Episode Thirty-Nine - The Mind And Spirit Are Not Supernatural But Parts of A Man Just Like The Head and Foot

  • Welcome to Episode Thirty-Nine of Lucretius Today.

    I am your host Cassius, and together with my panelists from the EpicureanFriends.com forum, we'll walk you through the six books of Lucretius' poem, and discuss how Epicurean philosophy can apply to you today. Be aware that none of us are professional philosophers, and everyone here is a self-taught Epicurean. We encourage you to study Epicurus for yourself, and we suggest the best place to start is the book, "Epicurus and His Philosophy" by Canadian professor Norman DeWitt.

    Before we start, here are three ground rules.

    First: Our aim is to bring you an accurate presentation of classical Epicurean philosophy as the ancient Epicureans understood it, which may or may not agree with what you here about Epicurus at other places today.

    Second: We aren't talking about Lucretius with the goal of promoting any modern political perspective. Epicurus must be understood on his own, and not in terms of competitive schools which may seem similar to Epicurus, but are fundamentally different and incompatible, such as Stoicism, Humanism, Buddhism, Taoism, Atheism, and Marxism.

    Third: The essential base of Epicurean philosophy is a fundamental view of the nature of the universe. When you read the words of Lucretius you will find that Epicurus did not teach the pursuit of virtue or of luxury or of simple living. or science, as ends in themselves, but rather the pursuit of pleasure. From this perspective it is feeling which is the guide to life, and not supernatural gods, idealism, or virtue ethics. And as important as anything else, Epicurus taught that there is no life after death, and that any happiness we will ever have must come in THIS life, which is why it is so important not to waste time in confusion.

    Now let's join the discussion with today's text:

    Latin Text Location 94- 160

    Munro Notes:

    94-135: well first the mind, animus or mens, is a part of man, as much as the foot or head: some deny this and affirm the mind's sense to be a harmony or certain life-giving state of the body by which we have sense, though the mind is nowhere: they are quite wrong; for often the body is sick, while the mind is happy; the mind is wretched, when the body is well; just as the foot may be sore, when the head is whole: again the body is often asleep and without sense, while something in us is moved by various passions. Next the soul too or anima is in the body and no mere harmony; for often much of the body is taken away, while life continues; and often when a few particles only of heat and air quit it, life is gone; so that you see that some elements are more important for life than others: this harmony therefore is nothing.

    136-160: the animus and the anima make up one nature, but the animus is the ruling part in the whole body and is situated in the region of the heart; the anima being spread through the body: sometimes the animus feels, when the anima does not; but under any violent emotion we see the anima sympathise throughout the frame with the animus: the anima therefore is united with the animus, and, being moved by it, stirs the whole body.


    First then, I say, the mind of man (which we commonly call the soul) in which is placed the conduct and government of life, is part of man no less than the hand, the foot, the eyes, are parts of the whole animal; though many of the philosophic herd have fancied that the sense of the mind is not fixed to any particular part, but is a sort of vital habit of the whole body, which the Greeks call Harmony; and thence flows all our sense, and the Mind has no particular place for its abode. As when we say health belongs to the body, yet it is no part of the body that is in health, so no particular part, they tell us, is the residence of the mind. But in this they seem to be egregiously wrong, for often when some visible part of the body suffers pain, we feel pleasure in some other part to us unseen; and the contrary often happens in its turn, that a man disturbed in mind is perfectly well all over his body, in the same manner as when a man has the gout in his foot, his head at the same time is free from pain.

    Besides, when our limbs are given up to soft sleep, and the wearied body lies stretched at length without sense, there is something within that in the very time is variously affected, and receives into itself all the impressions of joy and empty cares that torment the heart. But to convince you that the soul is a part like other limbs, and not as a harmony, takes up the whole body, observe first that many members of the body may be cut off, yet often life remains in the rest; and again, the same life, when a few certain particles of vital heat fly off, and our last breath is blown through the mouth, immediately leaves possession of our veins and bones. And this will give you to understand that all the particles of matter are not of equal consequence to the body, nor do they equally secure our lives; but the particles of our breath, and the warm vapour, are of principal concern to preserve life to us in all our limbs. This warmth, this vapour, therefore resides in the body, and leaves our limbs as death makes approaches towards us.

