countless differences among men make the Protagoras’ statement pointless. If all men are different, thus, they have different perception [Cratylus 386a, 402a; Theaetetus 152a–e, 153a, 156a–c, 159a–160e, 170c–171c, 178b–179b, 183c; Sophist 249b].

In comparison with polytheistic theology, the Protagoras’ concept looks like reminiscence of the original knowledge of the purposes of creation of man and man’s mission to have dominion over the world. So, if to follow the Plato’s concept of ideas/forms the knowledge of which – as he asserts – is inherent, the perfect/universal model of man should exist, and the Protagoras’ definition of man as a measure of everything should not be discarded: it perfectly fits into the Plato’s model of the divine/consummated philosopher–king.

Yet, Plato does not need Protagoras’ theories; he has to disprove Protagoras’ man–centered vision of the Cosmos, because, if there is no common world, and the conclusion of the ancient thinkers that each man is the entire independent and unique Cosmos is the true reflection of the human nature, then, who would ever need Plato’s “consummated divine philosopher” – the only one that knows thoughts of gods and, therefore, is himself at least a semi–god capable to rule the others?

The assumption that any man is created after the perfect model (therefore, everyone has the potential to be perfect) makes two Plato’s most significant assertions meaningless:

1/ if different men have different perception, it means that

either real essences/forms/ideas are fiction;
therefore, the Orphic “absolute divine animal”
that contains all forms and ideas is just a figment of imagination

or

the knowledge of essences/ideas/forms is not transferable;
therefore, according to Aristotle, the ideas/forms are useless

 

2/ if all men are made after the same perfect model and they all can be the center of the world, the image of the mob–beast becomes unconvincing, unreasonable, and unsuitable for design of political strategies.

3. The mystical creator – “the Father of the Universe” and two types of created gods govern the unique and only Universe:

a/ the Universe itself as the visible and perfect god “with soul and intelligence” that contains all living beings along with the heavenly bodies or “the fixed stars,” which all are eternal beings

b/ the pantheon of gods whose sources of origin are the Earth and the Heaven and whose purposes of existence include maintenance of the universal order and fulfillment of the destiny of each creation: “all things are full of gods.” The intelligence and “pure knowledge” sustain the mind of each god; all gods are arranged within twelve realms, and each god is charged with definite responsibilities for a particular section of the Cosmos [Plato Timaeus 30a–31b, 36e–37, 39a–41; Phaedrus 246e–247a, d; Epinomis 991d]. The heavenly hierarchy includes also god–like beings between the “visible gods” and men: celestial objects, daemons (demons), creatures of air, demigods made from water, etc., who communicate with the highest gods and humans, know thoughts of men, possess intelligence, have feelings, and so on [Epinomis 984d–985c].

In general, Plato’s wording “Father of the Universe” covers the Orphic arch–dragon/all–forms–container with the ancient image of “one god greatest among gods” [Xenophanes of Colophon Fragments F23], and Plato’s hierarchy of gods incorporates Egyptian astrological assumptions and ancient myths.

The Plato’s concept of deified Universe along with the hierarchy of deities prompts the question concerning rationality of the Western theologians’ assertions of any resemblance between the teaching of the Hebrew Prophets and the Plato’s theological fantasies, especially with such as pantheon of gods which includes the celestial bodies.

In particular, God explicitly prohibited recognition of “other gods” and especially deification of the celestial bodies – that is the idol–worship. God also determined the main criterion of judgment: a bad tree does not bear good fruits {Exodus 20:3–5; Deuteronomy 4:15–19; Luke 6:43–45; Matthew 7:15–20}. Therefore, if man’s assertion is founded on the polytheism and brings such bad “fruits” as programmed violations of the God’s commandments (e.g., the prescribed by Plato manner of life of the Republican guardians), it can be neither consistent with the Christianity nor serve as a foundation for interpretation of the words of God. 

4. The essence of god–creator is the absolute or ideal good. The Absolute Good is the primal cause of the Universe, the source of intelligence, being, beauty, knowledge, and truth, and the main standard of behavior virtue [Phaedo 100b; Republic 508b–509a].

This assertion links the absolute or ideal good, intelligence, and knowledge into the inner structure of the Universe and into the framework of existence of men: the Absolute Good is the main object of cognition, then, cognition is the life of reason, therefore, everything might be expressed in the terms of knowledge; even the virtues become the kind of knowledge.

In fact, this particular Plato’s notion is not compatible with Plato’s own polytheistic model. If the one and primal cause of the Universe is identical with the ideal good, which is absolute – the only one for the whole Universe, there is no justification for existence of other gods. Existence of other gods creates the possibility of deviations from the Absolute Good; at the human level, such deviations would result in the loss of ability to discern the good and the evil.

Evidently, Proclus realized the weak points of the Plato’s doctrine and, in his special way, decided to make some improvements with which, as he expected, heathen theology and philosophy would be capable of overthrowing the Christian teachings. In spite of his animosity toward Christianity, Proclus borrowed and misinterpreted the Christian concept of the Trinity into the propositions concerning the unity of gods. In his combed version of the Plato’s doctrine, the traditional mythical gods (adulterers and murderers, with whose adventures the poets of ancient Greece fed spectators at the markets and in the theatres) are integrated into the self–sufficient unity of “self–complete henads” above everything, including being, life, and intelligence. This unity became a new source of the transcendent excellence:

––  the essence of gods might be described by “supra–existential good” – pure goodness and pure unity, which transcends the distinct, yet, universal principles – being, life, and intelligence

––  each god–unit is the measure of all things, and the substance of each god consists from the transcendent excellence and from the incomprehensible, unitary, and secret knowledge; as such, it  is the fulfillment of the Providence

––  divine is uncognizable by the reason and cannot be subject to opinion; however, the properties of gods might be inferred from their subjects [Proclus Prop. 113–115, 117, 119, 120, 121, 123].

The Proclus’ works illustrate the methods of heathen interactive theology: the mythical indiscreet gods undergo transformation into the embodiments of the good and the intelligence when philosophers need to justify their philosophical doctrines and to elevate figments of own imagination to the level of secret sacred knowledge. In the same fashion, the medieval philosophizing theologians and mystics eagerly accepted the Proclus’ assertion that the properties of gods can be inferred from their subjects and began to fervently “cognize” God through the images of “sensible things” and hallucinations born by over–stimulated sensory perception. 

Proclus also specified the Plato’s concept of the intelligent Universe: the unified factor is intelligence; knowledge is the means of communication, and “to participate intelligence is to participate knowledge.” The Intelligence creates by own being, by existence, “by the act of thinking”; it originates a human soul as “at once a principle of life and a living thing.” As such, the human soul serves as an intermediary between the pure Intelligence and the material world. Within the intelligible Universe, life is the process of cognition, and ability of cognition is property of living being: thought is the existence and simultaneously creation of the human intellect [Proclus Prop. 20, 174, 188, 190, 193, 194].

Ultimately, the Plato’s Universe ennobled by Proclus received the following structure:

 

God – Absolute/Ideal Good

Intelligence–Reason

Soul

Material Embodiments of the ideas/forms.

 

Plato–Proclus’ doctrine describes the world as the immortal and perfect god created after the model that itself is the everlasting “Living Thing”: god–Universe is continually re–created as “a subsistence in perpetually becoming to be” in different appearances and modes of existence; it has the invisible soul and it is intended to be a shrine for other eternal gods [Plato Timaeus 30c, 36e, 37c–d, 39e, 92c; The Fragments That Remain of the Lost Writings of Proclus… 4–6].

In such a world,

a) knowledge is the most valuable asset of a philosopher

b) the means of creation of knowledge, e.g., a good memory, ability to summarize the totality of divine and human things, and “broadness of vision” (that also are the properties needed to make imagination work) become the most important quality of the philosophizing mind [Plato Republic 486a–487a].

Existence of Plato’s twin deities (the material world and its immaterial model/idea/form) logically should lead to the notion of the deified eternal matter. In particular, according to Aristotle and Cicero’s interpretation of the Xenophanes’ doctrine, nothing eternal/infinite can include or to be conjoined with anything non–internal or non–infinite [Xenophanes of Colophon Fragments A34]. Thus, if the matter accommodates creation of the god–Universe, including all heavenly bodies, the matter must be the eternal deity itself.

Indeed, Plato introduces the third participant in addition to the referred above twin deities (the god–Universe and its intelligent and unchangeable model – the everlasting “Living Thing”): the primary matter. The primary matter is the essence, “receptacle of all becoming,” and mother/nurse of each living creation; it is “all–embracing” intelligible, invisible, formless, unbegotten, incorruptible, and with “the vestiges of forms.” To accommodate the creation, to support the eternal existence, perpetual change, and incessant “becoming to be” of the immortal god–Universe and all living creatures that it contains, the matter must be immortal and ordered [Plato Timaeus 48e–49a, 51a–e; The Fragments That Remain of the Lost Writings of Proclus 68; italic in the original].

The Plato’s image of the eternal matter links the Orphic doctrine with Aristotle’s materialism and anticipates the contemporary concept of the lost eternal dark matter. In the Plato–Proclus’ interpretation, the “immortal matter” becomes the deity, because such properties as immortality, intelligence, and incorruptibleness are attributes of gods. Therefore, Plato repeats the “crime” of Socrates: instead of – or in addition to – Apollo and other deities, he introduces new gods (the Universe itself, its model/form/idea, and the primary matter–source of the Universe), which, in fact, are the ideas – philosophical interpretations of the mythical deities.

The Stoics apprehended the concept of deified Universe and conceived the “cosmobiology” [Annas 43] – the concept, which the contemporary researchers modified into the concept of Gaia. The concept of the eternal matter feeds also the materialistic and atheistic beliefs, which acknowledge eternity of the matter and reject existence of its Creator.

The Plato’s image of the Universe reflects also the effort to find the beginning and the active cause of all things. Plato insists that only one Universe was created, because creation of many worlds would not confirm his concept of ideas/forms, and especially the notion of the “Living Thing”– model of the visible Universe [Timaeus 31a–b, 39e]. His opinion (that the only one Universe has been created; it would exist eternally; it did not have analogue in the Past, and it would not have the analogue in the Future) illustrates how the logic of imagination works within the framework of heathen interactive theology. When Plato needs to confirm own philosophical assertion, he ascribes himself knowledge, which elevates him at the level of the unique observer who watched the process of creation of the Universe and knows thoughts and intentions of his motionless–forward–rotating deities. Although these motionless–forward–rotating deities govern the world of men, they are cooperative enough to share their plans (e.g., do not create other worlds) with Plato or with the consummated philosopher used by Plato as his own cover–up.

The history of human thought reveals the consequences of false knowledge embodied into the official philosophy and theology: people inevitably face death when they attempt to disprove the false accepted as the truth by the governing or controlling structures of social, political, or religious establishments; then, the establishments founded on the false theological and philosophical concepts inevitably face destruction because of false, therefore inadequate and insufficient, knowledge.

