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This power of vision, or of insight or intuition, constitutes in the scheme of the Phaedrus a fourth kind of madness, the madness of the lover. It is the state attainable only by those souls of the highest type, those of the philosopher, or artist, or some musical and loving nature. In this conception Plato's ideal philosopher is also lover and poet; or better, for him the philosopher, the lover, and the poet are of madness all compact. These alone have the highest insight, because these alone have memory in sufficient measure of the eternal beauty of that real world in which they had once dwelt.
But this memory is not a recollection of abstractions. In the Philebus Plato had definitely decided that thought' both of past and future must be in terms of images. So it is in the Phaedrus that the souls with the greatest power of vision are those which in virtue of their memory seeing physical beauty, rise forthwith to the remembrance of the beauty of the Heavenly. They are amazed and can not contain themselves any more; but what it is that moveth them they know not, because they conceive nothing
Their madness lies in their inability to perceive the reason for the connection between the earthly copy and the heavenly object of vision.
This beautiful object which recalls to the man of insight the visions of the ideal world is called by Plato a likeness or image. 107 'Using dull instincts and going unto images, hardly do a few men attain unto the sight of that One Thing whereof they are the images.' 108 Physical beauty is thus thought of as an image of the spiritual; but the spiritual realities themselves, seen by the pure soul in its innocence, he calls þáguara. Thus it is that the despised ‘phantasm of the early Dialogues comes to be the object of highest vision.
Beauty itself, shining brightly, it was given unto them then to behold ... being chosen to be the eyewitnesss of visions [páopata] which are altogether fair. ... These are the things which our Souls did then see in pure light.109 Now, as touching Beauty:-We beheld it shining
106 250 A, Stewart, Myths of Plato, p. 319,
other Visions; and when we came hither, we apprehended it glittering most clearly, by means of that sense which in us is most clear, to wit, eyesight, which is the keenest sight which the body conveyeth. But the eye seeth not wisdom. . . . But only unto Beauty hath this portion been given.110
It is at this point that Plato's view of 'phantasy' comes into closest relation with aesthetic as concerned with the beautiful. The mind cannot intuitively grasp Truth; only when it rises through concrete images of the beautiful can it gaze upon that spiritual Beauty which is Truth made visible. Here 'phantasy' has its highest capacity: the power of the lower soul leads the inspired poet also to contemplate an analogous spiritual phantasm, not merely a product of generalization, but the result of suggestion, an image given through the mind's capacity for remembering celestial Beauty. A lower power of 'phantasy suggests a higherwhich transcends it.
The myth of the Phaedrus, then, clearly defines the inspired madness of the poet as a process of contemplating Heavenly Beauty through a capacity for seeing earthly Beauty, and connecting the lower with the higher as image with universal type. The necessary complement of insight is good vision of the bodily eye. The Idea, far from being the object of discursive thought, is to be contemplated by a power capable of connecting a concrete representation with its spiritual counterpart formerly apprehended. Through the restraint of one of the lowest of impulses, inordinate physical love, the soul rises to a recollection of pure love.
Such a doctrine brings the myth of the Phaedrus close to the Timaeus. Together they constitute the fulfilment of the promise of the Sophist by affording a theory of divine 'phantasy' Both are concerned with the proper restraint of the lower soul as a means to vision; both look upon this vision as a kind of divine mania leading to a contemplation of ideas. Moreover, the process of recollection in the one and the dream-image in the other both involve consideration of the memory as an essential means to vision; not only in the Philebus but in these Dialogues as well memory and phantasy are in vital relation.
The Phaedrus, however, goes a step beyond the Timaeus: it characterizes the concrete images by which recollection takes place
as things of beauty, and the Idea so contemplated as Beauty rather than Wisdom. Wisdom, I think that Plato means, is the form which the Idea takes as the object of the philosopher's quest for the highest abstract truth.111 There is a point at which he must, stop, for Truth in its naked splendor is contemplated only by God. But God gives to the man of insight a further means to vision, if he will make right use of his lower nature. Beyonci Reason it is possible for human phantasy to go: impelled by love the poet may see in the beautiful objects of this world images leading one to think of Heavenly Wisdom; which, in this aspect, as the object of phantasy, must take the shape of Beauty. For neither Wisdom nor Justice nor Temperance, but that Beauty which is in all three is an object of vision. Thus Plato crowns his theory of knowledge with a theory in which the phantasy is recognized as the power by which the mind grasps truth made visible by the phantasy of God. Wisdom, Beauty, Love, and Phantasy: these are the terms involved in the Platonic doctrine of poetic inspiration. Wisdom is the goal of all thought; Beauty its highest embodiment; Love the necessary restraint of impulse; and Phantasy the proper use of a power both of presentation and representation that the human may rise to the divine.
