If you are unfamiliar with the philosophy of Plato, you should start by learning about his theory of the aristocracy. Plato ranked aristocrats at the top of the hierarchy and gave them little monetary reward for their status. His idea of social justice, in contrast, centered on distribution of wealth in society. Aristocracy is not necessarily desirable, however, and it is possible to live without it.
Plato and Dionysius both make use of the term “being” as a synonym, though Dionysius focuses on the concept of being as “the totality of intelligible determinations.” God is the cause of all things, and the essence of these determinates is divine. This definition of being is a significant departure from the philosophy of Aristotle, which describes God as the source of all things.
Dionysius’s philosophical work is not free of contentious and controversial topics. Nevertheless, a close reading of the work will reveal how the philosopher used it. While the Christian author is often perceived as a Christian walled off from pagan thought, Dionysius is in fact a Neoplatonic thinker. And his texts reveal an intertextuality that goes beyond Plato.
Although St. Gregory the Great refers to Dionysius in his commentary on the angels, it is unclear whether he had access to a copy of the entire work. Dionysius’ works did not receive much attention in the Latin West until the eighth century, when the Byzantine emperor Michael the Stammerer sent a copy of the corpus to the Frankish king Louis the Pious.
Plato’s delusion can be traced to a famous story from ancient Greece, the one about king Dionysius II of Syracuse, who was obsessed with assassination. He allegedly refused to let his hair be cut, and instead singed it with coal. He would also force visitors to show that they were unarmed, and even put to death a pirate captain who had dreamed of killing someone. His delusion was a powerful one, and he was unable to control his passion and would never be able to conquer the island.
Plato’s metaphor for Socrates’ philosophical inspiration is the same one he uses to describe the state of drunkenness. The analogy draws from earlier Greek poetry, where the popular Bacchants praise Dionysus as the inventor of the liquid drink made from grapes. Thus, Plato’s use of “mimesis” to describe the corrupting effect of poetry is appropriate.
A philosopher who has a headache is unlikely to be a lover of wisdom. Instead, he is likely to be obsessed with power, money, and pleasure. For this reason, he has been attributed the delusion of philosophy as being a delusion, thereby stopping all attempts to test higher virtues. Hence, he becomes suspicious of the illness of others and constantly concerns himself with his own health.
Dionysius’s obfuscation of Being
During the fifth century BC, Plato lived in Athens, becoming the head of the Platonie Academy. While the philosopher was a notorious polymath, his ideas had a deep influence on Western philosophy. This article will explore some of the key concepts that Plato discussed in his philosophy of mind. Read on to learn more.
The encounters between the philosopher and the king of Sicily map onto the allegorical landscape of the cave in The Republic. Dionysius II sought to ascend from the shadow of politics to the light of philosophy, whereas Plato traversed the opposite path, from politics to philosophy. Plato himself failed to convert Dionysius, partly because he was not self-created. His education, opulent lifestyle, and mercenary nature shaped his character and ultimately, his ability to influence others.
Despite his apparent lack of confidence in his own abilities, Plato often insists on the necessity of humility and ignorance. Socratic irony is evident in several dialogues, which end in aporia, where neither party can reach an agreement on a conclusion. It’s possible that this is one of the key reasons why some scholars believe the philosophers of the third-century BC have remained obscured from the world for so long.
Dionysius’s vain hope
Unlike the Platonists, who are content with the broad outlines of the world, Dionysius takes delight in the minute details of divine light. While we cannot attain omniscience, we can approach the realm of the infinite. For Dionysius, the world is as one with the Godhead. While we will never reach the infinitude of knowledge, we can achieve a state of assimilation to God.
For Dion, democracy is the worst form of government. He hoped to establish a Platonic state, with aristocratic limitations. Yet, he allowed a tyrant’s citadel to remain and limited his authority to the joint command of Heracleides and his pupil, Calippus. As a result, many would question the wisdom of Dionysius’ philosophy.
The Platonists, by contrast, believed that all modes of existence are derived from a single source, or “One.” The One, or Nous, is radical in its simplicity. Like Aristotle’s unmoved mover, Nous is akin to nature and reflects the world soul. Humans have the potential for creative action and can choose to become united with intuitive intelligence.
In The Dialogues, Dionysius scorns religion and superstition. He once saw a temple magistrate leading away a steward who had stolen a votive bowl. He told the magistrate, “You big thieves are leading away the little one.” Another example is when Diogenes sees a man praying to Asclepius, a god of healing. He asks him why he sacrifices a gamecock, which Diogenes replies, “If you were really praying to him, you wouldn’t have courted me!”
In the Dialogues, Socrates shows a similar dilemma, where he observes inconsistencies in the behavior of the other Greeks. While other Greeks were floundering, he continued to live according to his principles. This was hypocrisy. For Socrates, this was a mistake. For him, thinking is a process that requires something that is not present in objects that are sensible.
In the Republic, Plato describes a man named Cephalus as a representative of conventional opinion. Although Cephalus is not bad, he is unreflective. In a broader context, this is the way a conventionally-minded man views society. In the Dialogue, Socrates manipulates a dialogue by attacking the Nomos, the god who supports the city. For instance, Cephalus claims that a pious man practices justice by sacrificing to the gods. Socrates then turns Celalus’s statement into, “Justice is paying one’s debts.”
Dionysius’s shallow religion
Many of the myths surrounding the life of Dionysus involve the intermixing of the mortal and divine spheres. This unusual mix of the two worlds is a characteristic of Greek mythology, and Dionysus’ biography is viewed as both real and realistic. Dionysus, like Christ, was the son of the gods and was considered to have a “real” past.
This idea is reflected in the iconography of the cult. While the cult has a rich history of myths and stories, these stories have a unique setting in Greek religion. The images and symbols of the god Dionysus are often connected to astrological principles, which have to do with the slow movement of the sun backwards across the heavens and the opposite motion of the stars.
Other ancient sources include the stories of a festival at Andros during which a spring filled with wine and the jugs of Elis were filled with wine. Other sources, including Plutarch, mention the festival of Elis in a place called Haliartus. In this festival, priests of Dionysus placed empty cauldrons in a room and found them filled with wine by the next day.
Dionysius’s false hope
This episode in Plato’s Letters takes place in the second visit to Sicily. Dionysius, a friend of Plato, felt threatened by the prospect of spreading ill reports about him. In his own way, he hoped to shape the constitution, not to trample on it. This story shows the perils of divisiveness and how the two men differed.
Plato acknowledges that philosophy is inextricably bound to government. However, the two are different, and in order to unite them, the Idea must become absolute. That is, it must become aware of its absolute power in history. It rules the world without consciously thinking about it. Dionysius’ false hope is reflected in Plato’s philosophy.
Dionysius’ false hope reflects the way Plato views the soul. He rejects the notion that the soul is a harmonious unity of the body and soul. In addition, he rejects the idea of an immortal soul, describing the latter as the result of an indeterminate process of development. Rather, he views the soul as a separate entity from the body.