Immortality of the Soul and the Relationship of IdeasJune 27, 2021
It was stated that Platonic philosophy was based on the doctrine of the ideas and the immortality of the soul, and Plato’s understanding of existence, knowledge, morality and society was largely derived from these two teachings. The first of these teachings was briefly discussed above.
In Plato’s works, these two doctrines emerged and developed simultaneously. Because when Plato completely separated ideas from sensible things, he also had to explain how man would come into contact with these transcendent beings. This is one of the main reasons why the theory of Ideas developed along with the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. According to the principle that like can be known by like, Plato considered the soul as a structure similar to ideas as much as possible. He never saw the soul as an idea, but he especially emphasized that it belongs to the realm of ideas and that it is the most similar to ideas among all beings (Phaidon, 78c-80b). As a matter of fact, the qualities he attributes to the ideas and the spirit are almost the same; both are immutable, simple, immortal, divine (Cornford, 1957: 250). The fact that the soul resembles ideas as much as possible enables it to make them an object of knowledge.
Because it is infinite, it is similar to the forms in structure, but it is material because it exists in the body and thus exists in time and space (Rist, 1989: 146). Thanks to this intermediate position, it provides the connection between the realm of ideas and the human culture, society and political order (Bıçak, 2004: 140). In the Platonist order, a great function has been attributed to the soul. He will carry the divine order of ideas in the universe to the earth and will achieve this function with the ability to know (Devlet, 518c). Because the order can be grasped as a whole, only if the soul sees and grasps the good (Devlet, 505b). A spirit who acquires the knowledge of the good idea and the ideas in general can make it a basis for the order of the city and bring himself, the society, the state and its citizens to the ideal order (Devlet, 540a-b; Voegelin, 1957: 112).
The qualities that Plato attributes to spirit and ideas are almost the same. Both are immutable, simple, immortal and divine in nature.
The subject of innate knowledge in Plato is closely related to the subject that “the soul has another life before”. According to Plato, the soul must have acquired the innate knowledge at another time. The human soul must have acquired the knowledge of the good and the beautiful, after watching the good and beautiful. The knowledge that the soul brings with it at birth is the knowledge of ideas. The soul must have lived in the universe of ideas and watched the ideas in person. However, in his life in this world, only a dark and unconscious thought, an emotion, remained in the soul. Every time the soul sees individual objects around it, some foggy images of ideas awaken in it. Therefore, information is a “reminder”. The soul constantly remembers the universe of ideas because of the individual objects around it. This recollection proves to us that the soul has lived before this, and that the soul had a previous life allows for the view that it will continue to live after death. The subject of the immortality of the soul In Plato’s philosophy, in the Phaidon dialogue and other dialogues, Plato put forward various evidences about the immortality of the soul, and “remembering” takes its place in his works as an important proof on this subject.
In Plato’s life story, it is emphasized that he was under the influence of the Pythagoreans and some Orphic rules. According to the Pythagoreans, the soul constantly changes form. As a result, transmigration (tenasuh) is essential for the immortality of the soul. The body is a prison for the soul. For this reason, the soul wishes to get rid of the body and get away from the body, so Plato combined these thoughts of the Pythagoreans and Orphic religion on the soul in the assumption of ideas. According to him, the soul once lived a separate life from the body. This previous life of the soul was in the universe of ideas. Later, the soul fell from the universe of ideas to this world. Because of this stagnation, which is an arrest, the soul is forced to attach to a body, to be stuck in a body. Man’s resistance to bodily distress strengthens the hope that one day the soul will be freed from the body.
Thus, we have come to an important subject of Plato’s philosophy, his “psychology”. According to Plato, the soul is not a holistic (unity) being. Soul; It consists of three parts: “agreement, will and coercion”. Plato displayed his view on the soul in the dialogues of Phaidon, Phaedros and Politeia (State).
There is only one main motivation in the soul: the tendency towards good, beautiful, happiness and perfection. But this motivation may be mistaken and he may suspect that he can find them in concrete things. For example, he may be a slave to spiritual passions; In this case, man connects himself to the mortal universe of things. As long as the soul obeys the passions, it can never prevent itself from being a slave to the body and is constantly forced into the world again dependent on a body. If the passions are mastered, the soul frees itself from being imprisoned in the body when it comes to the next world.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Ki