For instance, with the language of physics, Aristotle reiterated the Plato’s statement that God created only one Universe (the fourth century B.C.), and Thomas Aquinas made it the article of the Catholic faith (the thirteenth century). In 1600, Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for heresy, which included attempt to prove the possibility of existence of many worlds. The Inquisition declared the Giordano Bruno’s ideas, which contradict the ignorant physical construction of Plato and Aristotle, to be the heresy inconsistent with the Scriptures, while they, in fact, refute the unsupported assumptions of the heathen philosophers. Almost twenty centuries the false concept as a venomous snake slept to wake up and to kill man. It could be difficult to find more dangerous weapon than the false knowledge propagated as the truth by the controlling state or society structures with the power over life and death of the subjects.

The Plato’s concept of the Universe is inconsistent and incomplete as any false construction is inconsistent and incomplete – only truth always has the completeness of perfection. Plato’s creations frequently demand introduction of additional deities and other adjustments with which new additions to his philosophical “discoveries” need to be proved.

For instance, Plato justifies his concept of the intelligent Universe (in which all is created, continuously comes into being, is maintained by the pure Intelligence, and, nevertheless, contains imperfections and evil) with the concept of ideas/forms. The idea/form is “intelligible and unchanging” model or essences, it exists eternally “by itself”; it has life and the power of acting [Timaeus 38, 48; Parmenides 133b–e, 135a; Sophist 248c–249d], therefore, the ideas/forms are a kind of the lesser gods.

Introduction of the lesser gods – ideas/forms – allowed Plato to explain existence of evil and even to make it the necessary attribute of the constantly changing world: the evil comes as the result of distortions of the matter in the process of natural movement originating change and creating life. Plato’s deified matter moves, embodies deity–form, and brings fruit – evil. Evil as the result of existence of ideas/forms justifies death and begets the concept of evolution as survival of the fittest.

For instance, if the distorted embodiment of the ideal idea/form is natural, the process of extermination of produced evil, including insufficient non–fitting beings, is also natural, as well as the process of selection–survival of the perfect beings is natural.

The substitution of deities sustains the overall difference among Plato’s doctrine, atheism, and the materialism: within the framework of atheistic philosophy, the eternal indestructible matter takes the place of God and the law of chance usurps the place of the universal – God’s – law. Then, although the matter itself does not have intelligence, by chance, it somehow created the intelligence, the mind, and the wholeness of the Universe. Somehow, by chance, the Universe developed into the wholeness composed with all infinite multitudes of purposeful intelligent beings that perfectly fit and support existence of one another through the continuous evolution*3*  defined as “survival of the fittest.”

Materialistic science portrays evolution as the process of blind selection of the species that fit their environment – not the best, just fitting, and capable to survive and to produce offspring within the existing environment. However, even with the simplest logic, it might be inferred that if evolution is the process of survival of the fittest, the evolution ceases to be development and optimization: the evolution becomes just survival – an ability to maintain physical existence within the given, determined, fixed, already existing environment, in which Plato’s change is not able to function. Such an evolution is

a) degeneration resulting in death

b) a vivid illustration of the irrationality of Plato’s concepts accepted by many as the pinnacle of the ancient philosophical thought.

Furthermore, the concept of survival of the fittest allows the conclusion that only slaves are the best fitting species within the totalitarian states: they live as unreservedly obedient slaves – the silent and solid buttress of the regime – and produce slaves. However, slavery – according to Socrates – is death of the reason, thus, the society of slaves is the society of animated corpses incapable of development, and, as it is confirmed by the history of totalitarian regimes, without development there is no evolution, there is degeneration and collapse/death.

It is also interesting how Plato uses the lofty speculations for justification of evil: in his time, war was a traditional method of “acquisition of wealth,” yet, the Plato’s predecessors already characterized war as the evil. So, Plato

– at first, explains that war is possible because the soul is enslaved by body and has to serve the bodily desires [Phaedo 66b–c]

– at second, asserts that war is appropriate business of the divine consummated philosopher–king, because he has to control the mob naturally inclined to evil.

Again, if to think logically, the evil cannot exist as the necessary attributes of the world created by the Absolute Good that Plato identifies as the main deity: by the very definition, the Absolute Good is not compatible with evil. Later, Aristotle corrected the Plato’s inconsistency: he eliminated the Absolute Good from the life of men and their establishments.

Plato also has found another task for the ideas/forms: they are the essences, by which the gods think. In Plato’s world the Intelligence is the supreme power of the Universe or the main deity; consequently, Plato deifies the thoughts of gods. Such deification of the divine thoughts justifies the main part of his doctrine – the concept of a consummated divine philosopher.

Plato’s divine philosopher has the link with the realm of gods and thinks by the realities–essences–ideas/forms of the discernible things. He penetrates the thoughts of gods that makes him “possessed by god” or as much divine as his human nature can be [Parmenides 134b–e; Phaedrus 249d; Republic 500b–d].

Yet, if to analyze the essence of the Plato’s theological and philosophical speculations by their fruits, for instance, such as the perfect Republic and the Nocturnal Council, it becomes evident that Plato’s philosopher thinks by the images created with own perverted and inhumane imagination, not by the essences of real things.

Plato’s consummated divine philosopher who lives by the mind/reason, philosophizes in temples, and disdains the body/flesh as the disease of the soul, never became the persuasive role model for the mass population. The ordinary people (Plato’s mob and Aristotle’s “social animals”) were destined to live as the flesh and to worship by flesh, for instance, at the “high places” and “temples” where humans were sacrificed to the deified beasts and eaten by beasts and humans, in the circuses of the pagan Roman Empire, where the beasts devoured humans for amusement of the mob. Life of the heathen societies is defined with frenzy, perversion, bestial worship, sodomy, inhumane rites of sacrifice, magical and other deceitful practices embodied into the religious, social, and state policies and rituals, yet, never with reason.

The concept of ideas/forms reveals one more reason for inadmissibility of heathen philosophy as the means of consideration or creation of the theological and philosophical knowledge within the life–oriented societies: the very framework of heathen theology does not have any defensive subsystem, which could prevent the mind from creation of false images and from the substitution of illusions and dreams for the actuality.

In fact, Plato establishes an “interaction” between theology/mythology and philosophy [Ehrhardt 107]: when he needs an explanation of philosophical concepts, he modifies theology; when he needs justification of his mythical theological construction, he elaborates philosophy. Theology serves Plato as the field for application (as some kind of feasibility studies) of his philosophical concepts; it becomes the “nurse” and “receptacle” of figments of imagination. The use of imagination and the results of its work (e.g., such as distorted images and false assumptions) explain incompatibility of the heathen theological–philosophical doctrines and Christianity:

a) for the Christians, theology is the exclusive source and framework of all knowledge, including the philosophical concepts, which serve only as the tools for implementation of the knowledge of God into the guidance for survival and perfection of men – the Christianity is the world created by omnipotent and uncognizable God

b) for the heathens, logic and imagination and their product – philosophy – are the source and framework of theological concepts; imagination of man creates idols, deifies beasts, and invents the means needed to coerce the others to worship creatures of imagination.

In general, the mentioned above inconsistencies and other logical slips lead to a conclusion that the wide dissemination of Platonism in Europe became possible mostly because of two reasons:

a) the Western theologians learned Plato through the works of Proclus*1*  who edited the Plato’s doctrines; for instance, he ascribed to gods such a feature as “a measure of things existent” and then, postulated that the human soul possesses all forms [Proclus Prop. 117, 194]. This exchange (contrary to Protagoras, gods became the measure of all things, and contrary to the Orphic doctrine, man became the container of all forms/ideas) made gods necessary attachment to the human intelligence and, therefore, provided Western philosophizing theologians with the argument in favor of ancient pagan philosophy, which became the means of creation and interpretation of theological doctrines. In fact, the Proclus’ notion reveals unrestrained imagination that changes settings of a particular shared dream world, for instance, a particular heathen theological–philosophical–logical doctrine, with freedom similar to the freedom of painter who covers old image with new layer of paint to convey another image

b )the authority of Augustine (AD 354–430) the Bishop of Hippo, who, according to Prosper Alfaric, converted “from Manichaeism to Platonism” [Prosper Alfaric ref. and qtd. in: Sinnige 91]*4*.

In general, the Plato’s concept of ideas/forms provided the Western theologians with the means

a/ to substitute unnoticeably polytheism for monotheism, therefore, to open a possibility of deification of men and men’s creations – political, social, and religious systems, especially, the state. Such deification was the most important prerequisite for transformation of the free Christian communities liberated by the knowledge of true God into the slavery–based arrangements made after the heathen model – the pagan Roman Empire – developed on the Plato’s Republic and its practical improvements offered by Aristotle and elaborated by the Stoics.

b/ to make evil the necessary attribute of the Universe and to transform the Absolute Good into the source of evil.

 

 

Concept of Man

 

The next component of the Plato’s doctrine is the concept of man, which includes two parts – concept of the mind and concept of a body.

The common tradition of the main Greek philosophical schools – Platonic, Pythagorean, and Stoic – follows the Orphic doctrine, which considers a human being as the immortal Intelligence imprisoned within the mortal body.

For instance, according to Plato, the immortal “uniform” soul itself has neither birth nor death; it is nourished by knowledge and enters a mortal “multiform” and “unintelligible” body; after the death of the body, it goes to the “next world.” For the mortal body to obtain the immortal soul is “like a disease” or the beginning of destruction; for the immortal soul its entrance into the mortal body is contamination by imperfection, desire, and suffering. Association of the soul with “the body and other evils” deforms the soul. The purposes of the soul are to acquire knowledge, to purify itself by wisdom, and to become fitted to the next world. In its way to perfection (perfection in this case refers to becoming a deity at the lower levels of the hierarchy of gods), the immortal soul has to be involved in the cycles of birth–purification–death–reincarnation. The soul in the cycle of reincarnation might be compared with a tailor who makes and wears out some quantity of garments [Phaedo 66 b–c, 69c, 80b, 87c–e, 95d, 107a, 114e; Phaedrus 245e, 249a–c; Republic 611b].

The Plato’s analogy of a soul–tailor instantly transforms a human body into the disposable wrapping, which might be maimed, tortured, burned, and deprived of life. The concept of the good intelligent soul as the opposite of the evil mortal body has the roots in the dualism, which the Egyptian priests accepted from the mystics of Persia and Babylon. The Plato’s blend of the Anaxagoras’ concept of the intelligent Universe with the dualism of the cults, which were practiced in the Mediterranean and Minor Asia, produced the illogical construction. The contraposition of a soul and a body or the Intelligence and the matter contradicts to the Plato’s own doctrine of the Absolute Good as the source of all creations and to the Socrates’ statement that the opposites neither “come into being from one another” nor admit/tolerate their opposite [Phaedo 103c, 105a]. In another text, Plato refers to soul as to “the universal cause” of all contraries: good and evil, right and wrong [Laws 896d]; this particular assertion contradicts the previous statement about incompatibility/intolerability of the opposites and inability of the opposite to produce or even tolerate its opposite. With all his conflicting statements and speculations, Plato fashions the nature of man into the perverted irrational mixture suitable for his imaginary world, yet, unfit to exist within the real world. 

