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Sem. John Paul D.

Olea

SSP II

Platos Theory of Man


The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.1

Plato, who trod this earth around 429 347 B.C., is one of the most impressive and influential author in the history of
philosophy. He is known for his disconcerting but profound idea on Theory of Forms (or Theory of Ideas). A concept that
refers to the belief that everything we see in this visible world is just a copy of a perfect world somewhere beyond time
and space: the Perfect, Pure, Beautiful and Good! (as depicted his Allegory of the Cave). Vlastos discusses Platos theory
of Forms while analyzing further its traditional concept, examining, and pointing out other misconceptions surrounding
the idea. He scrutinize, admitting fairly that he misunderstood his most admired philosopher, Platos method and accusing
it as dogmatic and apologetic, rather than historical and scientific.
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Contemplating on the sacred art of music, I realized that human beings are born with an affection to what is noble, good
and beautiful. He will always hate and disgust the ugly no matter how objective or subjective his taste seems to be. It may
sound far-fetched but I want to put a bridge between Platos two ideas: Theory of Forms and On Music. Plato mentioned
in his book the potency of music, he said Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm
and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul
of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful. 2
We may ask why I should mention music here in this commentary. I do believe that beautiful music (objective beauty) is a
foretaste of that perfect world of Forms. It is a window where we can have glimpse of what is beyond satisfying our
souls and quenching, for a while, our thirst for that longing to be transported to that place: a paradise which philosophers
until now have difficulty describing. I cannot just set aside or refute any of Platos ideas since much of it bears a
fingerprint of the Divine. And when I say Divine, Truth and Wisdom resides within it.
Much has been refuted and almost if not all buried back to its ancient soil some out-of-this-world ponderings of these
sages. Music, for instance, has been found out by scientist to be a celestial energy bringing order and beauty, and
somehow chaos if mistakenly tune, to everything. Pythagoras, Boethius and Plato were right then when they commented
on this thousands of years ago. They tried to explain things or a phenomena in their own formula of words, methods and
beliefs which cannot be place at same level of scientific explanation and expression that we have today. There might have
been a problem in expressing it but I know, if Plato, Anaxagoras or Democritus and their contemporaries are still alive
today, they will reign like Hollywood stars in TESLA, FERMILAB and CERN!
Music for me is an art of precision and perfection. It transcends all. It is like a string connecting two worlds apart the
mundane and the Divine. It gives hope to all regardless of belief that there is a perfect world we left somehow and now we
strive to be with. Today, we appreciate all these beautiful things that surrounds us, what more if we will see the Source of
all that is Perfect, Beautiful, and Good.

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Platos Republic, III


Platos Republic, III