LITERATURE: Phaedrus – On The Soul

It is difficult to get through this without discussion, and I find myself questioning my thoughts as I have only myself with whom to argue.  This, of course, despite the best intentions and efforts at playing Devil’s Advocate taints somehow the argument and thus the meaning when, unconsciously seeking affirmation of opinion, the opposite is merely seeking disapproval.

"And there is a law of Destiny, that the soul which attains any vision of truth in company with a god is preserved from harm until the next period, and if attaining always is always unharmed. But when she is unable to follow, and fails to behold the truth, and through some ill-hap sinks beneath the double load of forgetfulness and vice, and her wings fall from her and she drops to the ground, then the law ordains that this soul shall at her first birth pass, not into any other animal, but only into man; and the soul which has seen most of truth shall come to the birth as a philosopher, or artist, or some musical and loving nature; that which has seen truth in the second degree shall be some righteous king or warrior chief; the soul which is of the third class shall be a politician, or economist, or trader; the fourth shall be lover of gymnastic toils, or a physician; the fifth shall lead the life of a prophet or hierophant; to the sixth the character of poet or some other imitative artist will be assigned; to the seventh the life of an artisan or husbandman; to the eighth that of a sophist or demagogue; to the ninth that of a tyrant-all these are states of probation, in which he who does righteously improves, and he who does unrighteously, improves, and he who does unrighteously, deteriorates his lot."

I read into this, Socrates’ description via metaphor, a rendering of the soul and immortality.  Further, in the naming of the heights or levels of attainment of knowledge, a return to earth to seek the higher planes of truth and wisdom, with an eventual goal of perfect understanding.

It screams to me of theories of reincarnation, and to some degree, it follows my own beliefs–or rather, I the words of Socrates.  I’ll go along with the reading on my own, but do need to research further the other observations and interpretations that have been made–and I’m sure that there are many, many of them.  And I am also sure that they come much closer in meaning to this discourse. 

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