For example,

1/ if the Universe is the creation of the Absolute Good and is governed by the Intelligence, there is no logical reason for the soul to suffer over and over again by entering new bodies and becoming associated with “the body and other evils”

2/ if the soul is the universal cause of contraries – the good and the evil, the evil cannot contaminate the soul, because the evil is the soul’s own natural product

3/ as soon as death is opposite to life, and soul is the life, the soul is immortal [Phaedo 105a–e, 107a].

However, if the soul is the universal cause of all contraries, nothing could prevent it from experiencing death as it experiences life; it means that Plato is not able to prove immortality of the soul with the concept of opposites.

The next Plato’s step is determination: how the mind functions within the intelligent Universe. He asserts that cognition is action, and “knowing is doing” [Sophist 248d–e]. The activity starts with perception of information that makes the mind able

a/ to position itself within the particular reality, which sustains and accommodates the mind’s life

b/ to begin assimilation–learning of the information structures or creation of images, which supplement insufficient knowledge of the reality, if the actual information is not available or the mind does not have the necessary level of development

c/ to create knowledge – systemic reflection of the true reality, which accommodates the mind’s existence, or – in the Plato’s case – the imaginary world accepted as the reality.

The created knowledge determines survival of man and his establishments. Therefore, the Plato’s purposes should include determination: how the mind works, which problems the mind might encounter, and how these problems affect the mind’s life.

The following assumptions (from 1 through 4) summarize the Plato’s concept of mind.

1. The immortal, imperishable, and invisible human soul/mind is

–– the creation of the highest good; it is the “absolute beauty and goodness” endowed with harmony and reason

–– the “seat of reason,” cause, and ordering principle of everything within the mankind universe

–– the intermediate between two realms: the indivisible, unchangeable realm of “the Same” and the physical and divisible elements of “the Different” [Phaedo 97c, 100b, 107a; Laws 961d; Timaeus 30b, 34–37].

The description of the soul/mind reveals the essence of the secret sacred doctrine of the initiated, which Plato used to sustain his concept of the divine–consummated philosopher–king. The concept of the mind as the intermediate between the divine realm (the Same) and the realm of the matter (the Different) transforms the mind of Plato’s philosopher into the superior being, which stands above the realm of the physical world, including the world of ordinary men – the mob.

2. It must be “inborn affinity with the subject,” otherwise the intelligence and memory do not work properly [Letters II: 312e, VII: 344a (qtd.)].

The notion of “inborn affinity” obviously, contains the Xenophanes’ image of the Universe and the mind within the Universe, which Cicero, for instance, describes as “all things are one,” because the mind is joined with the god–Universe [Xenophanes of Colophon Fragments  A34]. The “inborn affinity” in the practical sense might be interpreted as

a/ the ability of mind to select the objects, which are necessary for accomplishment of the mind’s purposes; with such ability, the mind becomes able to select relevant information, which supports the mind’s main purposes

b/ an indication that

–– the mind belongs to the same or similar conceptual sets, which participated in creation of the object the mind attempts to cognize

–– the cognized object and conditions of cognition are in conformity with the reality that accommodates natural existence of the mind.

The notion discloses a part of the logical chain, which had brought Plato to the assertion that only one Universe was created.

3. Memory, intelligence, morality, and “grasp of reality” determine the work of mind [Republic 486d–487a; 490a–b].

The Plato’s “grasp of reality” is the ability to recognize the essence–nature of the considered thing and its position within the networks of connections, which compose the reality accommodating life of the mind. In the actual world, memory, intelligence, and grasp of reality not only constitute the vital properties of the mind – they disclose the degree of mind’s development; in the Plato’s imaginary constructions, they serve imagination, which creates its “divine” knowledge from the images kept in memory.

4. A body contaminates mind by imperfection and desires, which distract the mind; wisdom is purification. The self–knowledge, or temperance, is wisdom of men; it includes “the knowledge of knowledge” and knowledge of ignorance, knowledge of what is known and what it is not known (that is the knowledge of the limits of knowledge). Self–control, or “the doing of good things,” is the knowledge of good and evil. Possession with self–control indicates the true seer–foreteller of the Future [Charmides 164a–167a, 172b, 173c–d, 174d; Phaedo 66a–e].

According to Plato, all material things/objects are reflections or re–creation of the immaterial perfect essences (forms/ideas) within the mind. To cognize the object, the mind has to penetrate the matter and to recognize the ideal form behind its material embodiment. Such penetration/cognition of the essence might be possible only if the mind has the ability to re–create the ideal material reflection of the ideal pure immaterial essence and to discern this ideal within the existing object. Only the mind that has “affinity” with the world of pure essences and ability to purify itself, or to exclude the distractive influence of the body, is able to cognize things, therefore to exist in accordance with own nature.

Plato correlates wisdom with purification (purification in this case is the discontinuation of distractions caused by the bodily senses, desires, and needs) and self–cognition that lead him to the inference: in quest for wisdom, a mind must overcome the boundaries of a body. The mind must be set on cognition of the Absolute/Ideal Good, and the very first step at the way of knowledge is self–knowledge. Plato interprets “Know Thyself!” – the salutation at the entrance of Delphi temple – as the commandment to obtain self–knowledge that is the knowledge of own nature, purposes of own existence, and the ways to achieve them. However, there is no reason to ascribe to Plato true knowledge of the nature of man if he asserts that a body is the obstacle for cognition because it contaminates a soul. His concept of self–knowledge has the roots in the referred above presumption that a soul possesses all forms/ideas before birth and contracts a body as a disease; therefore, to obtain self–knowledge means to return into that what was the soul before it became ill with a mortal body. Definitely, it is not possible for the real human being living in the real world.

Another interesting Plato’s assertion is the link between knowledge of the essence/nature and the knowledge of destiny: the soul through the knowledge of nature can foresee the destiny/Future of each thing, which essence/nature it knows. Consequently, Theophrastus (372–287 B.C.) envisioned the nature of a being as the destiny of the being [Theophrastus ref. in: Justus Lipsius 134]; thus, self–knowledge is equated with the knowledge of own destiny and Future. Such a point of view determined the foundation for many speculations concerning knowledge of the Future.

For example, Tommaso Campanella (Italy, 1568–1639) describes self–knowledge as the means of the soul to learn the occupied place within the Universe and to concentrate itself on the main purpose or on “the attainment of its final end” [Metaphysica, ref. and qtd. in: Bonansea 7]: definitely, if the final state, the end, is known, the Future – road to this end – also could be known.

Therefore, own Future is opened book if own nature is known. If so, it is hard to explain why the Future remains the mystery for the contemporary scientists and analysts; could it be so because “knowledge” of the nature created with the Plato’s philosophy is false, and consequently, the entire edifice of science built on the Plato’s philosophical fantasies is worthless?

If to recall that Plato attributes to his consummated philosopher–king knowledge of the divine, the overall development of the concept of man within the Universe is inconsistent. If to recall that Plato divides mankind into two non–equal groups (the minority, elite, divine consummated philosophers and the majority, all the others, ordinary men–parts of the mob), the Plato’s universe becomes the establishment designed to accommodate two kinds of human species: the elite and the mob.

Additional point of interest is how Plato’s mind works. Plato asserts that the very arrangement of the world is intended to protect the whole, and this “whole” is not a man. In all his activities, man strives toward good of the whole, and Plato asserts that a part must be fashioned for the whole, not the whole should be adjusted for the sake of the part. He attempts to justify the right of dominion of man’s establishment (which is controlled by divine philosopher–king) over men through the analogy with physician or artisan (who works for the good of the whole) and with the reference to the concept of reincarnation according to which the soul passes through a succession of bodies to become better or worst [Laws 903b–e]. The Plato’s assertion of dominance of the whole (unnoticeably, Plato unifies the world and the men’s establishments) over its parts (men) became one of the most dangerous philosophical constructions: Plato created the imaginary world, in which the typical structures of power are recognized as the divine and naturally elevated on the levels of absolute power over their creators–men. Consequently, he asserts the right of these structures to claim man as their natural inferior part: Plato sees man as a part of men’s establishments, while man is the whole Cosmos that might have the Plato’s world just as an episode of a nightmare.

The Plato’s concept of dominance of the whole, which he identifies as the establishments of men (e.g., political systems), over its parts (men) is the logical continuation of the “divine absolute animal” – the main deity–serpent, into which the Orphics inserted all forms of all beings including man as just a part among all the multitudes of the living forms.

Later, Aristotle elaborated the Plato’s social and political utopia into the practical guidance, and the contempt of human life, which was vividly demonstrated by his pupil Alexander of Macedonia, became the distinctive mark of all establishments built upon the Plato–Aristotle’s doctrine.

The Plato’s concept of man is the irrational assertion incompatible with Christian teachings and inconsistent with the nature of man. The two–dimensional reality of Christian universe has two centers: uncognizable and omnipotent God–Creator and His creation – man – designed to dominate over the world as the being who carries the image and likeness of God, yet, who has to pass through the world, which was cursed because of the man’s disobedience to God {Genesis 1:26–28; 3:18–19}. If to accept the Plato’s assumptions that man is a part of the whole and the Universe is governed by the perfect Intelligence, there is no reason to believe that it would be efficient, therefore, consistent with the Intelligence’s features, to save a part of the whole (man) when God–Creator can save the entire world at once. Yet, there is no indication that Lord God Jesus Christ came for the sake of the Plato’s world, where man is just a part. The salvation of the world came through God–Man and the text of the New Testament is explicit: salvation of the world means salvation and eternal life of man who carries the image of God and who is the temple–dwelling of God. During the life–time, man encounters two worlds: the eternal world of God – the kingdom of God that man carries within, and the outer world of the dissipating matter, the world of cognition of good and evil, which is destined to destruction { Luke 17:20–21; John 3:16; 14:27; 2 Peter 3–10, 13; 1 John 2:15–17; 4:9–10; 5:4–5; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 15:45–49}. The Christian world is definite: man belongs to God – the Holy Trinity, and man is unified with God through Lord Jesus Christ the Savior {John 14:6, 16–17, 23; 15:26; 17:20–26; 1 Corinthians 3:23}: there is nothing more, and there is no one else.

The only wholeness–world–universe, to which each human being belongs, is the kingdom of God. Each human being is able to carry this wholeness – the kingdom of God – within own soul, and all human beings are equal, because all human beings are created in image and after likeness of God. At the same time, each human being is a seed of the kingdom of God that must grow up and bring the fruits according to the will of God { Matthew 13:31–32, 37–38; Mark 4:1–32;  Luke 17:20–21; John 3:3, 5–6; 15:8}.

Consequently, in all his encounters with the outer world of cognition of good and evil, man is the superior system that creates the different systems–establishments for achievement of different purposes, including physical survival and arrangement of conditions for the spiritual development and evolution: the family, societies, states, business enterprises, empires, civilizations, etc. The apparent differences among human beings are based on difference of the purposes, missions, and knowledge allotted to accomplish, to cognize, to embody into own thoughts, words, and deeds. All other divisions are human inventions, which reflect features of particular dream worlds, the degrees of evil (firstly, intensity of enslaving efforts) that these worlds are intended to actualize.

Probably, Plato’s division of mankind into two non–equal parts (the minority of the divine philosophers–kings, and the majority – the mob) and hatred of the mob are the consequence of Socrates’ trial and execution. It seems that Plato constantly asks the others to evaluate the appropriateness of the Socrates’ choice, because the apparently inseparable link between honorable life and death (or between wisdom and insanity) always can be found in the backstage of each Plato’s ethical or other concept.

