images in mirrors and all smooth and bright surfaces.' 95 Of course, the explanation is that we confuse the internal impression and the external source. Thus right appears left, and left right.

Dreams then are the result of motions which are not thoroughly calmed down, whereby semblances of external things are presented to the mind from within.' 96 These dream-phantasies we are capable of remembering; but there is the danger that we may remember them as though they were the results of waking consciousness. Then we would be regarding the phantasy presented in sleep not as a mental picture but as an external reality. Such is the problem suggested. The more important aspects of the theory, however, in its bearing upon our study are these: (1) dreaming is regarded as an affair of the lower soul, (2) dreams give rise to phantasies' rather than to images of external reality, and (3) these dream-phantasies can be remembered.

We must also remember that in the Philebus Plato had already carefully noted the importance of 'phantasies' in moral conduct. This psychology of conduct the Timaeus supplements. In the lower part of the body, we are told, God placed those desires and organs necessary for sustenance.97 But 'knowing that this lower principle of man would not comprehend reason, and even if attaining to some degree of perception, would never naturally care for rational notions, but that it would be led away by [images, ciddlwv] and [phantasms, pavrao játwv] night and day,—to be a remedy to this, God combined with it the liver, and placed it in the house of the lower nature, contriving that it should be solid and smooth, and bright and sweet, ... in order that the power of thought, which proceeds from the mind, might be reflected as in a mirror which receives likenesses of objects and gives back images of them to the sight. 98 Plato means that the purpose of God in thus placing in the lower soul-concerned with the appetites and passions—a power

like a mirror was to constitute a direct check upon the evil images and phantasms which result in immoral conduct. It is a second kind of phantasy' capable of producing images of the ideal objects of contemplation of the higher soul. These supplement, and at times supplant, the products of the normal ‘phantasy,' which as a means to conduct frames images of material objects. Thus it strikes terror into the natural desires.

38 46 A; Jowett, 3. 465.
** Archer-Hind, op. cit., p. 158 n.

07 70 E; Jowett, 3. 492.
38 A, B; Jowett, 3. 492-3.

And the converse happens when some gentle inspiration of the understanding pictures (pavráouata] of an opposite character, . . [rendering the portion of the soul which resides about the liver happy and joyful, enabling it to pass the night in peace, and to practice divination in sleep, inasmuch as it has no share in mind and reason. For the authors of our being ... that they might correct our inferior parts and make them to attain a measure of truth, placed in the liver the seat of divination. And herein is a proof that God has given the art of divination not to the wisdom, but to the foolishness of man. No man, when in his wits, attains prophetic truth and inspiration; but when he receives the inspired ord, either his intelligence is enthralled in sleep, or he is demented by some distemper or possession. And he who would understand what he remembers to have said, whether in a dream or when he is awake, by the prophetic and inspired nature, or would determine by reason the meaning of the apparitions [pavraouata] which he has seen, and what indications they afford to this man or that of past, present, or future good and evil, must first recover his wits. But, while he continues demented, he cannot judge of the visions [partagéws] which he sees or the words which he utters.99 This, he adds, is the work of the interpreter, who is thus an expositor of 'dark sayings and visions' (partáopata).

(1) It is at the outset apparent that this second function of phantasy' has to do not only with dreams but also with the waking states of madness and delirium. And these 'phantasies' of dreams, insanity, and fever are not to be explained merely in terms of psychology. They may be “the gentle inspiration of the understanding. They are, Plato says, the impressions of the power of thought which proceeds from the mind '; and are thus the reflections in the lower nature of the truths arrived at by the higher, not only serving to correct our impulses, but enabling one through that sensible nature to have a phantasy,' a personal experience in terms of the senses, of the world of absolute and immaterial reality. For Plato knew that his expert in dialectic was not the highest type of the man of vision: God has given a power of divination not to the wisdom but to the foolishness of man. The capacity of the dreamer and the inspired prophet for receiving and uttering 'phantasies' is thus a higher power than the reasoning of the philosopher and the statesman.

29 71 C-72 B; Jowett, 3. 493-4.

(2) We may say that the vision comes directly from God, or merely that it is a gentle inspiration, or a power of thought, proceeding from the higher soul-it makes little difference. Mind has always been spoken of as the attribute of gods and a very few men. Hence this new power of 'phantasy'-of implanting in the appetitive and passionate part of man's nature these phantasms which reflect a world of ideas—is manifestly the second kind of divine creative activity described in the Sophist. In the phantasies' of the dreamer and the seer are to be seen the results of that creative activity of God which is a kind of imitation, and is specifically φανταστική. .

