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Greek philosophy

Socrates, by W.K.C. Guthrie

I have been blessed, possibly because I have been praying lately, with a digital copy of a voluminous work on Socrates, originally titled “A History of Greek Philosophy”, by W.K.C. Guthrie, Volume III, Part 2 of which is devoted to Socrates.

I discovered it by following a bibliography of a book on Socrates I did not like (“Socrates in 90 Minutes”, by Paul Strathern), and saw the list of sources mostly populated with Oxford and Cambridge University Presses from the 1970s; this is from a terrible  book on Socrates published in 1997 and originally sold for $5.95, which dismissed Socrates and derided Plato on every page. It nonetheless lead me to some really good academic works, all of which I added to my Wishlist on my Amazon account.

All of these books are over 200 pages and sell for upwards of $40 (used) on Amazon. Much to my joy, I found one of the books on a filesharing site, and on Scribd. I downloaded it to my Kindle Fire, and I’ve read 80 pages (40% of the book) in 24 hours. The wisdom and scholarship have fulfilled my soul, all thanks to a stupid book which I plan to refute in full.

Here’s where I am now:

“But in fact this eros in us is a spiritual force, and by shunning its lower manifestations and learning its true nature, we may allow it to lead us upwards (as Socrates is made to expound it in the Symposium) from passionate desire for a particular body to an aesthetic enjoyment of visible beauty in general, from that to beauty of character, higher still to the intellectual beauty of the sciences, until by persevering to the end we are granted the sudden vision of beauty perceived not with the bodily eye at all, but with the eye of the soul or mind. On this ultimate, indeed divine level, beauty and goodness and truth are one, and the vision of this supreme reality, says Plato through the mouth of Socrates, is only possible to the man who is by nature a lover, for the power which leads to it is the power of eros. That, says Socrates, is what is meant by initiation into the final mysteries of ta erotika; and that is a fundamental doctrine of Platonism, a philosophy to a large extent inspired by Socrates himself.” — p. 76, Socrates/A history of Greek philosophy, Volume III, Part 2, by W.K.C. Guthrie, Cambridge University Press, 1971

By AFarooqui

I write about the dichotomies present in religion, gathered mostly from discussions with average Jews, Christians, Muslims and atheists.

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