For instance,

–– in one text, Socrates explains that, while the true knowledge has supremacy over the law, laws must be established because not everybody has the innate ability of infallible judgment: imperfect human nature is driven by desires of self–aggrandizement and self–seeking, by the pursuit of pleasure and desire to avoid pain. The desires blind man: he loses an ability of right judgment [Laws 875b–d]; the implied inference: each man with infallible judgment has the right to discard the unjust law

–– in other texts, Socrates demonstrates obedience to the law, by which, according to the verdict of the Athenian court, he must die. All his friends, apprentices, and majority of the Athenians believe that Socrates is not guilty and Socrates’ judgment remains impartial; therefore, the Socrates’ power of knowledge and reason should prevail over the unjust sentence.

The Socrates’ own logic, his friends, and majority of his countrymen recognize the right of Socrates to escape the sentence, which all of them evaluate as unjust. Yet, something more important than own logic and public support determines the Socrates’ decision.

Before Socrates, philosophical outlook concerning laws was mostly ethical, and compliance with the law meant life in harmony with the Nature: the common perception linked the law with the natural justice and the very foundations of the Universe. This outlook  is the obvious reminiscence of the original knowledge of the universal law – the will of God. Law–establishing activities began with the references to deities; obedience to the laws of gods was considered as the first moral obligation of a mortal man.

Consequently, the law–abiding attitude was the irreplaceable feature of a truly pious citizen. The law–giver was the messenger of God or even the deity himself; sometimes he was deified after his death. According to pre–Plato philosophers, “the right end” of the laws is happiness of men, and the purpose of laws is to secure for men “all good things.” Socrates, for instance, refers to the law of the state as to the means to express the gratitude to gods [Xenophon 194]. 

In the last conversations with his friends, Socrates defends the right of the law and its importance for existence of the state as well as for the Cosmos, because the law of the state is the means to express the gratitude to gods. Socrates’ arguments reveal the new attitude: recognition of the right of the state to claim the absolute power over life and death of its citizens for the sake of the state’s good. And indeed, apparently, Socrates died voluntarily: he could escape with assistance of his friends, yet, he decided to remain the subject of the law and die rather than discard the law and preserve own life; so, his death was interpreted as the virtuous obedience to the power of the law [Plato Laws 631b; Crito; Phaedo; Xenophon 194, 195].

The Socrates’ apparently free choice – to die as a law–abiding citizen rather than to discard the unjust sentence, to escape, and to live – and his apparent self–sacrifice for the sake of the laws of the state prepared the ground for two deadly cults: the cult of men’s laws and the cult of the state. The execution of Socrates instituted new position for the laws established by men. The cap of lethal poison and the Socrates’ obedient death produced offspring – the cult of destructive men’s laws: later, Aristotle postulated that the compliance with the law is vital for the state [Aristotle Politics V.8.1307b].

However, each idol has the same foundation: the false. The Socrates’ actual attitude toward his society and the society’s laws could be inferred from Plato’s texts, and the Socrates’ actual attitude is not consistent with the attitude of the virtuous law–abiding citizen.

For instance, before the trial, Socrates begins his discussion with Theodorus with the statement that the society by own decision establishes the society’s beliefs as the truth, and these beliefs remain true until the society changes its decision. Thus, Socrates deposes the place of origin of truth from the heaven into the incessantly changing flux – the world of men – with the question in the best Socrates’ tradition: is the “truth” invented by one group of men worthy of unreserved obedience of other men? The next hint is the remark concerning the society’s practice to make judgments. Socrates continues with the comparison of a speaker before a law–court with a slave before his master; in this case, “master” refers to the Athenian citizens who dispense judgment. The following Socrates’ definitions of slavery and a consummate philosopher provide the concluding arguments for the logical chain, which facilitates comprehension of the Socrates’ opinion concerning the Athenian laws [Theaetetus 172b–173e]:

                        1/ slavery “makes devious deeds inevitable,” and deprives mind of “a single wholesome thought.” As soon as Socrates already referred to a speaker before the Athenian law–court as to a slave, it is obvious that in his opinion, the speaker does not possess an ability to think and such virtues as honesty, truthfulness, etc.

                        2/ the consummate philosopher is concerned only with the search for truth; in his thought he has complete freedom, he is not involved in the agora discussions, law–courts, and political clubs

                        3/ before a law–court, the philosopher looks like a fool because the philosopher’s truth is not compatible with this something that the society holds to be the truth.

The referred texts allow the conclusion: Socrates could have everything in his mind but reverence and respect to the Athenian society and its laws. Obedience to the established by people laws and their importance for existence and stability of the state, obviously, are not the Socrates’ main concerns, especially because he knows the real reasons of the death sentence; in addition, he already demonstrated his civil disobedience to the Athens’ authorities [cf.: Xenophon 4.4.]. His choice is pre–determined with other issues (I through 3), and lawfulness of the sentence could not be the main argument, because wise Socrates is in a trap:

                        a/ he has children; in a case of his escape, they would face the consequences up to exile and deprivation of privileges of the Athens citizenship. To the contrary, his obedient death with the halo of martyr would clean him from the title of “destroyer,” prove his innocence and partiality of his judges; consequently, his wealthy pupils and many Athenians would willingly support his children [cf.: Plato Crito 54a–c]

                        b/ his life–long teachings (expressed, for instance, in the Socrates’ interpretation of the last song that a swan sings before death) would be compromised by his preference for life [cf.: Plato Phaedo 84e–85d; Crito 52c–d]

                        c/ he was not able to master his enemies by the power of his reason and philosophy; so, his escape would make his apparent defeat the actual failure [cf.: Plato Crito 52a, 53b–c].

The execution of Socrates confirms the old truth: a philosopher must have nothing to lose and nothing to desire, if he wants to protect own freedom of choice and freedom of thinking within the hierarchy built by other men.

From another angle of consideration, a man who has nothing to lose becomes an ideal utility for the hierarchy’s purposes, and a man who has nothing to lose and has much to desire becomes an ideal builder of the hierarchy.

The death of Socrates left Plato with fear before the ignorant mob, which has access to the law–establishing or the law–controlling power, and this fear influenced profoundly all Plato’s life and philosophy. Perhaps fear could be at least partial explanation of the Plato’s inhumane utopia (which in fact, is the device for keeping the mob in the “vegetable” state of death of reason: obedient and, incapable of revolt) and his service to tyrants. Plato’s inhumane “philosophy” also might suggest the inference, which may be confirmed by any execution if people only would be able to comprehend the consequences: the men’s laws must not dominate over men in life and death decisions.

From another side, the Socrates’ execution is the logical reaction against his teachings. Two main arguments against Socrates disclose the danger, which the rulers of Athens discerned in his speculations [Plato Euthyphro 3b–d; Xenophon I.i.1, IV.4.1–5].

The first, the Socrates’ manner of living, thinking, and search for truth, which is not consistent with the manner accepted by gods, is “sacrilegious, and this is that undermines and destroys everything.” As the religious non–conformist, Socrates is the destroyer of Athens; Socrates did not recognize the traditional state gods; he introduced new deities.

To evaluate the deadly consequences of this argument, it should be acknowledged that there is a fine line between the openness of any heathen theology for acceptance of new deities and the “crime” of Socrates. The ancient Greek polis/state accepted new deities without hesitation: the Plato’s Republic begins with the reference to the first festival devoted to introduction of new cult – the cult of Thracian goddess. The assimilated foreign cults and beliefs served not only an enrichment of religious and social life with additional festivities and answered the political demands of associations and groups [Plato Republic 327a; Laws 909e–910b; Shipley 161, 163, 170, 171]; the main political purposes included unification of the manner of thinking through the common religious beliefs, therefore, preparation for expansion of the Greek world by all means. Yet, acceptance of new deities and institution of the rites of worship was the prerogative of the polis/state, not of ordinary citizens; therefore, by introducing own deities, Socrates intervenes with the state political interests.

The second, Socrates disobeyed the order do not communicate with the youths; he continued to “corrupt” his apprentices and impose his philosophy on the others.

The Athenians’ problem is that Socrates expands his influence on the Athenians’ Future by nurturing new generation of the same destroyers as he is, therefore, by threatening the survival of the Athenian society/state in its Present and in its Future. In particular, for Socrates, slavery – the foundation of the Athens’ society – is death of the human reason–intelligence, while the Intelligence is the creator and the essence of the Universe. This idea alone would be sufficient to validate the Socrates’ execution: the history does not confirm existence of the society, which tolerates doctrines (along with their authors) attempting to undermine the society’s foundation.

Yet, living Socrates was not the main danger; his death became his greatest weapon because it supports the assertion of “absolute” power of the will of ruling group, which had been embodied into the law, over any member of the society. With his knowledge of the Athenian mentality, Socrates could foresee the destructive consequences of such axiom for Athens, as well as for any other democratic slave–owning society. After Plato ascribed to Socrates the design of the perfect community – the Republic, destructive philosophy of executed Socrates became inheritance of the world. 

Evidently, the execution of Socrates hunts any Plato’s thought concerning interactions of the philosopher with the society; the Socrates’ destiny forces Plato to discard own vision of the Universe and to separate the Intelligence from its own creations. Such Plato’s treatment of his own philosophy does not leave any doubt in its complete unfeasibility. He divides mankind into two unequal parts (the consummated “divine” philosophers and the others – ignorant mass or the mob–beast) by the means of knowledge: his philosopher thinks by essences, has the direct connection with the realm of gods, and knows the thoughts of deities; the mob is ignorant and incapable of learning; it exists to obey and to serve.

Two notions illustrate the incompatibility of the Plato’s imaginary perfect world of divine philosopher with the reality and reveal the danger of his ideas.

1. The necessity to conceal true knowledge from “untrained people.” Plato is not interested to reveal the nature of things and truth to mankind: only few people who are able to discern truth “with a little guidance” should receive instructions [Letters II: 313–314; VII: 340–342a, 344c–345c].

Such a point of view discloses inconsistency of the practical inferences with the main theoretical assumption. If the Intelligence is the source of origin and the life–maintaining force of the Universe, the knowledge, as the result of the existence of the Intelligence, is the non–alienated property of each being. Thus, deprivation of knowledge should be equated to the death of intellect.

It means that when Plato asserts the inaccessibility of true knowledge for the vast majority of population as the legitimate property of his philosophy, he either condemns all non–philosophers to the death of intellect or assumes that none of all non–philosophers is a human being. However, if to evaluate the compliance of the Plato’s doctrines with the actuality of the Universe and the true nature of man, it is evident that no difference exists between the “divine” philosopher and the “ignorant mob”; the difference between them exists only in the Plato’s imagination. In particular,

–– concerning knowledge – both are similarly ignorant: Plato’s philosopher just pretends to know; he deceives and attempts to control the mob with the power of imagination, which he calls “knowledge”; the mob does not pretend to know and follows its rulers as sheep led to be slaughtered

–– concerning ethics and morality – both are killers: the mob kills persons with stones, sticks, or public sentence; the philosopher kills persons, the states, and the nations with his false and deceptive ideas.

