Travelling sets ourselves aside from the routine, making another story of our daily lives. Living in the sounds of a record player, constantly moving in round endlessly, sometimes gives us a desire to step aside from the turning track and to listen the bird’s singing from the tree branch across the window. In such way, traveling and reading share a similarity which offers us an escape either physically or mentally. My body was transported to sightseeing places of Bretagne while my mind was transferred to the salon where the dialogue of Timaeus was happening. Separated, yet those two encountered in evidence and compassion. A break, one might say to a trip, but this short break can also overwhelm the whole especially when it is about the story of creation.
When I arrived to the table, the conversation was about “the State- how constituted and of what citizens composed it would seem likely to be most perfect.” The conclusion was that to make the State to be most perfect, the individuals who compose of such State should be most perfect on their own. By this logic, to understand how to be most perfect on our own, the discourse of creation was needed for it would be worth to take a look of how we originated to be. Yet, we lost the ancient wisdom, keeping our distance to the originality yet admiring only to new technology. So the accusation was fair that “in mind we are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among us by ancient traditions, nor any science which is hoary with age.” But what is tradition then, when some traditions are considered immature and inhumane? That moment I was window-shopping and found this phrase in french: “The true tradition, in great things, is not to redo what others have done, but to rediscover the spirit that made the great things and that would make others in all other times.”
The model of most perfect State and its men was Atlantis, as the dialogue developed on the table. In modern perspective, Atlantis maybe is a myth of old texts that say “there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.” But what truly lays is the fact that “there have been, all will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes.” Not even going to far to Atlantis era, we have evidence of the destruction of great human civilisations such as Inca, Aztec and Nile. In such sense, we still try to find the existence of Atlantis in metaphysical or physical context, to examine the missing link between ancient wisdoms and modern belief. Stepping down to the sea, towards where located Atlantis, we dare the intellect pursuit for “he who has been earnest in the love of knowledge and of true wisdom, and has exercised his intellect more than any other part of him, must have thoughts immortal and divine, if he attain truth, and in so far as human nature is capable of sharing in immortality, he must altogether be immortal; and since he is ever cherishing the divine power, and has the divinity within him in perfect order, he will be perfectly happy.”
So finding happiness leads us to find what is called divinity. When we ourselves become divine, the State of which such divine individuals compose would be most perfect form. The dialogue continued mentioning that what is divine is not simply the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Rather, it’s to distinguish “the one divine and the other necessary, and may seek for the divine in all things, as far as our nature admits, with a view to the blessed life; but the necessary kind only for the sake of the divine, considering that without them and when isolated from them, these higher things for which we look cannot be apprehended or received or in any way shared by us.” We already witness this argument in the speech of Raskolnikov in ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Dostoyevsky. The creator “was good, and the good can never have any jealousy of anything. And being free from jealousy, he desired that all things should be as like himself as they could be. This is in the truest sense the origin of creation and the world, as we shall do well in believing on the testimony of wise men: God desired that all things should be good and nothing bad, so far as this was attainable.”
And we, being the children of God, “heard and were obedient to their father’s word, and receiving from him the immortal principle of a mortal creature, in imitation of their own creator they borrowed portions of fire, and earth, and water and air from the world“. Those elements represent an order, and “now when each process takes places in order, health commonly results; when in the opposite order, disease.”
This disease is what we consider bad, and this happened not only to body but also to mind, as we acknowledge “disease of the mind to be a want of intelligence; and of this there are two kinds; madness and ignorance.” Therefore, “no man is voluntarily bad; but the bad become bad by reason of an ill disposition of the body and bad education, things which are hateful to every man and happen to him against his will. (All sort of diseases) create infinite varieties of ill-temper and melancholy, of rashness and cowardice, and also of forgetfulness and stupidity. Further, when to this evil constitution of body evil forms of government are added and evil discourses are uttered in private as well as in public, and no sort of instruction is given in youth to cure these evils, then all of us who are bad become bad from two causes which are entirely beyond our control. In such cases the planters are to blame rather than the plants, the educators rather than the educated. But however that may be, we should endeavour as far as we can by education, and studies, and learning, to avoid vice and attain virtue.”
