PLATO'S TETRALOGY OF THE HUMAN MIND

February 24, 2019

The following article is written based on the books of Plato, mainly "The Republic".

The human eyes have the capability of seeing, and the objects around man has the capability to be seen. United together those two faculties beget the term "sight". In order for sight to be manifested however, there has to be a mediator standing in between them, in this case - light. When light is present the capability of the objects to be seen, as well as the capability of the eyes to see, are manifested. Light, as every other beingness, has a source. The light's source is the sun. And even though our eyes are capable of seeing the light they are rendered useless when it comes to seeing the sun itself.

IMAGINATION

The fact that man can see images even when residing in complete darkness, when his eyes are useless, concludes that he must possess a "third eye", or in other words - some inner faculty capable of seeing forms which no one else could, namely the images within his imagination. The individual's inner sight must also meet the same requirements - an object which has the capability to be seen and a faculty capable of seeing. Since all images within the human imagination have no objective physical reality, all forms produced within it are transcendental in correlation to the physical world. Following the same logic then, the mediator which makes possible the act of sight for the mental images to be perceived has to be something which the human intellect cannot see directly, but it is only subjected to its light, just like the physical eyes are capable of seeing the effect of the sunlight, which is the visible world, but cannot gaze at its source.



PHYSICAL AND INTELLECTUAL DIVISIONS

Therefore the human mentality could be divided into two major parts - physical and intellectual, as well as into two sub-parts. The sight of physical eyes, along with the sight within the imagination, make up the physical part, for both of them are dependent on the physical world. The eyes see that which is around them, imagination sees only that which has been already seen by the physical eyes. Each image within our imagination is only a memory or a compilation of memories aquired through the physical eyes. Man cannot imagine an object which he has never seen within the physical world, he can only produce an image which is composed of several other objects already seen with by his bodily eyes.

The imagination gives a meaning to an idea by assimilating it through the images already seen by the individual - this is called apperception. When man sees an object with his physical eyes and the object enters into his attention, he can begin to exercise thought upon it, thus forming an opinion about it. When man sees an image within his mind and thinks about it, that is still an opinion, but it is called "faith" for the image on which he exercises thought has no objective reality, but it is only true from his perspective. 

INTELLECT

The intellectual part of the human constitution is composed of understanding and intelligence. Understanding is this divine faculty which transcends both the physical eyes and imagination. It is this part of the human mentality which resides within an imageless realm, dealing with simple ideas deprived of any form. An example shall perhaps make this statement more clear - "Love brings about happiness", nor the feeling, nor the emotion within this sentence have any distinct forms or shapes that can be expressed in images and yet the individual is capable of grasping the sentence's meaning intellectually. The very ability of understanding is a mystery on its own. We surely know what does it mean to "understand", that is to say when a certain information residing outside of ourselves is in sync with our own knowledge. The very ability to extract understanding from this sync between information and our knowledge is bound to have its own source however, as everything known to man has a source. The act of understanding then, should not be capable of existing by itself without having a source which cointains this ability within itself. And since the source of everything is greater than the thing of which it is the source, then the source of understanding has to be transcendental in correlation to the understanding itself, just as the imagination is transcendental in correlation to the physical sight.



THE ONE SELF

This source of beingness then, contains ideas which are not only deprived of form, but cannot be grasped by our understanding as well. This means that this source, from which every person draws understanding, mental and physical perceptions, cannot be understood or seen in its purest beingness. To perceive our own source of understanding is compared to the physical eyes seeing their own source without a mirror. Within this source, or One Self, is contained the intelligence capable of seeing ideas, which our mind is not capable of seeing or understanding, in their purest objective state of reality. Such ideas are those of beauty, goodness, justice, etc. Our mind is capable of perceiving such ideas only subjectively. It is capable of seeing certain objects as beautiful, good and just when they meet the criteria of our own knowledge and understanding, but for others the same objects could be ugly, bad and unjust, therefore such ideas could not be grasped by the human mind in their true light and objective reality outside of their dual nature. To perceive all opposites as unities, would be to experienece an object both hard and soft simultaneously, or cold and warm simultaneously, or large and short simultaneously, etc. Every individual trying to imagine an object having such opposites simultaneously would fail, and if he gives up on the idea of imagining them and decides to try and intellectually understand such an object, he would still fail, thus only proving to himself that both his imagination and understanding are rendered useless when trying to grap such ideas of unity.



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