2. According to Socrates, slavery “prohibits growth, integrity, and freedom” and produces dead minds, which are not able to create “a single wholesome thought” [Theaetetus 173a–b]. If Socrates believes that thinking is life, he should perceive the slave–owning society as the society of murderers – the living dead who destroy the life of reason and are not worthy of knowledge and the very existence. His definition of slavery reveals two significant details:

–– one of the reasons why Socrates accepted the death sentence could be that life within the slave–owning society is not worthy to fight for

–– the philosophy accepted by the rulers of the slave–owning societies is the philosophy of death, because the murderers are not able to sustain life of the reason or to tolerate freedom.

 

 

Social and Political Doctrines

 

So, Plato envisions the Universe as the creation of the Intelligence–Absolute Good where the ideal Good–Intelligence is the source of knowledge and truth, the main object of knowledge, and the source of knowledge of ideals or the main standards of human behavior – virtues. The Plato’s next step should be determination of the best conditions of existence, which facilitate cognition and circulation of knowledge within the society of men and their establishments – “a suitable political system” [Republic 497a], which would secure adequate existence and development. Plato’s ideal political system is presumed to accomplish two purposes:

1/ to realize the potential of the consummated philosopher

2/ to modify “improve” nature of the ordinary humans by the means of a political system and in accordance with the needs of the political system/“perfect” community/state.  

Execution of Socrates led Plato to the idea of sovereignty of true knowledge over the laws and ordinances [Laws 875c]. The supreme power of the “pure” knowledge is above any secondary information. The secondary information sustains the life and maintains the established order at the material levels of the Universe, including the knowledge, which men create to regulate their existence, for example, the laws and rules. God is the main object of cognition, cognition is the life of the intellect, the knowledge “nourishes” the man’s soul, and the knowledge – not passions, fear, or feelings – controls the life of man if he is able to discern the good and the evil. Knowledge is the greatest power [Protagoras 313b, 314a–b, 352c–d].

Hence when, after elevation to the divine realm and contemplating the thoughts of gods, the divine philosopher returns to the misery of the world of men, he should be happy to share the divine knowledge with his brethren – to bring the knowledge of reality to “the prisoners of cave.” Yet, Plato immediately introduces the contradiction between philosopher and all the others –“the masses.” The philosopher encounters with the “madness of masses,” as with the “ferocious beast”:

– for the mob it is not possible to love knowledge: the mob kills those who attempt to set it free with the knowledge of truth and to lift it up into the real world

– for a philosopher, it is useless to intervene with the madness and immorality of masses; he should lie low and to protect himself [Republic 484b–d, 494a, 496c–e, 500b–d, 514a–516c, 517a–d].

Plato also offers another decision: he designed the perfect community – the Republic, which would be the proper place for the divine philosopher: the ideal society/state under the “best code of laws” [Republic; Laws]. In fact, Plato’s design is closer to the arrangement of the ideal state–prison. For instance, the essence of his Republic might be inferred from the following statements (from 1 through 7).

1. Plato introduces the comparison of a human community with a human body, and asserts that the closer the community’s arrangement is to the body, which feels the pain of each finger, the better is the government of the community. Every wealthy member of a community owns slaves, yet the slave–owners do not live in the state of fear of their slaves: behind each of wealthy citizens stands the whole community [Republic 462c–d, 578d–e].

The statement that each slave–owner is under protection of the whole community and can live without fear reveals the actual meaning of the speculations concerning the domination of the whole over its parts: protection of the well–being of the slave–owners (assumed to be “the whole”) from their slaves and other men (parts).

2. Only the divine/consummated philosopher–warrior can be the appropriate ruler–king of the perfect community, because only such a philosopher has knowledge of the reality, thinks by the permanent essences, and has the links with the divine realm. The community cannot be perfect reality “unless political power and philosophy coincide.” However, as soon as a philosopher–“moral person” does not wish to position himself as a superior for other moral personalities, he must be coerced to accept power as an inescapable duty. Fear that the worse person will govern the community should induce the philosopher to become a ruler [Republic 347b–c, 349c–d, 473d, 474b, 477a, 478a, 480a, 484b, 500c–d, 520e].

The image of a philosopher–warrior–king reveals the failure of Plato’s attempts to reconcile his imaginary self–contradictory philosophy with the actuality of a political establishment:

– at first, according to Socrates, wars are waged to acquire wealth, and wealth is needed to serve the bodily desires and passions. Wars and passions obstruct cognition of truth and do not provide time for philosophy; fear and war are incompatible with the love of wisdom [Phaedo 66c–d]. Thus, the features of philosopher contradict features of warrior and king: the consummated philosopher who in the same time is warrior (robber and murderer) and king (personification of the power of coercion) who might be forced to actions by fear (coward) is the irrational construction

– at second, coexistence and cooperation of the political power and philosophy is not possible within the slave–owning societies: if – according to Socrates – philosophy is the love of wisdom, philosophy cannot co–exist with slavery, which – according to Socrates – is the death of reason.

3. Within the perfect community, the ownership of property and business contacts must be strictly regulated; members of the community must not exceed the limit of wealth and money on hand; the farmers have no right to sell land; citizen must obtain permission to visit other states, and after return, they have to deposit with the state the foreign currency; social stability must be maintained with the control of private property, because extreme wealth and extreme poverty lead to civil disintegration. The informers have to be rewarded with the half of amount of money confiscated from excessively wealthy citizens [Laws 741b–745a].

All these Plato’s recommendations had been elaborated by Aristotle in his book Politics and implemented by many oppressive structures and totalitarian states.

For example,

– the papal Inquisition granted the informers part of property of those heretics whom the informers betrayed

– in the countries under totalitarian regimes, strict regulation of every aspect of political and social life and property of citizens became the government policy

– in communist Russia after the bolshevist revolution of 1917, communists “improved” the Plato’s design with the purposes to prevent the “civil disintegration” and unrest and to efficiently regulate the level of wealth: they impoverished all population and eliminated all classes. After termination of aristocracy, military elite, vast majority of priests, business entrepreneurs, and wealthy peasants, the communist party officially proclaimed that Russia became the “classless society of equality and brotherhood.” All land, banks, manufacturing and other businesses, which were confiscated after revolution, became property of the bolshevist state under the name “the common property of all people.” Private property was illegal, only limited personal property was allowed. Citizens did not have the right to travel abroad without permission of authorities, to have foreign currency, and so on, all together in full compliance with the Plato’s “ideal society and state,” where every citizen lives “supremely happy” [Laws 739c–754e, etc.] in the cage designed, protected, and strictly guarded by the state. At the same time, the ruling elite – the high–ranking members of the communist party accumulated all possible privileges and wealth and separated themselves of the rest of population: they even have the special secret net of warehouses and shops, which supplied them with the best (unpolluted and uncontaminated) food and other goods unavailable to the ordinary citizens.

4. Plato designed a special controlling establishment – the Nocturnal Council, which must supervise observance of religious rituals by citizens of the perfect state. The Council has the peculiar rights:

––  for the sake of salvation of person’s soul to imprison a person whose openly expressed beliefs or behavior are inconsistent with those accepted by the state

––  to impose the penalty of death without proper burial on those who have not returned to “right mind” after imprisonment and persuasion

––  to determine, who “deserve more than one death” as a persistent heretic [Laws 908a–e, 909a–910d, 961a–b].

The Plato’s Nocturnal Council became a precursor of the oppressive structures (e.g., the papal Inquisition) intended to protect stability of the establishment through the implementation of standardized beliefs and suppression of any opposition. The Nocturnal Council realized the authority of the state with eradication of religious non–conformists. By such actions, the state expected to prevent dreadful anger of gods and to protect the society from destruction.

Plato established the precedent of termination the freedom of conscience, religion, thought, and choice of man with the purpose to stabilize and protect the men’s establishments. If, at the beginning of their history, the admirers of the Plato’s political utopia restricted the freedom of religious thought and persecuted heretics and atheists, later they expanded their control to all spheres: political, business, social, research, culture, arts, etc. As the history of mankind reveals, with further elaboration of Plato–Aristotle’s design, more and more representatives of different layers, classes, and groups of population faced extermination for disagreement with official ideology and for any attempt to exercise freedom of thought. To implement the equilibrium adequate to their purposes, the descendents of the Plato’s “divine” philosopher–warrior–king supplemented the Plato’s ideas with such practical additions as the stakes for heretics, death for schismatics, labor/concentration camps for dissidents, etc.

5. With the references to the will of gods, the perfect community must be divided into the separate classes endowed with the different privileges and functions, which Plato likens to the separate functions of mind:

a/ wisdom – rulers, or the gold caste

b/ courage – guardians, or the silver caste

c/ self–discipline – auxiliary members, or the iron caste whose “natural function is to be dominated,” which works for life and provides the means of living for other two classes.

Each member must have the single job to secure the uniform development of the community. The allotted job, or the class, cannot be changed during life–time and the intrusion into another class or interchange of the roles has to be considered “criminal” and immoral [Republic 415a–d, 423d, 434b–c, 441c, 444b].

6. The smallest group – the community’s government (or the mind, if to apply the Plato’s comparison with a body) are in possession of wisdom of the entire community and have to guard against innovations in the educational system, which must produce moderate “people of good character.”  The divine philosopher composes the godlike human model and “stamps” people’s character accordingly. People–production starts with the cleaning: a community and the people are to be treated as “a painting board” and their minds have to be wiped; then, the prepared (empty) minds must be filled with information and the human characters must be modeled after the patterns of behavior, which are consistent with the purposes of the elite [Republic 424a–b, 428e–429a, 500d–501c, 521c].

These two statements disclose the Plato’s contempt of the ordinary people and inconsistency of his practical recommendations with his speculations concerning the highest ideals.

At first, Plato ascribes wisdom of all community to the rulers only. In general, his arrangement of the perfect community/state evokes the image of a flock of animals led by “divine philosophers,” who wipe out and fill in a mind and consequently, predetermine behavior of each animal. Aristotle elaborated the Plato’s speculations into the concise declaration: the education of citizens to be the subject of the state’s law, and the state must educate the citizens [Aristotle Politics VIII.2.1337a11–33]. Since, control of education indicates the real power of any state, structure, or establishment.

At second, the Plato’s perfect community is doomed to stagnation, therefore to the destruction, from the beginning: the warning to guard against innovations, especially in permanent life–jobs, uniform unchangeable education of music and culture, denotes the concept of social equilibrium so widely used by Aristotle who accepted it as the means to assure the social stability.

In general, a true meaning of Plato’s equilibrium is stagnation, which contradicts to the Anaxagoras–Plato’s image of the Universe as the flux – stream of changes, where the change produces the life. Plato’s equilibrium culminates in political, social, and cultural death; irreversible collapse and disintegration are the ultimate destiny of any human establishment built on the Plato’s doctrine.