Plato's philosopher to whom Truth comes in the form of intuitions is higher than his lover of dialectic. The poet and the seer have truer insight than the thinker—and the statesman. And, Plato would add, the poetry of the Dialogues is nearer to Truth than the processes of discursive thought. In this light, the myth rather than convincing the reader, impels him to the concrete representation of beauty by means of phantasy’; and this representation, in turn, the image of a higher Beauty, recalls to mind those eternal forms of Beauty which are the innate possessions of the soul and the objects of its contemplation. Once more the artistic impulse of the philosopher leads to the illustration of his theory: the myth begins where processes of diávola end; phantasy takes the place of Reason.
Such is the first comprehensive theory of 'fancy' and 'imagination.' Nowhere is the basic nature of the Platonic conception more apparent than in the relations established between these
111 Cf. Dante, Convivio, 3. 12: ‘Filosofia è uno amoroso uso di Sapienza.'
powers and the fundamental problems of philosophy: not alone of aesthetic, but of metaphysics, ethics, and psychology as well. It thus becomes vitally important for the understanding of later utterances concerning 'fancy' and 'imagination because of its association with many problems of human thought. Let one reflect for a moment on the significance for aesthetic alone of his definition of the two terms. Here was a theory of subjective art as the work of 'phantasy'; of realistic art as a kind of 'imagination'; of symbolic art as the result of a higher activity of the 'imagination’; and finally of inspired poetry and prophecy as the product of the perfect union of divine and human phantasy. Moreover, Plato's conception of the creative function comprehends both thought and expression.
Finally, the student of Plato has constantly to keep in mind the fact that the creator of the Dialogues would be likely to illustrate his theory by his practice; and one is justified in talking about the dialogue and the myth as types of 'fancy' and 'imagination.'
University of Illinois.
SOME REMARKS ON LUCRETIUS AS TEACHER
BY CHARLES KNAPP
Titus Lucretius Carus, the great poet-scientist of ancient Rome, owes his fame to a single work, his De Rerum Natura, On the World and All That Therein is. This poem, of about 7,000 verses, falls easily into five parts: (1) Epicurean physics and chemistry, Books 1-2; (2) Epicurean psychology, Book 3; (3) Epicurean theory of sense-perception, Book 4; (4) Epicurean cosmogony and anthropology, Book 5; (5) Epicurean meteorology and astronomy, Book 6.
The Epicurean physics and chemistry—especially the formerconstitute the foundation of Lucretius's philosophic system. Logically, therefore, he should have put together, at the very beginning of his work, in sequence, all that he had to say on these themes. But, after all, the supreme interest of Lucretius lay in a corollary of the Epicurean physics—the mortality of the soul of man. The one purpose of his work was to free man from terror, especially from the fear which, on every theory of the soul's nature other than the Epicurean, plagues man ceaselessly, as he thinks of existence beyond death. In his eagerness to free man from this terrible plague, Lucretius interrupts the orderly movement of his exposition, to prove, in Book 3, the mortality of the soul. In logic, he should have set forth in his very last book, as the climax of his poem, what is now contained in Book 3. I ask the reader to imagine that Lucretius had done this, and that, further, he had made Book 3 stop with verse 869. I can think of no more glorious finish to any evangelical message—for such the De Rerum Natura is—than that. The attempt, in the remaining verses of Book 3, to strengthen the faith of professed believers, and to keep them from backsliding, splendid as it is in itself, is, by comparison with the rest of Book 3, but the noise of swallows compared to the tuneful song of the swan (see Lucretius 3. 6-7 for this comparison).
Here, then, we find in Lucretius one thing that every teacher needs—a profound belief in the importance of his subject. Orderlyminded as he was (see below), and capable of developing an argument with almost mathematical rigor, Lucretius allows his