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Plato's Ideas


Ibsen writes: 

Seemingly inconsequentional observations by another can light a bulb for one. Thus i'm greatful to Blakney for noting in his Introduction (xxvi) that "...Eckhart undoubtedly drew his notion of 'bild' ... from the Platonic 'idea' - a word nearly identical with our word 'form' in meaning." What mattered to me was the realization that, "Yes, 'form' IS nothing other than 'idea', than 'thought'.

2. Are not 'mystics' called so by those whose perceptions are grounded in dualism? We love to quote the mystics because their insights seem uncanny and awesome, while appearing to defy common logic. Amazed, we believe that the source of their 'wisdom' must come from a secret source.

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Hi Ibsen,

I can't agree with the equation of Plato's ideas with concepts. This is a complex issue, not to be answered in an email message. The main point is that Plato's ideas are virtues, properties of the divine being, communicated also to the created existence, as already Trypho and Augustine understood. E.g. Goodness is not just a 'form' and concept, it is the fact of being good, with goodness elevated to its source and perfection in God. The Holy, holiness, is not just an idea, but a reality in which all saints participate in various degrees. Plato's ideas have their real source in Homer and the (common in Greek life) relationship and communication between God and man.

I don't know who do you mean by 'we' ('we love to quote mystics', etc). Avoid such generalizations. Different people quote mystics for different reasons. The word itself (mystic, mystical, etc) comes from the Greek word myein, mystikos, etc, meaning closing ones eyes, that is, seeing beyond what is usually (by anyone) visible, transcending everything that impedes our vision of what is really real. A mystic is not someone who knows this or that, but someone who lives in a reality divine and unapproachable to people with unclean heart (not just unlearned).

Mystical is not the secret in the sence of wanting to be secret, but in the sence that it can not be experienced by everyone. It is beyond words, because the words that speak about this condition don't correspond with what the 'ordinary man' lives, so that they sound as empty words, without meaning or with fictitious or unbelievable meaning. This is the reason why Christ said, "don't throw the Holy to dogs".

Don't put the word wisdom inside quotes ("their 'wisdom' must come..."), it is called wisdom rightly, it is superior to what each and everyone understands in concepts and/or life.Add a note!

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The Meister Eckhart Site 

Plato Home Page

The Greek Word Library

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