The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates

Friday, 14 January 2011

Body Soul and Spirit

The soul is not separate from the body. The soul is the very activity and life of the body. Without the body there could be no soul or mind - the mind being part of the soul. I believe that Plato was wrong about this: not that it matters or affects his doctrine at all in any way that matters. It is just that he didn't have a clear view of what "life" was: how could he in that pre-scientific era?

The SPIRIT (the Personal Subjective Experiential Consciousness) is what is eternal and is separate from the body. Even so, the spirit is pretty worthless without the body - it is all potential and no action - which is why Judaism and Christianity stress "the resurrection of the body".

One criticism that outsiders have of Platonism that it tends to result in an "instrumentalist" view of the body. This is a distortion of his doctrine.

In any case, of course a craftsman should love his tools. One loves that which is good for one - that which is of benefit, which enables and fulfils and which makes it possible to conduct one's own proper business. For the true craftsman, his tools are the object of his true love for they enable him to answer the call of his daemon and play before the court of Heaven, celebrating his understanding of beauty.

Similarly, the body is the "tool of tools" at the very least; so the spirit should cherish the body - while giving priority to the mind which is the body's highest function.

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