If ever God descended on earth to talk to human beings, surely he will speak like Plato. No other language will suit Him so well, in order to touch the mind, heart and soul of human beings. By reading his dialogues, one rather feels that God incarnated as Plato, in order to distribute knowledge, wisdom and love to humanity. His thoughts are so profound and perfectly chiseled, that no one as yet, managed to add even one iota onto his celestial writings.
Hoping not to exaggerate, I want to voice, like the fanatical Islamist Omar for his Koran, “Burn the voluminous libraries, they are unnecessary, since their true values are all in Plato’s writings”. Whatever one wants to know, he will find it always in his books. Philosophy, physics, metaphysics, immortality, sociology, cosmogony, language, politics, mathematics, justice, pedagogy, literature, astronomy, rhetoric, civil constitution, hygiene, athletics, pure love and whatever else. Plato's book “The Republic” will suffice to educate the world”, said Emerson, no other schooling is necessary.
Without Plato’s thoughts, we would surely all look like the young infants, who scream and kick their little legs, until they learn to speak the mother’s tongue, and say what they want in order to calm themselves.
Plato means philosophy and philosophy means Plato. He is the father and teacher of man’s reason, and without him, societies of today would not be far better than the lower animal kingdom. He established the first organized school on earth, and until today, 25 centuries later, school bells ring in every city and village around the globe.
He consumed, like a silkworm, the undefined and unripe thoughts of ancient Greece, Egypt, Babylonia and Asia, in order to synthesize and deliver them in a more defined and perfect way to Hellenes, and other European nations. Barbarians and savages of the world became calmer psychosomatic-ally by suckling Plato’s mental ambrosia for 2500 years. Philosophers, mystics, poets, prose writers, language teachers, rhetoric’s, astronomers, cosmologists, pedagogues and dogmatic worshipers, all ran and will still run forever into the mystery, that is named Plato. Many borrowed his intellectual ladder to climb a little higher, in order to gaze at their soul’s loftiest wonder.
Christians have Platonism in their creed; Hebrews have crypt-imitate him, and Muslims copied Plato’s morals, almost identically in their little book on ethics “Akhlaq-y-jalaly” Poets and profound sheers like: Amonios, Plotinus, Plutarch, Milton, Dante, Shakespeare, Thomas Taylor, Voltaire, Hugo, Bacon, John Smith, Ralph Cudworth, Carlyle, Emerson, and a thousand others, where all Platonic offspring. Although Aristotle tried to oppose Plato’s thoughts for a while initially, he failed to do so. He too, Platonism in every feather -writing word until the last day of his life.
It is impossible for one to think any further without Plato’s help. He is like a large hairy-handed father, who holds his child tenderly by his hairless hand, to lead him to his first day of primary school.
He was born around 427 B.C, near Pericles, where one of the world's most known ancient political leaders died. He lived in the glory days of tragedian playwrights - Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, and witnessed the catastrophic side effects of the Peloponnesian war. In spite of his rich and aristocratic upbringing, he refused to follow a materialistic road of plenty and egocentric vanity. He chose instead, the path of temperance and moderate poverty, in order to harvest later, his brilliant intellectual and spiritual glory.
At the tender age of 20, he met the mighty Socrates whom he followed until his death. After the inhuman execution of his beloved teacher, he devoted the rest of his life to talk only about him.
He traveled extensively to the “magna Grecia” of Sicily and visited Egypt and Babylonia, they say that he went even further. Returning to Athens, he opened the first university in the world in 368 B.C, which he named “Academia” after the well know Greek athlete Academos. It was an open aired school among pine trees and olive groves where Aristotle’s would imitate him later with his Lyceum school on the banks of the Illissos River.
Students from all over the world would arrive thirsty to study at Plato’s Philosophical school, but only those who were initiated into his Platonic ideas were allowed to enter. On the front of his school gate, you could read from a distance the large prescriptive banner in pentelic marble. “No entrance to none initiated” He always lectured verbally by conversing with his students like a gentle loving father. Although he never believed in written teaching method, he wrote many books to pass his time. He called his dialectic writings “pagali paidia”, which means, pleasant game or noble amusement. He believed like the mathematician Pythagoras, that the true intellectual system of the universe is mathematically rapt and a difficult one to understand well, without some basic knowledge of geometry. For this reason a second sign-board at his School was written: “Ignorant in geometry should not enter here”.
He absorbed the Hellenic fore running thinkers like, Homer, Thales, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras, Pythagoras, Philolaos, Parmenides, Empedocles and Xenophanes, in his mental mill. He re-synthesized them all and reproduced them tastier and more digestible for the Hellenes and the rest of the world's understanding. Unfortunately they did not have the convenience in those days, like today, of recording lectures for storage, but his feather pen written dialogues, are good enough to make our souls dance like hedgehogs when we read them.