    But since the nature of the mind and soul is discovered to be a part of the man, give these fiddler's their favorite word, Harmony, again, take from the music of the harp, or whencesoever they borrow the name, and applied it to the soul, which then - forsooth! - had no proper name of its own; however it be, let them take it again, and do you attend what follows.

    I say then that the mind and soul are united together, and so joined make up one single nature; but what we call the mind is, as it were, the head, and conducts and governs the whole body, and keeps its fixed residence in the middle region of the heart. Here our passions live, our dread and fear beat here, here are joys make everything serene; here therefore must be the seat of the Mind. The other part, the soul, spread through the whole body, obeys this mind, and is moved by the nod and impulse of it.


    First then I say that the mind which we often call the understanding, in which dwells the directing and governing principle of life, is no less part of the man than hand and foot and eyes are parts of the whole living creature. [Some however affirm] that the sense of the mind does not dwell in a distinct part, but is a certain vital state of the body, which the Greeks call harmonia, because by it, they say, we live with sense, though the understanding is in no one part; just as when good health is said to belong to the body, though yet it is not any one part of the man in health. In this way they do not assign a distinct part to the sense of the mind; in all which they appear to me to be grievously at fault in more ways than one. Often times the body which is visible to sight, is sick, while yet we have pleasure in another hidden part; and oftentimes the case is the very reverse, the man who is unhappy in mind feeling pleasure in his whole body; just as if, while a sick man’s foot is pained, the head meanwhile should, be in no pain at all.

    Moreover when the limbs are consigned to soft sleep and the burdened body lies diffused without sense, there is yet a something else in us which during that time is moved in many ways and admits into it all the motions of joy and unreal cares of the heart. Now that you may know that the soul as well is in the limbs and that the body is not wont to have sense by any harmony, this is a main proof: when much of the body has been taken away, still life often stays in the limbs; and yet the same life, when a few bodies of heat have been dispersed abroad, and some air has been forced out through the mouth, abandons at once the veins and quits the bones: by this you may perceive that all bodies have not functions of like importance or alike uphold existence, but rather that those seeds which constitute wind and heat, cause life to stay in the limbs. Therefore vital heat and wind are within the body and abandon our frame at death.

    Since then the nature of the mind and that of the soul have been proved to be a part, as it were of the man, surrender the name of harmony, whether brought down to musicians from high Helicon, or whether rather they have themselves taken it from something else and transferred it to that thing which then was in need of a distinctive name; whatever it be, let them keep it: do you take in the rest of my precepts.

    Now I assert that the mind and the soul are kept together in close union and make up a single nature, but that the directing principle which we call mind and understanding is the head, so to speak ,and reigns paramount in the whole body. It has a fixed seat in the middle region of the breast: here throb fear and apprehension, about these spots dwell soothing joys; therefore here is the understanding or mind. All the rest of the soul disseminated through the whole body obeys and moves at the will and inclination of the mind.


    First I say that the mind, which we often call the understanding, in which is placed the reasoning and guiding power of life, is a part of a man no whit the less than hand and foot and eyes are created parts of the whole living being. [Yet many wise men have thought] that the sensation of the mind is not placed in any part determined, but is a certain vital habit of the body, which the Greeks call a harmony, in that it makes us live with sensation, although in no part does an understanding exist; as when often good health is said to belong to the body, and yet it is not itself any part of a healthy man. In this wise they do not set the sensation of the mind in any part determined; and in this they seem to me to wander very far astray. Thus often the body, which is clear to see, is sick, when, all the same we feel pleasure in some other hidden part; and contrariwise it happens that the reverse often comes to be in turn, when one wretched in mind feels pleasure in all his body; in no other wise than if, when a sick man’s foot is painful, all the while, may be, his head is in no pain.

