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Dogma: Blessed Plato

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MessagePosté le: Ven Aoû 16, 2013 6:31 am    Sujet du message: Dogma: Blessed Plato Répondre en citant

    Hagiography of the Blessed Plato


    At the time of the birth of Plato, the city of Athens was dominated by a few large powerful families. They were the hub of the social life of the city and the business fabric as well. Among them was the family of Ariston who was descended from King Codrus, the last legendary king of Athens. This genealogy gave the family a lot of respect, but the family also performed functions that were important to the whole city, and exerted financial influence over the life of the city.

    One stormy night, the young Perictione, herself the daughter of an influential family, sought shelter from the heavy rain at the temple of Hermes. Ariston noticed her there, she was cold, wet and hungry and he gave her food and shelter in his nearby home. Despite only having spent the one day together, he decided to marry her.

    The union of these two lovers, although permitted, aroused debate and caused anxiety among the families. It was against tradition to marry so quickly, particularly to families that were not well known to each other. The storm they met in was also seen by those who believed in ancient superstitions as a bad omen.

    Despite this, they were married and the union of Ariston and Perictione produced four children: the sons Adeimantus, Glaucon, Aristocles, and the beautiful daughter Potone.

    Of the four children, the birth of their third child Aristocles was unusual and not without problems:

    Ariston had gone to war and was not their to see the birth of his child.
    Perictione herself had been travelling, and the child was born on the road, at night, some leagues from Athens, and it was only by a miracle that both the child and the mother survived.

    She decided to call the baby Aristocles, after Ariston's father who had recently died. This was part of the tradition of the day.


    It was 5 years before Ariston returned from war. His three sons had grown, especially Aristocles who he had never met and was now 5 years old. The first words Ariston spoke when he saw his child became the basis for the nickname the child retained until his death.

    "I expected to see a little baby cooing and making small noises, yet I come home and find you have both a large dialect and large body!"

    The word "large" in Greek is called "Plato", and so he was since nicknamed "Plato, the large", by all who met him.

    From a young age, Plato seemed to have very high intellectual capacity, and for this reason, his parents insisted on training in music, mathematics, sports, painting and grammar. Thus, at age 16, he wrote his first poems and his first tragedies.

    At age 19, rumours came to his ears: that the great philosopher called Socrates, who defied the conventional wisdom, was in town.
    For Plato, this brought a revelation: that thought could be challenged, and there was a man who rejected what he had been taught in order to understand for themselves the truth he perceived.

    Plato decided to meet this Socrates. But his parents, fearing that this "bad" company and would not suit the future political life reserved and expected of Plato, forbade him to go and see Socrates.


    Without informing his parents, Plato went to a favourite gym of Socrates to listen to a dialogue between Socrates and one of his followers. Anxious so as not to be denounced by his family, he had attempted to conceal his identity.

    Seeing a young man that he had never seen before, Socrates interrupted his discussion and pointed with his finger sternly saying:

    Socrates "who are you who come here to listen to my words?"

    PLATO "I am Plato, humble son of two farmers. I can not pay to listen to your lessons, oh esteemed teacher, but I wish to remain discreet. "

    Socrates "here is not the place for discretion, nor to lie, Plato. If you are here, you have to come in front of everyone, and argue without error. I am not a Sophist who will only teach to those that will pay. To have such conviction is as false as your alleged peasant condition, which is betrayed by your fancy attire. "

    Impressed by Socrates, who had managed to easily unmask him, Plato agreed to talk with him and soon after this swore to follow him unswervingly.

    For years, Socrates and Plato travelled the streets searching for people to believe their ideas and reject opinions and beliefs that had no foundation. Socrates demonstrated his freedom of thought on all matters, and started to question publicly in his dialogues the dogmas of the polytheism of the time.

    He thought the attitudes attributed to the Greek gods to be unworthy of real gods and on contemplation of this it lead to the conclusion that there could be one deity only.

    But one day when Plato was ill, soldiers came and stopped Socrates in the middle of one of his dialogues. They accused him of disturbing the public order, of impiety towards the gods and the corruption of youth. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death by taking hemlock.

    Inconsolable, Plato returned to Athens and decided to put in writing the dialogues of his master while they were still fresh in memory.

    However, he lacked the courage to resume the dialogue of his master about the gods, nor continue the refinement and contemplation that there may be only one God. The fear of death stopped Plato.

    Once this long work of writing the dialogues was done, he could not bare for the work of Socrates to end there, so he founded the academy for young men and women of Athens where you could get an education worthy of the memory of his master.


    Over the years, the Academy of Plato became the most famous place for the cultural enrichment and intellectual training of young people. There was not a family that did not encourage their children to follow the teachings of the Academy. So popular had it become that an admissions test was set up, one where you required to pass 3 tests : a moral, a physical and an intellectual.

    These tests were:

      The shrews : nasty old women who were hired to deter and discourage the less motivated of the disciples.

      The labyrinth: the actual premises of the academy, despite its sumptuous exterior, was a real maze so that the disciples understood that the path of knowledge is never right nor simple.

      The syllogism: for every new disciple, Plato used to propose a fallacy, that is, a perverse syllogism, in order to prove his responsiveness and alertness of intellect.

    One day a student for whom Plato had not been warned about entered the Amphitheatre in which he gave his lessons. It was Aristotle. As he had obviously passed the test of the shrews and the labyrinth, Plato made him prove that a cat could have eight tails.

    Impressed by the rigour with which Aristotle replied, he was accepted among his followers. Between them a strong bond of loyalty and complicity were formed, which he had never known with Socrates, when he was himself a disciple. Whenever he elaborated a theory, Aristotle was there to justify it, and both agreed on all matters of life.

    Thus passed many years until Aristotle decides to leave Athens, finally unable to agree with Plato on the nature of ideas and things. At first, Plato regretted his departure, which he considered unworthy of spirit. He believed that Aristotle was upset to find himself in disagreement with his master and had left on a whim.

    However, a few years later, he heard again about this disciple that he was never able to replace. Indeed, one of his students told him he was leaving his courses for Axos, because the master Aristotle taught something more innovative than at Plato's Academy.

    So pleased he was to have formed a belief deep enough in his students that it would lead to more thoughts and studies, he decided to end his academic work.


    Taking the road to the coast of Troas, Plato felt his strength decline, and when people recognized him, he found himself increasingly not able to talk to them for fatigue.

    He Arrived at the Academy of Aristotle, disguised to avoid being observed, and observed his former disciple explain the unity of God.

    Conscious of having been largely overcome in wisdom and reasoning; and finding that what Aristotle had described was in fact some of his old teacher Socrates thoughts which he had not written down, he was shaken in his confidence and returned to his inn without going to greet his old friend.

    It is in this inn in Axos, where he really became aware of the truth of the views of Aristotle. Finally finding the courage he had missed in his youth, he said, before the customers and owners who looked on in amazement : "Aristotle was right: There is only one God, and I bet that it was God that led Aristotle to me to help find His truth. Glory be to Aristotle, I can die in peace."

    In fact, it was that night that Aristocles-Plato passed away in a bedroom of the Inn of Axos.

Translated in August 1461 by the team at Villa San Loyats.
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