7. The next Plato’s target is the family, which his predecessors considered as the truly divine establishment and the very foundation of the society, the society, and the state. Plato asserts that the government of the perfect community is the best, when it is based on sharing women and children, participation of men and women in war, comprehensive education of all citizens and leadership of the philosopher–warrior. For crafting and establishment of the perfect community and maintenance of the social and political stability – “perfect harmony”, the special group – “guardians of a flock” – must be instituted. The main tasks of the “herd of guardians” must be fashion, protection, and control of the perfect community. Plato provides the noteworthy definition of the guardians: the guardians would have special training, and the training of mind is the main objective: they must love philosophy and be philosophers, as well as warriors.

Plato offers special rules for the herd of guardians; for instance [Republic 376c, 395b–c, 410b, 416d–417a, 420b, 421b–c, 451b, 457c–d, 458c–459e, 460a–461e, 465c–e, 468c–469a, 525b, 543a–c, 546a–d],

– they must give up the right to own private property

– to have in their possession or even to make physical contact with gold and silver for them would be sacrilegious, because they possess “the divine gold and silver” granted them by gods

– they must not have a family

– they are expected to sacrifice their happiness “to maximize the happiness of the community as a whole”

– guardians must share women and children without knowing which parent has which child

– mothers must neither know their children nor participate in their life: only breast–feeding is allowed under the condition that women do not know whose children they feed

– child conceived and born without permission of the rulers would be “bastard,” and his father would be regarded as the sinner against gods and men

– rulers must control the population and regulate sexual life of the guardians: to decide the quantity of sexual contacts, distribute women through the lottery, and to reward the best guardians with “the right to sleep with women more frequently”

– brothers and sisters are allowed to have sex, if the lottery and the Delphi oracle agree

– because “a divine creature’s” number is perfect, the best mating time must be figured out with the “geometrical number” that would prevent birth of ungifted and unfortunate children

– to “maximize potential” of the community’s flock, the offspring of men and women of “a vastly inferior stamp” must not be brought up. For the sake of prevention the conflict with “the herd of guardians,” only rulers must know about the policy to “maximize potential.” Therefore, only the rulers determine and know the destiny of unwanted children who must not be brought up. The Spartans had the custom to leave the weak or born with defects children to die at the specially allotted place where they were exposed to the elements and died “naturally” – from cold, sun, or starvation; Plato did not specify his preferences

– women who in the age between twenty and forty served the community by producing children, before their release, would be “impressed” with the understanding that they must abort every pregnancy and their child will not be brought up

– for their service, the deceased guardians would become deities and continue to guard mortals.

The Plato’s design of the “herd of the guardians” that must craft and guard “the flock” of community serves as the comprehensive illustration of the inhumane core of heathen philosophy; it is the warning concerning the destructive potential of the human thought, which is deprived of the true knowledge of God. Consistently with the secret doctrine of Orphics (whose rites of initiation and worship to the “absolute animal”– deified serpent–beast include human sacrifice, cannibalism, sodomy, and homosexuality; concerning the reasons for Orpheus’ death –see Graves 1:28), Plato denigrates the natural way of life. He replaces the natural lot of men – family, children, and private possessions – with the expanded male–dominated community, which uses women as breeding cattle. Intentional impoverishment and destruction of all human tides are intended to focus an ordinary human being on the good and happiness of the whole community (that is on the service to the “divine” philosopher–king and on protection of the interests of the ruling group that controls the establishment).

However, destruction of family and deprivation of children transforms man into a gregarious animal – the same beast, which Plato portrays as the enemy of the divine philosopher. Plato assumes that this beast can be subdued, brain–washed, trained in inhumanity, controlled and cynically fed with the false beliefs, especially, with the myth of the heavenly after–life reward, to which the guardians would be entitled in the after–life, in the realm of gods.

All following Plato’s time tyrannies, empires, and totalitarian regimes established the special unreservedly obedient, yet privileged, groups of “guardians” that were expected to protect life and execute commands of the rulers whatever actions the protection and execution of commands would require. With time, such groups became the core of all military, intelligence and other nets, which were supposed to establish and maintain the absolute power of the ruler/elite over the subjects and ensure the incessantly expanding sphere of influence.

The crafting tasks of the guardians might be traced, for instance, in the Nazi version of selective infanticide. In 1929, in the Nuremberg gathering, Adolf Hitler declared: if eliminate yearly the weakest seven or eight hundred thousands from one million German newborn children, the Germany would have “increase in [national] strength” [Adolf Hitler qtd. in: Lewy 258].

There is an interesting similarity of consequences:

 –– in spite of inhumane core, Plato’s philosophy had been accepted as the apex of human reasoning. Catholic saint and theologian Augustine blasphemously propagated Plato’s doctrine as the pre–cursor and likeness of Christianity; eventually, he developed the concept of Compelle Intrare. After acceptance of Compelle Intrare, the papal church of Rome embraced Aristotle–Aquinas’ political theology, which superseded the Christian dogma and made possible such crafting experiments intended to create the “perfect” member of the “perfect” community as forceful conversion, deprivation of marriage for the members of the papal hierarchy (priests, monks, nuns), the Inquisition, the Crusades, religious wars and persecutions, deification of the pope, and other traits borrowed from the pagan Roman Empire

–– in spite of inhumane plans (including infanticide), the majority of German population voted for Hitler and his party and allowed them to rule Germany; the Nazi actions, which were intended to re–fashion mankind, resulted in genocide and World War II and then, ruined Nazi Germany.

In both cases, the people discarded the elementary reasoning and forgot the basic truth: the evil tree does not produce good fruits, or perhaps, they simply were not able to discern the evil–death behind the speculations about the “divine philosopher” – benefactor and ruler of the perfect community, and the common good of the “perfect” community for the sake of which any individual human being might be sacrificed without any hesitation.

Another noteworthy notion introduces the meaning of “sin” against gods and men by fathering a child without approval of the rulers [Republic 461a–b], thus by excluding rulers from own private – sexual and reproductive – life. The notion has as its basis the Plato’s assertion of the link of divine philosophers–rulers with the realm of deities and, in fact, equates the will of leader–man with the will of gods. After Plato, many philosophers compiled their own utopias, which frequently stipulated commonality of women as the necessary condition that prevents social instability, rivalry, and other evils [e.g., Shipley 187–189].

It looks like the pagan philosophers initiated into the Orphic mythology perceived woman as the source of many – if not all – social problems. Their solution was to deprive woman of personal freedom, to make her body the common possession for those who still want natural reproduction and still adhere to the natural sexual life, and to deny the natural role of a mother and keeper of household. With humiliation and utter disparagement of woman, the rulers of the utopian perfect communities expected to exercise the absolute power over their subjects’ bodily freedom, pleasure, and reproduction, therefore, to make them unreservedly obedient.

Later, Plato’s guarded perfect community was implemented, for instance,

– in the papal “divine” hierarchy with its own special laws, which introduced the special “grace” of the papal office and placed the papal office above the human laws

– in the Ignatius of Loyola’s policies concerning the nuns in covenants

– in the papal power over sexual and family life of the Catholics. The design of papal establishment has too much in common with the utopias of the pagan philosophers to be considered as the strictly Catholic innovation; it unveils the same old pretense on the absolute power over the subjects through the right to intervene with the sexual and reproductive life.

Then, the control of population became the policy of the totalitarian states, and many oppressive structures assumed the right to regulate reproduction of their subjects as the means to maintain the social stability.

For instance, in Nazi Germany, the special directive provided instructions how to detect the “vastly inferior stamp” of population. To prevent “pollution” of the “pure Arian” race of Germans, the “inferior group” was not permitted to marry people of the “super race,” and had to be exterminated in the concentration camps.

Another example is the policy concerning abortions; for instance,

– in Russia, after the Bolsheviks exterminated the majority of population and faced insufficiency of laborers, abortions were prohibited by a special law

– to the contrary, in over–populated communist countries (e.g., China) forceful abortions are the governmental policy [e.g., Trager 845] until natural or arranged hunger, forced labor camps, and extermination of different–minded would deplete the human resources behind the needs of the ruling party.

If to analyze any process of self–annihilation of any social system–establishment, it becomes evident that the “absolute” power over man sought through destruction of family and deprivation of woman of her personal freedom signifies the imminent death of the society or establishment. The irreversible collapse–disintegration of a political and social system (state and society) – begins with two events:

– the destruction of the family – the main reproductive center of the society

– deprivation of personal freedom and such liberties as freedom of choice, knowledge, and access to and exchange of information.

The Plato’s perfect community/state is the arrangement of herd of beasts–slaves in which all natural human tides are destroyed or perverted. With such cover–up as the Socrates’ critique of slavery and lofty speculations concerning good, morals, and ideals of humanity, Plato crafted the slavery–based state–prison with the total surveillance and control over life of its subjects: the beliefs, behavior, reproduction, wealth, and possession.

(By the way, it is obvious that in the Plato’s imaginary perfect community supervised by the Nocturnal Council, Socrates would have the same destiny as he had in the reality of democratic Athens.)

Such phenomena as the class of guardians of the society with community of women and children, common property, and regulation of private property for the sake of society’s stability reveal the Plato’s arrangement of total surveillance over slaves – the mob. They also disclose that the designer of the Republic is a slave–owner who does not see other men as human beings: as a philosopher, Plato does not exist. In spite of all presumptions of own wisdom, knowledge of philosophy and thoughts of his gods, Plato is a criminal – pervert who assumed the right to regard human beings as cattle, to appropriate the results of their work, and to deprive them of freedom and natural way of life.

Although Plato borrowed from the previous philosophers some notions concerning freedom, Absolute Good, the Intelligence, and virtues and apparently applied them in his works, in fact, Plato used them to cover the inhumane concepts produced with the perverted imagination. In his interpretation, these borrowed concepts became the inconsistent and irrational mixture of contradicting images. The Plato’s doctrine, which lacks consistency and inner harmony of true knowledge, introduces the irreconcilable conflict to the slave–owning society and the free societies, which accept it as the guidance for social and other policies.

For example, the concepts of the ideal good, intelligence, and freedom, which man is able to obtain only with wisdom and knowledge, are compatible neither with the basic structures and foundation of the Greek slave–owning society/state at the time of Plato nor with the Plato’s Republic.

The very concept of persecution for different religious or social beliefs or for their absence with such a practical recommendation as the Nocturnal Council suggests the inference that philosophy of the heathen slave–owning society reflects the reality of its existence – death of freedom, therefore, death of the reason.

The Plato’s ideal imaginary world based upon the society’s right of surveillance over its members became the harsh reality of the actual political establishments. Since, any oppressive structure can exercise the right to produce own imaginary world, to name it “the truth,” to establish it as the reality for the others, and to impose the penalty of death on those who do not accept its imaginary construction as the truth or do not make it the reality of own existence.

The obedient death of Socrates became a very convenient event for the Plato’s speculations, because it established the perfect model of personal obedience to any law of the society.

In summary, the Plato’s social and political doctrines and their embodiment – the Republic – convey hostility toward mankind and assert enslavement of men and perversion of the human nature as the standard of the society. The assumption of the possibility to create manageable man (that is in the essence of the Plato’s social and political speculations: assumption of the right of the ruler to enslave the subjects and to “improve” – in fact, pervert – the human nature for the sake of own security) with the political and coercive means and the very arrangement of the Republic’s guarded community became the foundation on which the death of reason took the place of life of reason. As the result, the political and social systems that actualize slavery, stagnation, and degeneration took a place of the establishments that could accommodate evolution of mankind.

