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through direct contemplation of the divine essence. Courage then ! for “the persuasion that we must search that which we do not know, will render us, beyond comparison, better, braver and more industrious than if we thought it impossible to discover what we do not know, and useless to search for it.” He secures a position not to be commanded, by his passion for reality; valuing philosophy only as it is the pleasure of conversing with real being:
Thus, full of the genius of Europe, he said, Culture. He saw the institutions of Sparta and recognized, more genially one would say than any since, the hope of education. He delighted in every accomplishment, in every graceful and useful and truthful performance; above all in the splendors of genius and intellectual achievement. “ The whole of life, O Socrates,” said Glauco, “ is, with the wise, the measure of hearing such discourses as these.” What a price he sets on the feats of talent, on the powers of Pericles, of Isocrates, of Parmenides! What price above price on the talents themselves! He called the several faculties, gods, in his beautiful personation. What value he gives to the art of gymnastic in education ; what to ge ometry; what to music; what to astronomy, whose appeasing and medicinal power he celebrates! In the Timæus he indicates the highest employment
of the eyes. “By us it is asserted that God invented and bestowed sight on us for this purpose, — that on surveying the circles of intelligence in the heavens, we might properly employ those of our own minds, which, though disturbed when compared with the others that are ,uniform, are still allied to their circulations; and that having thus learned, and being naturally possessed of a correct reasoning faculty, we might, by imitating the uniform revolutions of divinity, set right our own wanderings and blunders.” And in the Republic, — “ By each of these disciplines a certain organ of the soul is both purified and reanimated which is blinded and buried by studies of another kind; an organ better worth saving than ten thousand eyes, since truth is perceived by this alone.”
He said, Culture ; but he first admitted its basis, and gave immeasurably the first place to advantages of nature. His patrician tastes laid stress on the distinctions of birth. In the doctrine of the organic character and disposition is the origin of caste. “Such as were fit to govern, into their composition the informing Deity mingled gold ; into the military, silver; iron and brass for husbandmen and artificers.” The East confirms itself, in all ages, in this faith. The Koran is explicit on this point of caste. “Men have their metal, as of gold and silver. Those of you who were the worthy
ones in the state of ignorance, will be the worthy ones in the state of faith, as soon as you embrace it.” Plato was not less firm. “Of the five orders of things, only four can be taught to the generality of men.” In the Republic he insists on the temperaments of the youth, as first of the first.
A happier example of the stress laid on nature is in the dialogue with the young Theages, who wishes to receive lessons from Socrates. Socrates declares that if some have grown wise by associating with him, no thanks are due to him ; but, simply, whilst they were with him they grew wise, not because of him ; he pretends not to know the way of it. " It is adverse to many, nor can those be benefited by associating with me whom the Dæmon opposes ; so that it is not possible for me to live with these. With many however he does not prevent me from conversing, who yet are not at all benefited by associating with me. Such, O Theages, is the association with me; for, if it pleases the God, you will make great and rapid proficiency: you will not, if he does not please. Judge whether it is not safer to be instructed by some one of those who have power over the benefit which they impart to men, than by me, who benefit or not, just as it may happen.” As if he had said, I have no system. I cannot be answerable for you. You will be what you must. If there is love between
us, inconceivably delicious and profitable will our intercourse be ; if not, your time is lost and you will only annoy me. I shall seem to you stupid, and the reputation I have, false. Quite above us, beyond the will of you or me, is this secret affinity or repulsion laid. All my good is magnetic, and I educate, not by lessons, but by going about my business.
He said, Culture; he said, Nature; and he failed not to add, • There is also the divine.' There is no thought in any mind but it quickly tends to convert itself into a power and organizes a huge instrumentality of means. Plato, lover of limits, loved the illimitable, saw the enlargement and nobility which come from truth itself and good itself, and attempted as if on the part of the human intellect, once for all to do it adequate homage, homage fit for the immense soul to receive, and yet homage becoming the intellect to render. He said then “Our faculties run out into infinity, and return to us thence. We can define but a little way; but here is a fact which will not be skipped, and which to shut our eyes upon is suicide. All things are in a scale; and, begin where we will, ascend and ascend. All things are symbolical; and what we call results are beginnings.
A key to the method and completeness of Plato is his twice bisected line. After he has illustrated
the relation between the absolute good and true and the forms of the intelligible world, he says: “ Let there be a line cut in two unequal parts. Cut again each of these two main parts, — one representing the visible, the other the intelligible world, — and let these two new sections represent the bright part and the dark part of each of these worlds. You will have, for one of the sections of the visible world, images, that is, both shadows and reflections ; — for the other section, the objects of these images, that is, plants, animals, and the works of art and nature. Then divide the intelligible world in like manner; the one section will be of opinions and hypotheses, and the other section of truths.” To these four sections, the four operations of the soul correspond, - conjecture, faith, understanding, reason. As every pool reflects the image of the sun, so every thought and thing restores us an image and creature of the supreme Good. The universe is perforated by a million channels for his activity. All things mount and mount.
All his thought has this ascension ; in Phædrus, teaching that beauty is the most lovely of all things, exciting hilarity and shedding desire and confidence through the universe wherever it enters, and it enters in some degree into all things:
but that there is another, which is as much