Plato’s Republic as Metaphor for Enlightenment

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Plato uses the most rigorous logic, stories, and analogies in an effort to show what appears to be a mystical vision. Indeed, this is affirmed if we consider his aim of turning the cave dweller towards the light. In essence, as we have seen, this is a turning inward--or the self-reflecting on itself, which ultimately leads to a subject-to-object merging. It is through the cognitive progression, however, from image, to belief, understanding and knowledge that enlightenment is achieved. This, we have seen, corresponds to mystical experiences. Why is this occurring? If we follow Plato’s procession of knowledge, it follows logically that this must occur. The true nature of self (at the lower levels of the hierarchy) cannot be perceived unless directly perceived at the level of forms--where images dissolve. If we examine the dialogues closely, I believe clues can be found that point to the mystical experience. I propose that the merging into one with regard to the tripartite soul--with each component becoming aligned with the rational--which is really a way of “purifying us from the defilements of the passions…”as well as Socrates’ refutation of opinions or belief to find universals are both evidence of a synoptic perspective characteristic of mystics who have achieved a mystical experience.
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