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2894Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Odysseus in the myth of Er

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  • leslie greenhill
    Dec 2, 2009
      Thanks John and David for your thoughtful comments.  Jung takes up the issue of Reincarnation in "Memories, Dreams, Reflections".  I have not been able to connect with the issue because of some ideas about Time, itself, that have formed in my mind since I took up Jungian studies years ago.  Certain synchronistic experiences at that time I found challenging.  So, back to the myth of Er.  I am, because of its intensity, inclined to think it has some basis in some kind of dream experience.  Possibly worked on through active imagination and amplified.  What would Plato's dreams have been like as he neared the end of writing the Republic?  And when he wrote about geometry making it easier for one to see the Form of the Good, (Rep. 526), what had he seen or done to write such a thing?  Perhaps I can give some kind of example.  Picture the pentagram only from the aspect of its outline.  Eliminate the interior pentagon.  Most people only
      see the number "five".  Look more closely.  In such a pentagram there are only two interior angles.  One is 36 degrees, the other is 252 degrees.  Now 252 is 7 times 36.  Seven, a number much connected with mysticism, is just as much a part of the make up of the pentagram as five is.  Thirty-six, too, is interesting.  It's six squared.  Plutarch wrote that the Pythagoreans thought the number 36 represented the world. 
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      --- On Thu, 3/12/09, John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...> wrote:

      From: John Uebersax <john.uebersax@...>
      Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Odysseus in the myth of Er
      To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      Received: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 3:38 AM


      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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