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2892Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Odysseus in the myth of Er

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  • John Uebersax
    Dec 2, 2009
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      Les -- again you raise excellent questions about what motivated Plato, whether he identified with Odysseus, how did he relate to his own talent, ambition, etc.

      Certainly the Er myth stands out prominently from the rest of the Republic -- at least in style, though one would hope there is an important thematic connection to the rest of the work.

      Dennis mentioned (in alluding to the Michael Allen article) the take of Marsilio Ficino on the Er myth. Ficino resisted the view that Plato took his references to reincarnation -- including the Er myth -- literally. That would mean reincarnation would have to be understood allegorically. A possible view is that reincarnation symbolizes cyclical patterns of ego states -- for example, from elevated noetic states back to worldly attachments to body and passions.

      The Republic can be read at one level as a study on self-governance: how does the person or the ego organize and govern the 'polity of the soul'? An allegorical reading of the Er myth would be a very suitable close to this study if it described cycles and patterns of ego states.

      The Jungian, Edward Edinger, whom I mentioned before, wrote about cyclical patterns of ego development vis-a-vis the Self. He explained the ego as varying between more and less orientation to the Self (i.e., towards or away from 'individuation')

      John Uebersax
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