    Moreover, when the limbs are given up to soft sleep, and the heavy body lies slack and senseless, yet there is something else in us, which at that very time is stirred in many ways, and admits within itself all the motions of joy and baseless cares of heart. Now that you may be able to learn that the soul too is in the limbs, and that it is not by a harmony that the body is wont to feel, first of all it comes to pass that when a great part of the body is removed yet often the life lingers on in our limbs; and then again, when a few bodies of heat are scattered abroad and some air has been driven out through the mouth, that same life of a sudden abandons the veins and leaves the bones; so that you may be able to know from this that not all kinds of bodies have an equal part to play, nor do all equally support existence, but that rather those, which are the seeds of wind and burning heat, are the cause that life lingers in the limbs. There is then heat and a life-giving wind in the very body, which abandons our dying frame.

    Wherefore, since the nature of mind and soul has been revealed as a part of man, give up the name of harmony, which was handed down to musicians from high Helicon: or else they themselves have dragged it forth from some other source, and brought it over to this thing, which then was without a name of its own. Whatever it is, let them keep it: do you listen to the rest of my discourse.

    Now I say that mind and soul are held in union one with the other, and form of themselves a single nature, but that the head, as it were, and lord in the whole body is the reason, which we call mind or understanding, and it is firmly seated in the middle region of the breast. For here it is that fear and terror throb, around these parts are soothing joys; here then is the understanding and the mind. The rest of the soul, spread abroad throughout the body, obeys and is moved at the will and inclination of the understanding.

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “Episode Thirty-Nine: The Mind And Spirit Are Parts of A Man Just Like The Head and Foot” to “Episode Thirty-Nine: The Mind And Spirit Are Not Supernatural But Parts of A Man Just Like The Head and Foot [Pre-Production]”.
  • Thanks to Charles for this link -- we are going to need to double back and address this to understand the issue of "harmony" -- another example where Epicurus is attacking Plato. Sounds like Epicurus/Lucretius are supporting Simmias, at least to some extent, but possibly not fully:


    Simmias' attunement analogy[5]

    1. Body is visible, composite and mortal.
    2. A harp is visible, composite and mortal.
    3. When the harp is destroyed the tune which is ethereal, invisible and divine is also destroyed.
    4. The soul is like a tune (harmonia) of the parts of the body. If the body is destroyed, the tune cannot survive.

    Socrates attacks Simmias's Analogy with four different arguments:[6]

    1. Harmonia-argument would be a contradiction to the anamnesis-argument that Simmias had already agreed on before.
    2. If the soul would be a tune, and bodies can be tuned differently, there would be more or lesser souls - which is not possible.
    3. Virtue is the proper attunement of the soul, and vice the lack of such an attunement. But if the soul itself is an attunement, then virtue and vice would be attunements of an attunement. But an attunement can't participate in non-attunement. So if a soul is a perfect attunement, it could not have virtue or vice.
    4. The soul is the ruling principle of the body. But attunement is governed by the material of the musical instrument. By analogy, that would make the body the ruler of the soul.

    Thus, Simmias' argument cannot be upheld.

  • Relevant Wikipedia links in regards to Plato's Immortal and/or divine Soul, Harmony & Vitalism, as well as a cross-post.

    (Simmias) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…acter_in_Plato.27s_Phaedo

    (Plato-Phaedo) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaedo#The_Affinity_Argument

    (Vitalism-Emergence) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitalism#Emergentism

    (Élan vital) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Élan_vital

    (Pleasure-Pain Simultaneously Thread) Can We Experience Pleasure in One Part of Our Experience and Pain In Another Part of our Experience At the Same Time?

    “If the joys found in nature are crimes, then man’s pleasure and happiness is to be criminal.”

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “Episode Thirty-Nine: The Mind And Spirit Are Not Supernatural But Parts of A Man Just Like The Head and Foot [Pre-Production]” to “Episode Thirty-Nine: The Mind And Spirit Are Not Supernatural But Parts of A Man Just Like The Head and Foot”.
  • Episode 39 of the Lucretius Today Podcast is now available. Today's episode is from Book Three, and focuses on the "mind" and "spirit" as parts of the body just like the hand or feet. This text includes discussion of the Greek theory of "harmony" and contains some difficult material that will take several episodes to sort through. As always we invite your comments and suggestions.

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  • Oh my, oh my, oh my. I have just finished reading PHAEDO at Charles link, which carries you to wikisource.

    How can we begin to analyze this material in Lucretius, or many other aspects of Epicurus, without reading Phaedo!?!? And how many other aspects of Epicurus are unfathomable without at least some amount of exposure to these Platonic arguments?

