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it in the individual, but by this transference from one to another, makes it immortal in the mortal. But whatever pains she takes, are available only to those who know from the Statesman, that the finite, as such, is never the immutably permanent and self-identical, and who, being already acquainted with the doctrine of the suggestion of knowledge, and the relation it bears to its eternal essence, as contained in the Menon and elsewhere, only require some still more palpable assistance. So that from this point also, the place we have assigned to the Symposium acquires additional justification. And what is more, our general arrangement receives remarkable confirmation from what Diotima says of the gradual advances in the mysteries of love. For this gradation harmonises most accurately with the continually developing philosophical speculation in the works of Plato, so that he here, unconsciously perhaps, as is often the case with beauties, most elegantly exhibits a mirrored likeness of himself. For first of all, the Phaedrus with its enamoured preference for one object, is excused as a work of youth; then the beginner rises to the contemplation of the beautiful, in practical exertions and laws; consequently, to investigations into the political virtues, such as we find in the Protagoras, and the dialogues connected with it, and in the Gorgias. Then come the modifications of knowledge, in their plurality indeed, but still as modifications of knowledge, consequently, with the consciousness of the peculiar character of knowledge as exhibited from the Theaetetus onwards; and thus the mind rises at last to the conscious contemplation of the absolutely beautiful, as it is beheld in disconnection with any individual beauty; and, as producing all inO O
dividual beauty in the world, both moral and material, will manifest itself to us in the last and later division of his works. For the determination of the time also when the dialogue was written, we find yet further some evidence, though of an uncertain character, in the anachronism already censured elsewhere, by which, in the speech of Aristophanes, mention is made of the destruction of Mantinea, which followed four olympiads after the death of Socrates, and it is certainly true that at the time when Plato wrote, the circumstance must have been fresh in men's recollection. But are we not to suppose that this recollection must have been as vividly renewed at the time when preparations were made for the restoration of the town, and do we not therefore still continue in doubt between the ninety-eighth olympiad and the hundred and second P The characters, with the exception of the otherwise sufficiently well-known poets, have been already introduced in other dialogues of Plato, and in Wolf's Introduction to his edition of the Symposium, enough for the satisfaction of every reader is compiled together about them. But why these persons in particular, and not others, should have these speeches put into their mouths by Plato, is a question which, as regards many of them, might be a difficult one to answer. Only we might regard Agathon's character as founded upon historic truth, and we find Phaedrus here, partly because he was described in the dialogue that bears his name, as a great friend to speeches and as a cause of many, partly to remind us still more decisively of this dialogue. As to Aristophanes, I should be inclined to regard his introduction here in the most friendly relation to Socrates, as an honourable compensation for what was said in the Apology; especially when we take into consideration the quotation from the clouds; perhaps also to show how entirely all bad feeling had vanished in him who had in earlier times written that beautiful epigram upon the poet, notwithstanding all the satire which the latter had aimed at the philosopher.
It now becomes incumbent upon us to explain more accurately the proper meaning of what has already been said preliminarily in the Introduction to the Symposium, as to the relation and connection between these two dialogues. Now, if the reader would assume with us, by way of experiment, that the Symposium and the Phaedon constitute the third description, that of the Philosopher, as connected with the other two already given of the Sophist and the Statesman, we would then, in order that a more accurate view of the subject may not escape him, draw his attention to the fact, that in the speech of Diotima the passion for wisdom is expressly excluded out of the idea of love, in order that this province may be assigned solely to parturition in the beautiful*, and that reference is as it were thus made to another place; which might at once, and of itself, be regarded as a prefatory indication of the Phaedon. For it cannot certainly be denied, that if the good is the object of love in general, then wisdom for its own sake is to be the predominant object of the love of wisdom, so that this feeling as essentially belongs to a man's life and conduct, as the communication and engrafting of wisdom in others. And it is by the mention of these two peculiarities of the philosopher, that his relation to the sophist and the statesman is first fully defined. For the statesman as such also creates, but only as preparing in their kind the superior natures that vibrate intermediately between the furthest extremes, which are thus made most susceptible of knowledge ; so that the philosopher best receives the object of his love out of the hands of the true statesman, in order then to create and perfect in that object the higher life of knowledge. And the sophist likewise is also engaged in dialectic separation and combination, but, confined as he is to the world of sense, and involved in pleasure and vanity, he adheres only to the terrestrial copies, and will thence obtain and possess for itself only the non-existent. The philosopher on the contrary struggles to acquire the self-existent, and to preserve it pure in knowledge, and, therefore, in order to exalt himself to the archetypes, in which alone it is to be found, he seeks how he may make his soul, in which they dwell, work for itself alone, and go free from the influence of sense and matter collectively. And this is that passionate desire to become pure spirit, that wish for death in the wise man which we find described here, at the beginning of this work, and out of which all the following investigations develope themselves. But, it will be said by many, even though this wish for death is the other essential inpulse of the philosopher in Plato's opinion, still, it does not form the most principal subject-matter of the Phaedon, but appears only to subsist as an introduction, and an occasion subordinately giving rise to all the discussions upon the soul's immortality, which clearly constitute that to which the chief importance is attached. Now, that the subject of immortality, at least, goes equal shares with that of the wish for death, I am not going to deny, only let it not either be overlooked, that the possibility and truth of knowledge are continually, and repeatedly interwoven with the allegations of proof respecting immortality, and that as regards our author, the two are in fact most intimately combined. For the endeavour after knowledge could not exist at all under the form of a wish to die, not even in a philosopher, if it were necessarily, at the same time, a wish for annihilation. And if the soul is to apprehend the essentially existent, which is not subjected to origination and destruction, and to all the conditions of imperfect existence, it can only do so, (according to the old principle, and one, which in this argument must be always born in mind, that like is only apprehended by like,) as existing similarly, and in the same manner with that essential existence. Thus, then, the immortality of the soul is the condition of all true knowledge as regards men, and conversely, the reality of knowledge is the ground upon which the immortality of the soul is most certainly and easily understood. Hence, in the former dialogues also, in which knowledge was investigated, immortality was always presupposed and investigated simultaneously ; and one may say, that, from the Gorgias and Theaetetus downwards, the two subjects are continually approximating in their progress, until they are at last in this dialogue most closely
* Tókos év Kaxto. Summ. t