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evident, and these examples could only be either completely or as good as completely finished speeches. Whence the propriety of their position before the theoretical part, and the necessity of a fiction for the purpose of introducing them, naturally follows. But in order to facilitate the comparison, Plato needed an example of the common illogical method no less than one of his own, and after the last again he was obliged to accomplish ends of an opposite nature if he wished to shew the influence of the peculiar tendency of that period upon the whole discussion, and at the same time to produce that logical semblance which leads unobserved from one contradiction to another. On this account, therefore, no one, we conceive, would wish to overlook the first of the two Socratic speeches from a preference for the second, as it is only by the most accurate comparison that both can be understood aright. Thus the entirely different tone of each, according to its purpose, will become evident. For in the one we have the pervading direction of the speech to the understanding and to sober worldly-mindedness, the expression moreover, notwithstanding all the rhythmical accumulation of words, preserved transparent and cold— thus it indisputably is that a mind must be treated which it is intended to lead to a contempt of passion by directing its views to a late future; in the other, on the contrary, we have the inspired tone, the exaltation of beauty to an equal rank with the highest moral ideas, and its close connection with the Eternal and Infinite; the manner moreover in which indulgence is demanded for the sensuous system, without however concealing that it is only indulgence; thus it is that with indulgence to the imagination a young and noble mind must be wrought upon, which, like that of a growing Hellenic boy, springs fresh out of the school of the poetic art. Truly it could not easily be better proved than is done by this collocation, how necessary on every occasion it is to consider in what way a given mind can be influenced to a given object. In like manner from this point of view it will appear natural that these examples should be taken from a subject appertaining to Philosophy, because in a subject of this description Plato found himself most on his own peculiar ground, and because this was at the same time necessary, in order as well to verify, practically, as it were, the theory of the extension of the Art of Speaking beyond the circle of political and civil affairs, as to suggest a fitting rule for comparison between that more narrow province, and this the more extended, the sphere of the production of splendid philosophical works. Now if Plato had determined to start from an example actually given, and that example one which had already submitted to the laws of rhetoric, it will not be risking too much as to the range of his knowledge and reading at that time, to say, that his choice must have been extremely limited. For except the declamations of the Sophist, which were indeed works so unsound that for Plato with such views and principles to place himself in comparison with them would have been productive of no honour, and which moreover, as soon as Rhetoric and Sophistry began to separate, lost their consequence more and more from that point of view, there could be little else for him to choose but these erotic rhetorical essays of Lysias, who moreover, from possessing to a certain degree fundamental principles, was a more worthy opponent than ever an orator out of the poeticising school of Gorgias.
But this is just the point at which the insufficiency even of this view must strike every one. For why should Plato have wished to confine himself by such a self-imposed law, and that too quite contrary to his own method 2 Or is it not usual with him to put into the mouth of his Interlocutors what they have never said, liable to the sole condition that it be like them and appropriate P And what therefore should have hindered him from composing a speech in any one's name, unless he found one at hand upon a subject for which he not only had a peculiar interest, but which also stood precisely in the closest connection with the immediate object of this dialogue. For that love is indeed a moral object, and that in the method in which it is here treated of, there lies at bottom something like an apology for Socrates who was accused of it in an unworthy sense, this would be perhaps sufficient cause for introducing it as one of those subordinate points of the second rank which we meet with not sparingly here in the introduction generally, in the transitions and in various allusions; but when anything stands in such relation to the whole as these speeches do, then it becomes incumbent upon us to discover a necessary connection between it and the main idea of the whole. Now if the main idea here were nothing but the correction of the motion of rhetoric, in that case love and beauty, which form the subject matter of these speeches, would be, as regards this point, purely accidental. But this is just Plato's method, and it is the triumph of his master-mind that in his great and rich-wrought forms nothing is without its use, and that he leaves nothing for chance or blind caprice to determine, but with him every thing is proportionate and co-operative according to his subjects range. And how should we miss this intelligence altogether in this place, above all others, where the principles which he adduces are pronounced in the clearest manner P Thus, therefore, it is at once evident that this is not yet the correct view, and not taken from the point from which alone a survey may be had of the whole, and every particular appear in its proper form and position, but that we must seek out another, connecting every thing still more accurately. But there are yet other reasons at hand which would not allow us to stop here. For is it likely that it could have been a principal object with Plato to compose a treatise upon the technicals of rhetoric P and would this in any way agree with his other purposes as a writer P or is it not rather the case that nothing similar ever occurs again, and the Phaedrus would then stand isolated in a manner in which a far less important work, in the case of this master, could scarcely be allowed to stand P Nay more, even in the second part, though it is from this that the standing point for this view is taken, still much remains inexplicable and strange on the supposition that it is the right one. For this second part not only expatiates greatly upon love and beauty as the subject of the first, but upon the form of that part and rhetoric generally. For all that is said of rhetorie is suddenly extended to poetry and politics as well, for these too are arts, and it can escape no one that, properly speaking, even rhetoric itself is set up and treated of only as an example, and the same even is said of it almost as of the speeches delivered, that, setting aside the higher laws which must be exhibited therein, its whole operation and business is nothing but child's-play. In such wise, therefore, we are driven from H
an outer to an inner, and as this last does itself in turn soon become an outer, we push still onwards even unto the innermost soul of the whole work, which is no other than the inward spirit of those higher laws, the art, namely, of unshackled thought and informing communication, or, dialectics. For which all else in this dialogue is but preparation, in order to bring about the discovery of it in the Socratic method by the exhibition of its spirit in a well known particular, and that one in which an exclusively scientific form was in part generally recognized, and in part easy to exhibit. Now not only does Plato intend to celebrate this art as the root of every other ramification to which that name can apply, but, while in all other arts we are indeed to recognise it, it is itself to appear to every one as something much higher and perfectly divine, which is to be learnt and practised, by no means for their sake, but for its own and for that of a divine existence. Now the original object of dialectics is found in ideas, which he therefore here describes with all the ardour of first love, and thus it is philosophy that Plato here extols, independently and wholly, as the highest of all objects, and as the foundation of every thing estimable and beautiful, and for whom he may triumphantly demand that her claims to these titles be universally recognised. And it is just because philosophy fully appears here not only as an inward state, but, in accordance with its nature, as extending and communicating itself, that it is necessary to bring to consciousness and to exhibit the impulse which forces it outwards from within, and which is nothing but that genuine and divine love which raises itself above every other, originating in and proceeding upon any notion of advantage, as philosophy does by its nature excel