    We mentioned in the episode that the discussion of harmony in Phaedo was relevant, but in reading the full dialogue I am struck that one of the less important aspects.

    That's because the Phaedo's argument for an eternal soul is really built not on anything that has any relation to harmony, but on Plato's main fundamental that there is nothing truly real but the ideal, and that the senses are unreliable things that chain us to the least things and always separate us from the best things.

    And that there is no way to know anything about the lesser or the better but to understand that they can be understood only as partaking in the essences to which those words refer.

    Words, words, and more words -- all reflections of "ideas" -- everything boils down to that for Plato!

    Not only is this dialog essential for the discussion of harmony in this podcast, but it's really a high-level summary of the essential differences between Plato and Epicurus.

    We're going to have to give a lot of thought as we proceed to how it is even possible to begin to understand Epicurus without constantly referring back to the Platonic positions against which he was rebelling.

  • More post-Phaedo reaction:

    OK so in Phaedo Plato/Socrates delivered to the Greeks an argument for immortality of the soul and punishment/reward after death that is MUCH more persuasive than anything the stupid Christians and Jews ever came up with. And all of it based on essentially "dialectical logic" and denigration of the senses.

    So of course Epicurus rejected dialectical logic.

    Of course Epicurus defended the senses against ideal forms.

    Of course Epicurus argued that the soul cannot be immortal since everything is made of atoms and void.

    and of course Epicurus came up with an answer to the logical argument that pleasure cannot be the highest good because pleasure is supposedly something that partakes of the essence of lesser or greater, rather than partakes of the essence of something absolute.

    It's really almost a sick joke to try to jerk Epicurus' views on happiness/pleasure out of this context, and consider them separately. The whole philosophy is an integrated reject of Platonism at its deepest level - the elevation of "logic" as the only truth, and none of the separate aspects of Epicurus make any sense outside that context.

    These Platonic dialogues take time to read, but they are really indispensable. However maybe there is a way to identify several of the most important, possibly including Phaedo and Philebus and maybe Timeaus - and develop a short introductory guide to the key concepts? It makes sense that so much would be packed into Phaedo since this is Socrates' final speech before his death, so maybe it's possible to identify only a couple as the real keys.

  • One more question we will need to address as we deal with Epicurus/Lucretius on the soul:

    In Phaedo, Socrates' ultimate argument on which immortality of the soul is based comes down to his "recollection" theory, which is hard to summarize but seems to be something similar to "concepts" at least of a certain type are clear to us from birth, and they must have come from somewhere, therefore we must have had them from a prior existence.

    That's a woefully inadequate summary and perhaps not even correct at all, but the argument does seem to me to be related to Plato/Socrates reverence for "ideas."

    Presumably, therefore, Epicurus' arguments against immortality of the soul must address this argument. Do we think Epicurus/Lucretius has already made this impossible by the "nothing exists eternally except matter an void" argument? Or are there other aspects of Epicurus/Lucretius which attack this argument. No doubt there are huge numbers of commentaries on Plato/Socrates' recollection argument, so maybe we can find something concise that states the issue clearly.

    From Wikipedia,

    the four arguments are these, but the common element to me is that they all appear to be word games: which rely on the listener accepting the asserted definitions, rather than questioning them with observations from the senses and pointing out the limitations of the definitions.

    The Cyclical Argument

    Cebes voices his fear of death to Socrates: "... they fear that when she [the soul] has left the body her place may be nowhere, and that on the very day of death she may perish and come to an end immediately on her release from the body ... dispersing and vanishing away into nothingness in her flight."[10]

    In order to alleviate Cebes' worry that the soul might perish at death, Socrates introduces his first argument for the immortality of the soul. This argument is often called the Cyclical Argument. It supposes that the soul must be immortal since the living come from the dead. Socrates says: "Now if it be true that the living come from the dead, then our souls must exist in the other world, for if not, how could they have been born again?". He goes on to show, using examples of relationships, such as asleep-awake and hot-cold, that things that have opposites come to be from their opposite. One falls asleep after having been awake. And after being asleep, he awakens. Things that are hot came from being cold and vice versa. Socrates then gets Cebes to conclude that the dead are generated from the living, through death, and that the living are generated from the dead, through birth. The souls of the dead must exist in some place for them to be able to return to life.[11]