(3) Here a divine power of creating impressions acts through a comparable and complementary human function in man's lower nature. Thus it is that the highest power of vision, the gift of insight, is given not to the wise, but to the simple whose minds have become fit receptacles for these divinely communicated ideas. This object of vision is not the abstraction of discursive thought, or even the image of an idea; but the idea itself made intelligible through its perfect embodiment, its expression in sensible terms. It is a concrete, individual thing of beauty, an artistic product for the inner eye, a perfect object of vision.100

(4) In its bearing upon both intellectual and moral life it is thus higher than any activity of discursive thought. Not only does it transcend all other means of regulating conduct by its use of a higher kind of phantasm'; but in the attainment of truth it no longer needs the symbolic images so important in Siávola. Yet in philosophy, in art, and in morality, Plato would rise to the highest ideal through the lowest means: the phantasms of the seer and the prophet result from the proper informing of the lower nature, by which one feels, desires, senses, and acts. It is in this part of the soul that man's capacity both for impression and expression lies. The inner eye as well as the outer must have a concrete object of vision; and this concrete object demands the functioning of the lower, sensible soul. So it is that Plato comes to regard this power of 'phantasy’-once accused of being wholly unideal—as the very faculty which, rightly informed by light from above, results in vision higher than reason can attain. Reason can only interpret that high 'phantastic' vision.

100 See Stewart, op. cit., pp. 135-136.

'Phantasy' in this view, having transcended the understanding, realizes the highest function of mind in the realm of intelligence (vónois), and in the truest sense—but in a sense quite different from that of Wordsworth—is reason in her most exalted mood.

Although Lutosławski places the Phaedrus immediately after the Republic, we shall consider it at this point after the Timaeus. In the first place, it contains no explicit theory of pavtagia. It contains, however, an implicit system which becomes apparent only after an examination of the Philebus and Timaeus. It also contains many conceptions typical of the Republic. The myth, for instance, is perhaps the best concrete expression of Plato's dualism in psychology. The two steeds of the soul are, however, hardly analogous to the two parts of the line in Republic VI, or to any portions of the Myth of the Cave. The contrast of reason and impulse, with full recognition of the essential nature of the latter, brings the Phaedrus closer to the later Dialogues. Quite naturally Plato insists that the lower nature drags the soul down, while the higher struggles upward for true knowledge. And just as the lower soul seeks material objects of vision, so the ideal of contemplation of the higher is the colorless, intangible essence, visible only to mind [voūs] who is the pilot of the soul.' 101

the soul.' 101 This is clearly the state of vónois described in Republic VI. It is significant, however, that Plato adds, Such is the life of the gods'; and, he might have added, of the most Godlike men. He immediately describes human activity as a process of endless striving towards this goal, the charioteers-even the best-being so troubled by the horses that it is with difficulty that they behold true Being. A second class of men alternately rise to a vision of reality and then sink again, 'because of the violence of the horses. The third class of charioteers are so mastered by their unruly steeds that their wings are broken, and, not having seen reality, they turn to opinion.

It is natural to seek to identify the activities described here with the three types of knowledge of Republic VI: Sávoia, miotis, and eikaola. There is, however, no true correspondence: Plato here is not thinking of the degrees of ideality in the objects of contemplation, but rather of the proper restraint and regulation of

101 247 C; Jowett, 1. 453.

impulse as a means to vision. As myths of vision this and that of the Timaeus stand together—and comparatively remote from the Myth of the Cave—as being essentially psychological, concerned not so much with right objects and ideas as with the capacity of the soul to regulate appetite. And it is also noteworthy that right vision is not a right condition of reason, but grows out of an impulse which is not only 'low' but, when unrestrained, results in conduct which is unnatural and immoral.102

Certain other facts are significant: Vision is not a natural process of seeing; it is the result of madness. In this madness the prophet, the poet, and the lover are as closely bound together as ever Shakespeare's lunatic, lover, and poet in the bonds of imagination. To the illustration of this theory of vision or inspiration through divine mania, the myth itself is subordinated. The process of the soul therein described is no natural process of discursive thought, but a representation of the soul's capacity, and its method of grasping truth intuitively. Knowledge is a kind of madness. Right knowledge, or right vision, does not involve the rejection of the means to sensible experience, but their proper restraint and use. Thus it will be recalled that in his scheme the wings of the steed are the corporeal element most akin to the divine. 103

Moreover, in this process knowledge is not a new state, but rather a recollection of a previous state. The fact that a soul has taken human shape is evidence of its already having seen the truth.104 In comparison with the varying capacities for insight in human beings it takes various forms. It is noteworthy that in the classes determined by degrees of insight, the philosopher and the poet are now found in the first of nine classes, the prophet in the fifth, the imitative artist in the sixth, and the Sophist in the eighth.105 Plato is here thinking of the soul's capacity for insight rather than for discursive thought; and this capacity is something more than an ability to keep before it an ideal of absolute Being. It is a question of how a soul, once having seen this reality, this ideal truth and beauty, can come to gaze upon it again. Vision is thus the result of what we may call a spiritualized memory.

102 254 A, B; Jowett, 1. 460.
103 246 D; Jowett, 1. 452.

204 250 B; Jowett, 1. 456.
106 248 D, E; Jowett, 1. 454-455.

« VorigeDoorgaan »