For instance, Plato’s speculations contributed into the basis on which political theology of the papal church of Rome and destructive ideologies of the twentieth century came into existence.

Many researchers warned against Plato’s fantasies. Philip Sherrard refers to the concept, which sustains the Plato’s Republic, as to “an idealized and despotic form of communism” [Sherrard 80]. Irwin Edman infers that the Platonic state completely denies equality and freedom; he finds similarity between the Plato’s utopia and the fascist state, as well as between the Plato’s contempt to democracy and ordinary men and the Nietzsche–Nazi’s concept of the superman [Edman 139–143]. Some authors point out that Plato assertions are logically inconsistent with his philosophical outlook and question either authenticity of ascribed to Plato works [e.g., Edelstein 131, 167] or the consistency of his practical recommendations with his ethics and philosophy (e.g., the design of the Nocturnal Council, which equates Plato with the judges of his teacher Socrates).

 

 

Conclusive Remarks

 

 The Plato’s main legacy is transformation of the Orphic mythology into the foundation for philosophy and theology and introducing the mythical thinking as the means of cognition and creation of knowledge of the actuality. With acceptance of the Plato’s doctrines, the mind accepts the heathenism and enters the dream world of myths, symbols, and figments of imagination; then, it loses the ability to perceive the actuality of existence and evaluate adequately conditions of life and possibilities of survival.

The majority of Plato’s concepts are contradictory and inhumane, and inconsistency is not the only plague of the Plato’s inheritance. Acceptance of Plato’s attitude toward a human body as the prison, evil, and source of contamination of the Intelligence made possible such inhumane and irrational constructions as the Aristotelian gregarious common good of political animals, slavery as the natural foundation of the states and societies, death penalty as the means of suppression of religious, political, and personal beliefs, etc.

The Plato’s notion of the matter as the source of contamination for the Intelligence originated many false doctrines, which resulted in destructive ideologies and crimes against humanity and impaired development of theology, philosophy, and sciences*5*.

The Plato’s concept of contamination of the soul–intelligence by the body–matter contradicts to the Holy Scriptures. It reveals the utter incompatibility of Christianity and the Platonism, especially the assumptions that God–Absolute Good can create something not good or not perfect, for instance, the matter–human body, which deforms, contaminates, or imprisons the Intelligence, and the world where the evil is the necessary part of the universal order and mandatory attribute of existence.

For Platonist philosophers, man is the irrational mix of immortal intellect imprisoned within a mortal body with the body, which contracts the immortal intellect as the kind of disease.

To the contrary, for the Christian theologians, a human being is the inseparable unity of flesh/body–mind–soul/spirit, a temple of the Living God, and a free human child of God. This unity, the wholeness, is destined to be saved through the Incarnated Word–God – Lord Jesus Christ and re–created/transformed for the eternal life {Genesis 1:26–27, 31; 2:7; John 1:1–4, 9–13; 2:19–21; 4:23–24; 1 John 2:1–2; 1 Corinthians 3:16–17; 6:14, 17, 19–20; 15:42–55; Romans 8:14–16}*6*.

The Western philosophizing theologians discarded the Apostles’ explanation that all created by God is good and the multiple warnings concerning false knowledge and “teachings of demons,” which are spread by the false prophets and liars “seared in their own conscience” {2 Peter 2:1–3, 17–22; 1 Timothy 4:1–5}. Gradually, the Plato’s perverted concept of man grown up into the open hatred to a human body. The perverted perception and hatred of a body made possible the introduction and acceptance of inhumane austerities as the means to earn the glory in the kingdom of God and as the pre–requisite of canonization. In fact, this concept is the most irrational assertion ever created by insanity of the mind deprived of knowledge of God. Indeed, God created a perfect human being and then, His creations began

– to consider themselves as the disease of intelligence, yet, pretend to know the thoughts and nature and see the essence of own Creator (e.g., see Aquinas’ speculations*1*  concerning the nature and image of God)

– to hate own body, and to modify own nature in an attempt to reach sainthood by destroying creation of God and to become a god by own efforts.

St. Paul the Apostle summarized the essence and the consequences of the heathenism – as the history of separation from God {Romans 1:18–31}: the heathen world tasted all fruits of the false knowledge of God.

The different vision of the nature of man makes two systems – heathen philosophy and its offspring – interactive theology and Christian theology – irreconcilable. By applying the Plato’s fantasies toward explication of the Christian faith, the philosophizing theologians committed the greatest crime ever possible for those who identified themselves as “the Christians”: they put the heathenism at the place of Christianity, and then, began to camouflage the heathenism with the name of Christianity. The deadly consequences of deceit are known from the history of mankind, they include, for example, Aquinas’ political theology – the official doctrine of the papal church of Rome with such offspring as the Inquisition and ideologies of the totalitarian states.

The Plato’s doctrine not only reveals the perverted reflection of reality, inconsistency of the purposes, and the profound contradiction among the camouflaging ideals–slogans and practical recommendations; the Plato’s doctrine makes the evolution of mankind impossible. As any worthless work wrought in derision {Jeremiah 10:15}, it is unable to produce the reliable guidance for the free societies. It contradicts the human nature and the Christian concept of man; it cannot have any real value for Christianity, as well as for any life–oriented society: all social or other systems, which have been made after the Plato’s utopia – the perfect community/state – Republic, collapsed and ruined their creators.

Thus, with the reference to the statement “there is a tyranny in the womb of every utopia” [de Jouvenel 10], it might be concluded that ultimately, the imaginary philosophical worlds, which are created within the heathen theological framework and intended to actualize the unsatisfied lust of their creators for the power over the others, enslave men and ruin their establishments. The imaginary philosophical worlds are the ultimate weapon of self–annihilation of men and destruction of their establishments.

The false theological basis–polytheism and imagination as the source of misconceptions, which Plato holds to be the “knowledge,” made the Plato’s doctrine double–edged weapon:

 –– it provides the model of destruction of the same life of the reason, which Plato apparently tries to preserve with his notions; for instance, the laws and the Nocturnal Council of the Plato’s ideal community/state would validate condemnation and execution of Socrates as the common destiny for other different–minded in the Greek Polis; later, the Plato’s design was accepted by the Roman emperors and, then, by all totalitarian states/empires made after the Roman Empire

–– it activates decay within the slave–owning societies, which accepted as truth the Socrates–Plato’s speculations concerning wisdom, freedom, knowledge, dignity, and virtue of man; for example, when Aristotle supplemented the Plato’s political doctrine with own definition of slavery as the natural law and foundation of the society, he not only refuted the Socrates’ vision of the slavery as the death of reason, he attempted to protect from the destruction his own society, which had slavery as the foundation of the economical, social, and state order

–– it perverts the human nature and – if implemented completely – would place humanity under the threat of extinction. Starting with the soul chained to the eternal wheel of reincarnation, with the mind that must be imprisoned and kept within the imaginary world of the same images (e.g., the gods–idols officially recognized by the state), and finishing with the political and social foundation of the society – everything in the Plato’s doctrine is aimed to annihilate the very meaning of freedom, establish the perfect equilibrium–stagnation of the strictly regulated society without any progress in education or development of men

–– it provides the comprehensive methods of enslaving of men. It divides all people in two non–equal parts: a divine philosopher and the others. The divine philosopher must govern; for the others, Plato allotted the slave–house/prison of a “perfect community” under the total surveillance of the “herd of guardians.”

Plato perceives humans as animals and admits a possibility to treat human beings as animals. Definitely, a bee–hive, ant–hill, a slaughter–house, and animal–breeding farms provided Plato with the methods to control the population and supervise life of human beings, which he described in his Republic and Laws.  Logically, it could not be otherwise, because in the core of Plato’s doctrine is the mythology of Orphic snake–worshipers who devour a human child in an attempt to become embodiments of their bestial deities.

In conclusion, the essence of Plato’s doctrine is slavery; it is constructed by the slave of own perverted imagination and for the slaves who imagine themselves free. It transcends the boundaries and frontiers of the essential, as well as the actual, limits of Greek heathen philosophy and reality of daily life in ancient Greece and precipitates the scale of the twentieth century’s totalitarian states.

The main inheritance of heathen philosophy is two–fold:

1. the capability to produce the destructive systems of false beliefs, which already ruined many empires, states, social and other establishments and harvested suffering and untimely death of their creators, subjects or followers, and opponents. The imaginary world of philosophical games invented by the slave–owners who elevated themselves to the rank of the elite, set up the nightmares of the cultures and societies, which equate man with animals, allow inhumane extermination of people and animals, tolerate and even demand sacrifice of the subjects for the sake of the rulers, and execute different–minded thinkers.

For instance, four catastrophic by their consequences for mankind events have roots in Plato’s philosophy:

1/ Augustine’s leaps of imagination with such practical results as Compelle Intrare

2/ Aquinas’ political theology

3/ the Nietzsche’s “morality,” which facilitated official recognition and practical implementation of the neo–heathenism and such its embodiment as Nazism

4/ the totalitarian bolshevist–communist–fascist states of the twentieth century; for instance, Alfredo Rocco (1875–1935, a legal expert and Minister of Justice in fascist Italy), envisioned fascism as a successor of “the organic state” founded on the Plato, Aristotle, and Machiavelli’s doctrines [Alfredo Rocco ref. and qtd. in: Eatwell 180]

2. the capability to incapacitate the reasoning, so, the mind, which is immersed into the dream world, discontinues discerning good and evil.

The actual meaning of Plato’s theological, social, and political concepts makes impossible to understand how Philo of Alexandria, Origen, Augustine, and other philosophizing theologians could ever assert any resemblance of the Plato’s figments of imagination to the Holy Scriptures. It was

 

either

 

the lethal failure of reasoning resulted in inability
to discern actual essence of Plato’s categories, concepts and speculations,
which Plato covered with words that traditionally
are employed to convey meanings of good, virtue, reason, etc.

 

or

 

the evil intention to destroy mankind.

 

There is no other possibility to explain acceptance of the heathen philosophy by the theologians, politicians, educators, and all the others who apparently, adhere to the good of mankind, yet who in fact, do not discern the essence – death – behind the surface covered with the lofty slogans.

 

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 Notes:

 

*1* In the sixth century, the Proclus’ writings were slightly modified with the Christian terminology and issued under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite – the Greek mystic, sage, and philosopher of the first century who listened to St. Paul the Apostle in Athens and became Christian {Acts 17:15–34}. The Western theologians accepted the fabricated treatise as the genuine and used it to prove similarity of Platonism and Christianity. Even after re–discovery of Proclus’ authorship, Thomas Aquinas, Nicolaus of Cusa, and other Catholic theologians (including those from the German Dominican School) continued to use the Proclus’ philosophical–theological doctrine, which provided them with an explanation of everything through “analysis of consciousness.” With the Proclus’ mythical theology, they accepted the set of images that “builds up a world in the mind out of materials furnished by the mind itself” [Dodds xxvi–xxvii, xxx–xxxiii (qtd. xxxiii)].