    The Theory of Recollection Argument

    Cebes realizes the relationship between the Cyclical Argument and Socrates' Theory of Recollection. He interrupts Socrates to point this out, saying:


    ... your favorite doctrine, Socrates, that our learning is simply recollection, if true, also necessarily implies a previous time in which we have learned that which we now recollect. But this would be impossible unless our soul had been somewhere before existing in this form of man; here then is another proof of the soul's immortality.[12]

    Socrates' second argument, the Theory of Recollection, shows that it is possible to draw information out of a person who seems not to have any knowledge of a subject prior to his being questioned about it (a priori knowledge). This person must have gained this knowledge in a prior life, and is now merely recalling it from memory. Since the person in Socrates' story is able to provide correct answers to his interrogator, it must be the case that his answers arose from recollections of knowledge gained during a previous life.[13]

    The Affinity Argument

    Socrates presents his third argument for the immortality of the soul, the so-called Affinity Argument, where he shows that the soul most resembles that which is invisible and divine, and the body resembles that which is visible and mortal. From this, it is concluded that while the body may be seen to exist after death in the form of a corpse, as the body is mortal and the soul is divine, the soul must outlast the body.[14]

    As to be truly virtuous during life is the quality of a great man who will perpetually dwell as a soul in the underworld. However, regarding those who were not virtuous during life, and so favored the body and pleasures pertaining exclusively to it, Socrates also speaks. He says that such a soul as this is:

    ... polluted, is impure at the time of her departure, and is the companion and servant of the body always and is in love with and bewitched by the body and by the desires and pleasures of the body, until she is led to believe that the truth only exists in a bodily form, which a man may touch and see, and drink and eat, and use for the purposes of his lusts, the soul, I mean, accustomed to hate and fear and avoid that which to the bodily eye is dark and invisible, but is the object of mind and can be attained by philosophy; do you suppose that such a soul will depart pure and unalloyed?[15]

    Persons of such a constitution will be dragged back into corporeal life, according to Socrates. These persons will even be punished while in Hades. Their punishment will be of their own doing, as they will be unable to enjoy the singular existence of the soul in death because of their constant craving for the body. These souls are finally "imprisoned in another body". Socrates concludes that the soul of the virtuous man is immortal, and the course of its passing into the underworld is determined by the way he lived his life. The philosopher, and indeed any man similarly virtuous, in neither fearing death, nor cherishing corporeal life as something idyllic, but by loving truth and wisdom, his soul will be eternally unperturbed after the death of the body, and the afterlife will be full of goodness.[16]

    Simmias confesses that he does not wish to disturb Socrates during his final hours by unsettling his belief in the immortality of the soul, and those present are reluctant to voice their skepticism. Socrates grows aware of their doubt and assures his interlocutors that he does indeed believe in the soul's immortality, regardless of whether or not he has succeeded in showing it as yet. For this reason, he is not upset facing death and assures them that they ought to express their concerns regarding the arguments. Simmias then presents his case that the soul resembles the harmony of the lyre. It may be, then, that as the soul resembles the harmony in its being invisible and divine, once the lyre has been destroyed, the harmony too vanishes, therefore when the body dies, the soul too vanishes. Once the harmony is dissipated, we may infer that so too will the soul dissipate once the body has been broken, through death.[17]

    Socrates pauses, and asks Cebes to voice his objection as well. He says, "I am ready to admit that the existence of the soul before entering into the bodily form has been ... proven; but the existence of the soul after death is in my judgment unproven." While admitting that the soul is the better part of a man, and the body the weaker, Cebes is not ready to infer that because the body may be perceived as existing after death, the soul must therefore continue to exist as well. Cebes gives the example of a weaver. When the weaver's cloak wears out, he makes a new one. However, when he dies, his more freshly woven cloaks continue to exist. Cebes continues that though the soul may outlast certain bodies, and so continue to exist after certain deaths, it may eventually grow so weak as to dissolve entirely at some point. He then concludes that the soul's immortality has yet to be shown and that we may still doubt the soul's existence after death. For, it may be that the next death is the one under which the soul ultimately collapses and exists no more. Cebes would then, "... rather not rely on the argument from superior strength to prove the continued existence of the soul after death."[18]