What to study and to learn? The answer is too simple to disappoint all others. This has been the very subject of all religions and poems for thousands years, yet we have not been educated. “Every man may be said to share in true opinion, but mind is attribute of the gods and of very few men.” Such discourse resembles what prot delivered in K-Pax (2001) mentioning that only few great men understood; including Christ and Buddha. Even the planet K-Pax seems how Socrates described the Republic: the most perfect form of States, for example when Socrates promoted that “no one should ever know his own child, but they were to imagine that they were all one family.” This simple answer, of course, is to love. All these suggestions were due to promote people to learn how to love, not to set boundaries of their loving capacity.
As the travelling and conversation continued. On the table, the words were set: “We (men as the superior race) must have love, in which pleasure and pain mingle; also fear and anger, and the feelings which are akin or opposite to them; if we conquered these we would live righteously, and if we were conquered by them, unrighteously. He who lived well during his appointed time was to return and dwell in his native star, and there he would have a blessed and congenial existence. But if he failed in attaining this, at the second birth he would pass into a woman, and if where in that state of being, he did not desist from evil, he would continually be changed into some brute who resembled him in the evil nature which he had acquired.” Could it be the antecedent of Hinduism’s and Christian’s incarnation belief? (Regardless of its masculine-superiority discourse presented in feminist-towards modernity.)
Taking it as a religious symbol, a woman is wiser by a life-long experience and knows better how love mingles pleasure and pain, since she had lived a chance and failed. It doesn’t mean that she would outperform in loving, but it is worth to learn from women. The first woman born, Eve as the Christian description, was born from the rib of a man. She tried to give her knowledge of fruitful love (symbolised apple) to a man, for him not to pass the same rebirth and most importantly to be righteous, found out that she only gave him an excuse of accusing women whenever men feared not ‘having a blessed and congenial existence’. The violence was made towards women accusing their knowledge as the source of the evil. Yet we don’t really know whether ‘Eve giving Adam the apple’ or ‘Adam accusing Eve before God’ is the reason of their expulsion for the garden of Eden. By literal text, God didn’t prohibit woman from eating the apple, but only did when Adam was alone in the paradise. But interpretations differ.
Adam and Eve got set away from the tree of life, yet didn’t know that they themselves were “a plant not of an earthly but of a heavenly growth, which raises us from earth to our kindred who are in heaven,” as we all are. They never was set away from the tree of life. They didn’t get the chance to understand that they are the tree of life, and not knowing so, they were set away from such knowledge. The importance of intellectual understanding and pursuit for knowledge continues; “the lover of intellect and knowledge ought to explore causes of intelligent nature first of all, and secondly, of those things which, being moved by others, are compelled to move others. And this is what we too must do. Both kinds of causes should be acknowledged by us, but a distinction should be made between those which are endowed with mind and are the workers of things fair and good, and those which are deprived of intelligence and always produce chance effects without order or design.”
According to the discourse of Timaeus, we will continue in rebirth to inferior creature unless we successes in living righteously, and by living such we contribute to the better form of society, governing and State. The opposite occurs when diseases spread. I feel lucky then, for being able to see my own soul alighting at night. Will it be true then humankind is the only species that can look up to the stars at night? I only guess it would be difficult for a snail to look up to alighting stars trying to locate his soul star. I accept the wisdom of the old and the wisdom of the reborn; the women. I must have love, living righteously conquering the feelings which are akin or opposite to them. Christianity, along with other religions, have built a religious monopoly over investigating the causes of intelligent nature, only to approach its destruction from setting it away from the tree of life. Going back to the ancient time where Timaeus invited me during this travel, I earned one valuable lesson: To love and to live righteously.