Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wisdom from Plato

τί δῆτα͵ ἔφη͵ οἰόμεθα͵ εἴ τῳ γένοιτο αὐτὸ τὸ καλὸν ἰδεῖν εἰλικρινές͵ καθαρόν͵ ἄμεικτον͵ ἀλλὰ μὴ ἀνάπλεων σαρκῶν τε ἀνθρωπίνων καὶ χρωμάτων καὶ ἄλλης πολλῆς φλυαρίας θνητῆς͵ ἀλλ΄ αὐτὸ τὸ θεῖον καλὸν δύναιτο μονοειδὲς κατιδεῖν; ἆρ΄ οἴει͵ ἔφη͵ φαῦλον βίον γίγνεσθαι ἐκεῖσε βλέποντος ἀνθρώπου καὶ ἐκεῖνο ᾧ δεῖ θεωμένου καὶ συνόντος αὐτῷ; ἢ οὐκ ἐνθυμῇ͵ ἔφη͵ ὅτι ἐνταῦθα αὐτῷ μοναχοῦ γενήσεται͵ ὁρῶντι ᾧ ὁρατὸν τὸ καλόν͵ τίκτειν οὐκ εἴδωλα ἀρετῆς͵ ἅτε οὐκ εἰδώλου ἐφαπτομένῳ͵ ἀλλὰ ἀληθῆ͵ ἅτε τοῦ ἀληθοῦς ἐφαπτομένῳ· τεκόντι δὲ ἀρετὴν ἀληθῆ καὶ θρεψαμένῳ ὑπάρχει θεοφιλεῖ γενέσθαι͵ καὶ εἴπέρ τῳ ἄλλῳ ἀνθρώπων ἀθανάτῳ καὶ ἐκείνῳ;

But what if man had eyes to see the true beauty-the divine beauty, I mean, pure and clear and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and vanities of human life-thither looking, and holding converse with the true beauty simple and divine? Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may. Would that be an ignoble life?

For all those who love the Greek language:

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