    Seeing that the Affinity Argument has possibly failed to show the immortality of the soul, Phaedo pauses his narration. Phaedo remarks to Echecrates that, because of this objection, those present had their "faith shaken," and that there was introduced "a confusion and uncertainty". Socrates too pauses following this objection and then warns against misology, the hatred of argument.[19]

    The Argument from Form of Life

    Socrates then proceeds to give his final proof of the immortality of the soul by showing that the soul is immortal as it is the cause of life. He begins by showing that "if there is anything beautiful other than absolute beauty it is beautiful only insofar as it partakes of absolute beauty".

    Consequently, as absolute beauty is a Form, and so is Life, then anything which has the property of being animated with Life, participates in the Form of Life. As an example he says, "will not the number three endure annihilation or anything sooner than be converted into an even number, while remaining three?". Forms, then, will never become their opposite. As the soul is that which renders the body living, and that the opposite of life is death, it so follows that, "... the soul will never admit the opposite of what she always brings." That which does not admit death is said to be immortal.[20]

    Socrates thus concludes, "Then, Cebes, beyond question, the soul is immortal and imperishable, and our souls will truly exist in another world. "Once dead, man's soul will go to Hades and be in the company of," as Socrates says, "... men departed, better than those whom I leave behind." For he will dwell amongst those who were true philosophers, like himself.[21]

  • No doubt it is true that not all of us have to study Plato, and it is even more certain that in fact most of us will not do so. The trick is going to be finding "trusted Epicurean Friends who know Phaedo" and at the moment I am aware only of Norman DeWitt who even attempts to draw attention to these issues by explaining how Epicurus' arguments fit together as responses to Plato.

    There is a lot to think about here. For me personally it is one thing to use the word "idealism" to describe Plato's position, but when I actually read the translation and come face to face as it were with his argument I am being shocked at what "idealism" actually means. Calling it a "word game" does not seem to me to begin to evoke the full significance of the manipulation that is going on. Plato is literally basing everything in his worldview on defining words in a certain way, and then interpolating conclusions based solely on his definitions, explicitly throwing out the senses as any check or restraint on his procedure, and using his dialogue format as a form of cheerleading to imply that his conclusions are obvious and the only conclusions possible. "Yes Plato you're absolutely right! Nothing could be more clear!"

    Geesh - give me a break!

    But the bottom line is that most of us are not going to read Phaedo and Philebus and other key works of Plato. So we have to figure out how to substitute for that.

    In many respects it seems clear that Epicurus was writing to Platonists or at least to people who were familiar with Platonism. We who are neither are at great risk of not being able to understand what is being argued for that reason.

  • Important points from Phaedo - How Plato "Proved" the Immortality of the Soul

    The following comes from the latter part of Plato's argument, after Plato has backed away from his initial more superficial arguments in favor of immortality, and he has begun to respond to the objections raised against his initial statement. Those objections included the "harmony" argument (in which it is argued that the harmony cannot exist when its parts are destroyed) and the "newer cloak" argument (in which the soul, though durable enough to outlast many worn-out cloaks in life, does not outlast the cloak that the man obtains shortly before his death). Plato proceeds with these as part of his concluding arguments:

    1. Harmony admits of degrees, but in the soul there are no degrees;
      1. I mean to say that a harmony admits of degrees, and is more of a harmony, and more completely a harmony, when more truly and fully harmonized, to any extent which is possible; and less of a harmony, and less completely a harmony, when less truly and fully harmonized.
      2. True.
      3. But does the soul admit of degrees? or is one soul in the very least degree more or less, or more or less completely, a soul than another?
      4. Not in the least.
      5. Yet surely of two souls, one is said to have intelligence and virtue, and to be good, and the other to have folly and vice, and to be an evil soul: and this is said truly?
      6. Yes, truly.
    2. If the ideas have an absolute existence the soul is immortal.
      1. There is nothing new, he said, in what I am about to tell you; but only what I have been always and everywhere repeating in the previous discussion and on other occasions: I want to show you the nature of that cause which has occupied my thoughts. I shall have to go back to those familiar words which are in the mouth of every one, and first of all assume that there is an absolute beauty and goodness and greatness, and the like; grant me this, and I hope to be able to show you the nature of the cause, and to prove the immortality of the soul.
      2. Cebes said: You may proceed at once with the proof, for I grant you this.
      3. Well, he said, then I should like to know whether you agree with me in the next step; for I cannot help thinking, if there be anything beautiful other than absolute beauty should there be such, that it can be beautiful only in so far as it partakes of absolute beauty—and I should say the same of everything. Do you agree in this notion of the cause?
      4. Yes, he said, I agree.
    3. All things exist by participation in general ideas.
      1. He proceeded: I know nothing and can understand nothing of any other of those wise causes which are alleged; and if a person says to me that the bloom of colour, or form, or any such thing is a source of beauty, I leave all that, which is only confusing to me, and simply and singly, and perhaps foolishly, hold and am assured in my own mind that nothing makes a thing beautiful but the presence and participation of beauty in whatever way or manner obtained; for as to the manner I am uncertain, but I stoutly contend that by beauty all beautiful things become beautiful. This appears to me to be the safest answer which I can give, either to myself or to another, and to this I cling, in the persuasion that this principle will never be overthrown, and that to myself or to any one who asks the question, I may safely reply, That by beauty beautiful things become beautiful. Do you not agree with me?
      2. I do.
      3. And that by greatness only great things become great and greater greater, and by smallness the less become less?
      4. True.
    4. The merely verbal truth may be replaced by a higher one.
      1. And now, he said, let us begin again; and do not you answer my question in the words in which I ask it: let me have not the old safe answer of which I spoke at first, but another equally safe, of which the truth will be inferred by you from what has been just said. I mean that if any one asks you ‘what that is, of which the inherence makes the body hot,’ you will reply not heat (this is what I call the safe and stupid answer), but fire, a far superior answer, which we are now in a condition to give. Or if any one asks you ‘why a body is diseased,’ you will not say from disease, but from fever; and instead of saying that oddness is the cause of odd numbers, you will say that the monad is the cause of them: and so of things in general, as I dare say that you will understand sufficiently without my adducing any further examples.
      2. Yes, he said, I quite understand you.
      3. Tell me, then, what is that of which the inherence will render the body alive?
    5. We may now say, not life makes alive, but the soul makes alive; and the soul has a life-giving power which does not admit of death and is therefore immortal.
      1. The soul, he replied.
      2. And is this always the case?
      3. Yes, he said, of course.
      4. Then whatever the soul possesses, to that she comes bearing life?
      5. Yes, certainly.
      6. And is there any opposite to life?
      7. There is, he said.
      8. And what is that?
      9. Death.
      10. Then the soul, as has been acknowledged, will never receive the opposite of what she brings.
      11. Impossible, replied Cebes.
      12. And now, he said, what did we just now call that principle which repels the even?
      13. The odd.
      14. And that principle which repels the musical or the just?
      15. The unmusical, he said, and the unjust.
      16. And what do we call that principle which does not admit of death?
      17. The immortal, he said.
      18. And does the soul admit of death?
      19. No.
      20. Then the soul is immortal?
      21. Yes, he said.
      22. And may we say that this has been proven?
      23. Yes, abundantly proven, Socrates, he replied.
  • Quote

    ...nothing makes a thing beautiful but the presence and participation of beauty in whatever way or manner obtained; for as to the manner I am uncertain, but I stoutly contend that by beauty all beautiful things become beautiful.


  • http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/h…9.04.0057:entry=a(rmoni/a

    I'm only about 1/2 through the episode, but it seems from LSJ that ἁρμονία harmonia is a joining together or a joint. So the harmonia/harmony being opposed is the idea that the "soul" is joined together with the body, it's something from outside the body that gets joined to the body. The Epicurean view is that the "soul" arises with the body from physical materials.

    I agree with Elayne and Charles that you feel strong emotions in the chest.

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “Episode Thirty-Nine: The Mind And Spirit Are Not Supernatural But Parts of A Man Just Like The Head and Foot” to “Episode Thirty-Nine - The Mind And Spirit Are Not Supernatural But Parts of A Man Just Like The Head and Foot”.