When I read his book “Last days of Socrates” at the tender age of 25 , not only could I not sleep that night, but I also wept like a child and felt very pleased at my new discovery. A spiritual awakening had taken place inside me, like a “purgatory” (cleansing fire) that cleansed my soul like the wheat kernels from other harmful weeds. I did not know to whom I must be grateful first, Plato’s wonderful brain or to Socrates’ mighty wisdom. They were both so God like, that I could not distinguish where the one ended and the other one began. It is impossible for one to remain the same after reading Plato’s thoughts. They are like rare remedies that harness our five senses to obey human reason.
Plato awakens in us the love of learning and our endless spiritual enfoldment. A new and common world opens for all who have been touched by Plato’s magnanimity, leaving behind all ignorance and darkness that made us walk blindly like the sleepwalkers in the midnight hours. He united the European brotherhood intellectually and inspired the rest of the world to follow him. He made all of them feel that he was their compatriot. The English said with admiring voices: ‘A! How English are these Platonic writings! The Normans, Teutonics, Slavs, Scandinavians, Latinos, Asians, Africans and all the rest of our global dwellers to own him as well.
All great souls who are surpassing their national borders, become citizen of the universe or cosmos, and called ‘cosmocrats’, which means, citizens of the universal beauty. Souls as Plato’s are cognate with the bright sun that is welcomed immensely and loved wherever its warm shining rays touch. We are all grateful to the mighty Zeus, who descended to earth in the form of Plato, to ignite brilliantly the journey of our souls, to higher planes. Scholars from all over the world translated and will keep on translating Plato’s writings, like the Lord’s Prayer. They wish to learn Plato’s original spoken language, to feel a little closer to his celestial thinking genius.
Plato’s wisdom is the only one in the universe that lifts higher the human intellect, to be free, and spiritually upright. His creator wasn’t a watchful sky-dweller, but earthly collaborator with heart and intellect. God’s height for him was never surpassed the peaks of mount Olympus.
Freedom of the Soul, (salvation) was exclusively an intellectual issue, and never one of a faith, prayer and confession. “Man is the measure of everything” used to voice-out the sophist Protagoras.
He asserted like Socrates, that he knew nothing personally, and that he was learning by conversing with others. The real knowledge, he said, does not derive from too much schooling, but can only be discovered within ourselves through mutual conversation. Wisdom is all in the soul, he said, and can be resurfaced by remembering. What is the first step then in discovering this knowledgeable journey?
The mind should control and direct the wild passions and sentiments first, like the charioteer does with his horses by controlling them through discipline, to arrive safely and on time at his destination.
I have searched for more information about Plato’s life, but unfortunately, I did not find much. It seems that great men have an unusually short biography. No one entered his house, to tell us more about his private life. If he had a wife, friends, girlfriends, weaknesses or other personal peculiarities, we know nothing of it.
All of his private time was converted to contemplation, wisdom and spirituality, like the well-built chimney where the fire burns well and smokeless, to avoid polluting the earthly atmosphere.
They say that he did not smile easily, or hardly ever. He was not far wrong I think, since uncontrolled laughter sometimes can be a sign of a psychosomatic disease and mental anomaly. Schizophrenic or mentally affected people, usually roar with laughter without any reason what so ever. All anecdotes, said Aristotle, are half finished truths without danger, if they end in danger they become tragedies. Plato never loved superfluity and unfinished truths, they did not produce him laughter, but rather sorrow for its plight.
How did Plato’s intellectual flame remains non-extinguishable for so many centuries, in spite of being fiercely persecuted frequently from the religious fundamentalist?
They say, that never has never been more than a handful of people in every country, who read and understand Plato’s writings well; Certainly not enough reading -force to support a new edition to be published regularly. Despite this, Plato’s books have been re-published almost yearly around the globe. Here we see clearly, that some higher cosmic power takes care and regulates Plato’s spirit to flow uninterrupted on this planet. Like the oxygen in our atmosphere that must be constantly regenerated to support life on this globe; so too with Plato’s voice, will his work be republished inexhaustibly, as necessary spiritual food for mankind.
Whatever advances or changes our future brings, even if the earthly axis changes its place or the sky cracks in the middle, Plato will never vanish from our planet.
He will remain like an irreplaceable torch, throughout the ages, to light the mental and spiritual journey of humanity. His books will survive like heavenly heritage, revealing to each of us, how high we can reach, if we choose, and follow the right path in our own life’s journey.