The Mythopoetic Mind of Plato: The Kingdom-Sage’s Muthos in Timaeus, The Republic, and The Symposium (Parts VII & VIII)
VII. Corporal Cherubim
Pearls of rain Caught to polished fire— A hand blessed to this Eden, But wandering in fallings… Lying, lain in truths looming. Skulled in a tambered torment, Wingless as dragons Spent of soaring tongues: A blind Eros births sorrow Dirt-crusted, crestfallen. Stronger hands yet Unchain shades and shadows Split by bare eyes to that tumbling Amidst semblances of meadows— Strength smoothing out surfaces, Roughed grips to coarsed divinity.< All naked as human Cast as an infinite wondering; Fevers frolic as these souls steal life— A life pained to waking preciousness, Not unknowing of Pygmalion’s touch. Stammered, stood— This Eros walked Under their wrought unbidden:< All pandered beacons protesting Love, And with timed hesitation, He would glimpse into universes immaculate! Tears of weather, Ethereal scars acidic— Eons of melancholic demise elegant Made such irresistible beauty And this Eros called Psyche— As he died alas in her love but mortal…
The character of Plato’s Symposium is relived in this brief poetic spell that retells the mode of that one night of drinking at Callias’ house in Athens, where each attendant gives his or her best at speech of praise concerning love (Eros). And the full nature of the subject lends to a more symphonic process, as each utterance is an instrument for an aggregative and innovative wisdom falling on a collective spirit. Hidden in inspiring truth, the phrases ring in the ideal for existence, a pulse upon which each Greek believer is then pragmatically directed to a point of meaning and idealized purpose inside a world-map of humanity. The harmony expressed here on that kindly ideology of love casts all as one in the cohesive: an extra conscious, Phaedrus;1Plato 1997, 463-465, 178b-180c. a growing reciprocity, Pausanias;2Plato 1997, 465-470, 180c-185e. a complete phenomenon, Eryximachus;3Plato 1997, 470-472, 185e-189a a unifying soulmate, Aristophanes;4Plato 1997, 472-477, 189a-194e. a manifest grace, Agathon;5Plato 1997, 477-484, 194e-201c. a needed ascent, Socrates via Diotima of Mantinea;6Plato 1997, 484-497, 201c-215a. and a seductive experience, Alcibiades.7Plato 1997, 497-504, 215a-222c. And, it would certainly seem that the wisest love is not sought in any one of these answers but that of the whole, the whole picture effortlessly fluid to that ultimate truth and drivenness which animates all worlds. To spread such divine wings, invites a psychological renaissance corporeal through a “re-mythologizing of our spiritual landscape[, as this] cultural move […] is philosophically well-founded, because it is mainly poetry […] which can enable us to discover which myths do in fact have a hold on our imagination.”8Falck 1994, 134-135. Much can be done with a surety, and a life confirmed in that comfort is one that confirms its own grace: there can be seldom a greater surety to a new life steeped in inviting spiritual meanings, or even just its humble attainment. Myth then, in the Symposium or elsewhere, “is not aetiological but fidejussive: its business is not to satisfy curiosity but to confirm the faith.”9James 1957, 477-478. The point being that it functions not so much as to give into speculation but to honour the real pragmatism of how one forges a life, the culture-bearing ethos. And in that world and in that life, a Greek believer needs a direction in uncovering the Agathon.
The strength and sincerity at which each of the Greeks in the Symposium pursues his or her own experiences towards a lived philosophy of love is inspirational for a culture of Self, some of the original self-believers.10Plato 1997, 463-504, 178b-222c. And true, the sheer amount of manifest possibilities demonstrated in the catalogue within the Symposium that may at once become a fully existent physics for these Greeks is dreadfully entangling—even to the point that awareness collapses in the midst and grasp of this consciousness gradient. The infinite and pre-perceptual material can only be actively translated towards meaning that is recognizable to humanity, via a filter which has often been that of allegory. According to Brisson, “[m]yths are full of surprising things. Thus an interest in myth implies a desire to acquire wisdom,”112008, 29. and all myths are saved via hermeneutics (new allegory) based in philosophy and art to discover the content of mysticism. But not all people are diviners of myth—a fact evident in the discovery of the teleme (“telos” + “episteme”) inside the drama, Oedipus the King. Teleme brings a myth—and reality as well—to a convergence of truth, but that truth does not have to be consciously recognized for its effects to be prevalent, and this tragic structure gained much artistic power through the technique of denials as seen in the Oedipus-Tiresias dynamic.12Sophocles 2004, 1056-1062. The gift of knowing a teleme at any given point, perhaps as a probability, seems to be the domain and heritage of seers and gods, but it is not entirely outside the hands of humanity, especially with the alternity principle. This deepest practice of muthos enables the bending of consciousness via the idea that the very wiring or reality is actually quite dynamic in the disciplined presence of a master by logos and poesis. What each Greek in the Symposium is lending a purpose to is lining up his or her life and love with a teleme—the most predominant being the two speeches of Socrates and Eryximachus, such that “love [… is] every action in connection.”13Plato 1997, 472, 188c. The embrace of this state inside alternative consciousness sends someone on a path of what may be known as soft-place mysticism, a gateway into an unfamiliar psycho-scape. And these mindscapes have existed cross-culturally like the Xibalba caves (hellmouth) of the Mayans described in Gates of Hell. 142010, 00:19:19. The invasion of such psychological realities gives an opportunity to fashion the otherwise into existence, conforming this presented aesthesis towards an ascent of Love culminating in seeing the absolute via a teleme that enables a Greek believer to be “in touch with the true Beauty.”15Plato 1997, 494, 212a. This knowing is where every purpose originates even if a soul is not always privy to its flow.
The ideal for existence as the inescapable human drive surely and skillfully makes the pursuit of Justice, the Good, and Love both obvious and endearing to adherents, but without it, all becomes an indifferent and cold affair on the constant verge of abandonment. The Symposium makes a reader challenged philosophically and spiritually in truly seeing multiple telemes that each themselves are like keys to holographic realities and fragments, and the possession of one truth does not necessarily exclude the attainment of the other in this unified Greek mindscape because the smallest element of difference possesses all, the universe. The human will to explore and understand the Self gives a wise heart to Justice in its eternal continuance, and a love reckoned to this wisdom is supreme.
Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Plato 1997, 463-465, 178b-180c.|
|2.||↑||Plato 1997, 465-470, 180c-185e.|
|3.||↑||Plato 1997, 470-472, 185e-189a|
|4.||↑||Plato 1997, 472-477, 189a-194e.|
|5.||↑||Plato 1997, 477-484, 194e-201c.|
|6.||↑||Plato 1997, 484-497, 201c-215a.|
|7.||↑||Plato 1997, 497-504, 215a-222c.|
|8.||↑||Falck 1994, 134-135.|
|9.||↑||James 1957, 477-478.|
|10.||↑||Plato 1997, 463-504, 178b-222c.|
|12.||↑||Sophocles 2004, 1056-1062.|
|13.||↑||Plato 1997, 472, 188c.|
|15.||↑||Plato 1997, 494, 212a.|