The Proclus’ influence is positive at least in one thing – it reveals the proper name for the constructions, which can be assembled with the Plato–Proclus’ speculations: the world that is built “in the mind from the things provided by the mind itself” is the imaginary world, the set of figments of imagination, which might be the means of entertainment and games, but which is not the knowledge adequate to the reality.

The destructive influence of Plato–Proclus’ legacy might be seen if to analyze the writings of Thomas Aquinas.

For instance, in different texts, Aquinas asserts

1/ God is the “self–subsisting form” that cannot be received in the matter; the ideas exist in the divine mind, and these ideas are not generated; they are “exemplars and likeness of things according to both form and matter,” which create things. From the Word, these ideas/forms “flow into things,” and the multitudes of ideas in the divine mind correspond to the multitudes of created things

2/ “the divine essence is being itself” and as other intelligible forms it can be united to created intellect; such unification makes intellect “actual”; the human soul is the form/idea united with the matter. As soon as “the dignity of form exceeds the capacity of matter,” the matter (human flesh and sensory perception) does not completely absorb the soul that makes the soul–form/idea able to operate in the levels inaccessible for the matter [Thomas Aquinas Truth Q.3 a1 r, ad5; Q.19 a2; Summa Theologica  I Q.3 a2 ro3; Q.12. a2; Q.47 a1, a2; The Unicity of the Intellect 254].

The ideas, which Aquinas has discovered within the mind of God, are not different from the Plato’s god–like beings, and the Aquinas’ vision of God repeats the Proclus’ definition of the primal intelligence as a complete set of forms [Proclus Prop. 160, 177]: Aquinas’ theological assertions are based on the polytheistic concept of forms/ideas.

If to analyze the referred texts further, it becomes evident that the mind of the Aquinas’ god contains the intermediate uncreated forms, which might be united with the matter. Then, the intermediate uncreated forms, which exist in the mind of the Aquinas’ god, must also be the deities, because they possess all the features traditionally ascribed to deities: they are uncreated, dwell in the god’s mind, which contains only divine things, and have the power to create.

Furthermore, according to Aquinas, these deities–forms, as any “self–subsisting form,” cannot be received in the matter; therefore, the human soul cannot be united with them, because if the soul is partially absorbed by the matter/flesh, the soul should be mingled with the matter, or contain the matter.  It means that Aquinas reject the Christian dogma of immortality of human soul, because human soul, which is mingled with the matter and deprived of unity with God, cannot obtain immortality.

In another text, Aquinas asserts that “the divine essence… being” can be united to the created intellect that is to the human soul, which itself is the form/idea united with the matter: through the soul, the divine essence might be united with the matter.

Therefore, Aquinas implies that one god is the self–subsisting form that cannot be united with the matter, yet, this god–form contains in his mind other deities, which can be united with the matter. If the forms, which are contained in the mind of Aquinas’ god, can be united with the matter, it means that the Aquinas’ god is united with the matter each time, when the part of its mind (the form) is united with the matter, and Aquinas contradicts own assertions. It also means that with his acknowledgment of existence of the hierarchy of gods, Aquinas imports polytheism into Christian theology.

Two examples:

            1. Aquinas asks the question: “Does God know or understand Himself?” and replies (with the reference to Avicenna’s opinion that God knows Himself because of His essence “completely stripped of matter”): God knows “to the extent that He possesses His nature as one most knowing,” and God knows, comprehends, and understands Himself “by simple intuition” [Truth Q.2 a2 r ad 4 ad5; The Trinity Q.2 a2 r]. The Aquinas’ question and the answer are borrowed from Proclus’ writings: each intelligence has “intuitive knowledge of itself,” and through the act of knowing it is aware of itself, aware of thing it knows, and aware of that it knows [Proclus Prop. 167, 168].

            2. Aquinas asks the question: “Does God know things other than Himself?” and replies: “some intellect above natural things” exists, therefore, the divine intellect must have the knowledge of things it created: God, as the “immaterial active principle of things,” has in Himself the knowledge of things [Truth Q.2 a3 r]: in fact, Aquinas re–iterates the Proclus’ notion that the Intelligence precedes all intelligent things and knows all unconditionally [Proclus Prop. 101, 170].

Then, Aquinas constructs his image of the Word–God with the Plato’s concept of forms/ideas elaborated by Proclus. For example, if Plato envisioned idea/form as a kind of the lesser gods, Proclus elaborated a form as a whole, which consists from a number of “atomic individuals” altogether making the form. Each Proclus’ god within the unity of plurality of gods is a self–complete unit (in Aquinas’ interpretation –“self–subsisting form”) and, as any intelligence, is a complete set of forms [Proclus Prop. 74, 114, 177]. The following Aquinas’ description of the Word–God almost literally coincides with the Proclus’ fantasies:

            1/ the Word–God through Whom the world came into existence contains forms, which “flow into things”; any creation composed from the matter and a form can be perfect and good only through the form, and God as a form is perfect [Truth Q.8 a16 ad1; Summa Theologica I Q.3. a2; Q.7 a1]. According to the Aquinas’ logic, the form (which is flowing into things from the Word–God) must be uncreated because uncreated God cannot consist from the created things; therefore, if the Word–God contains the uncreated forms, these forms must also be at least some kind of divine creatures, and the Aquinas’ god is composed of so many other gods as so many uncreated forms exist within. Such assertion reveals the Plato–Proclus’ inheritance and confirms that Aquinas’ theology is the heathen multi–deity doctrine disguised with the wordings from the Gospels

            2/ the Word “cannot be the form of a body” [Summa Theologica  III Q.2 a5 ro3] – with this assertion, Aquinas repudiates the concept of Incarnation, which is one of the main Christian dogmas.

            In another text, Aquinas attacks perfection of God: “which is not made is improperly called perfect,” and the word ‘perfection’ cannot be applied to God  [Summa Theologica  I Q.4 a1 ro1; Truth Q.2 a3 ad13].

            According to Aquinas’ logic, as soon as God is uncreated, He cannot be perfect. Such remark contradicts to the law of perfection revealed by Lord God Jesus Christ:  “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” {Matthew 5:48}, yet, it is consistent with the Aquinas’ sacrilegious portrayal of God as the source of evil.

Therefore, Aquinas makes contradictory statements: in one text, he ascribes perfection to the uncreated form, while in another text he declares that the uncreated cannot be perfect. If the Aquinas’ god is not perfect because he is uncreated, perfection of creations is not connected with their creator because the matter (the creature) is not able to receive or to imitate the uncreated form–god. The logical summary is simple:

a) Aquinas’s assertions imply that man was not created in the image and after likeness of God

b) the Aquinas’ god is not perfect.

 If to recall that Aquinas accepted the Plato’s concept of forms/ideas, it might be concluded, that the main papal theologian not only successfully substituted heathen philosophy for the Christian theology, he also contradicts the main Christian dogmas. Another noticeable thing is Aquinas’ confidence with which he sacrilegiously ascribes to God own inconsistent definitions and irrational assumptions and pretends to know the nature of God and be able to evaluate knowledge that is in possession of God.

 

*2* Although the Plato–Aristotle’s motionless self–stabilizing deity–Earth in the center of the Universe is an absurd idea incompatible with Christianity, Thomas Aquinas transferred this myth into his theological doctrine, and that is how the pagan myth became the article of the papal faith. The history of astronomy reflects the struggle of the papal hierarchy against any modification of the Aristotelian motionless Earth–center of the Universe. For example, in 1616, Jesuit prelate Cardinal Bellarmine denounced the Nicolaus Copernicus’ model of the Universe as violation of the Holy Scriptures. In 1663, the Inquisition under the threat of inhumane torture compelled Galileo Galilei to withdraw his defense of the Copernicus’ model [Trager 223, 232]. 

 

*3*  In the Christian world, the evolution is the result of cognition and love of God and the consequent transformation of the love and knowledge of God into the thoughts and deeds of man. As such, the evolution is the constant process of achievement of the higher degrees of complexity–perfection that is the increase of goodness of men and the increase of goodness and prosperity of the world. The increase of goodness and prosperity of the world–dominion of man is achievable through the increasing ability of a human being to accept the divine energy–love of God–Creator and transform it into own thoughts, words, and deeds. Consequently, the evolution might be defined as the ultimate point of the natural chain of transformations through which the divine creative energy–love of God becomes the thoughts and knowledge of man, which man embodies into own creations – the systems and realities of the material world: by the love of God a human being exists, by the love of God the human mind lives, and the love of God is the essence of the world given into the dominion of man.

Therefore, from the theological point of view, the essence of evolution is cognition of God, acceptance of the love–divine creative energy of God by His creation, embodiment of the divine energy into thoughts of man, and embodiment of the human thoughts into the structures of the world of the matter. The evolution is achievement of the perfection; it is actualization of the maximal creative potency, which a human being naturally possesses as the being created into the image and after likeness of God. Therefore, the evolution is the process of re–discovery and return to the original nature of man created to toil the world – that is to transform the divine creative energy, which man receives from God, into the perfection of the world.

Philosophical doctrine of evolution based on the Christian theology is not recognized by the official science.

In 1965, Russian biophysicist Trincher postulated the principle of evolution with the primitive language of science: an increase of information triggers off the evolution [Trincher ref. in: von Bertalanffy 152].

 

*4*   Augustine follows Origen in the line of the philosophizing theologians who built the papal church of Rome. Initially, Augustine adhered to the Manichean doctrine; in 387, he converted into Christianity, and then, became the Bishop of Hippo (396–430); in the Middle Ages, he was recognized as the Doctor of the papal church of Rome and canonized by the Roman pope. For the Western theologians, Augustine became one of the most revered “church fathers”: his writings are the foundation of Western theological thought summarized in Aquinas’ political theology – official doctrine of the papal church of Rome.

See The False Teachers: Augustine – posting for October 12, 2008; Library Files.

 

*5*  The Romans accepted the concept of transmigration of soul and Plato’s contempt to the human nature. These concepts penetrated all aspects of life, arts, and literature; contempt to a body, and rejection of the human nature became the signs of special closeness to gods, for instance, see texts concerning the after–life existence of the soul and the transmigration according to Vergil and Plutarch [Plutarch 590F–592C, 593D–E; Vergil 6:719–756]. Consequently, the pagan Roman Empire grew up into one of the most inhumane establishments in the history of mankind.

 

*6* The Christian concept of man begins with the axiom: perfect man has been created in the image and after likeness of perfect God. By his free will, with disobedience and contradiction to God, man deprived himself of God that is of life, perverted own nature, and became the subject to the laws of disintegration. Lord God Jesus Christ restored the human nature into its original beauty and perfection; He sanctified and reconciled the fallen creation to the Creator. God assumed the human nature in the mystery of the Incarnation and made a human body the temple, where the Spirit of God dwells: it is obvious that the human nature does not contain evil, because evil does not exist in the presence of God, and all evils of men are annihilated by the Cross. Then, a human being is the perfect system–wholeness of the intelligence (soul/mind) with the matter (body/flesh) created to accomplish the mission–will of God and to enter the eternity according to the will of God; a human being is situated within the temporal settings of the Universe as the perfect wholeness created for the purposes of God, not as the intelligence imprisoned within the mortal body.

 

 

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Edited April 12, 2011

(originally posted in November, 2008, at website, which is closed now)

 

 

 

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