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Socrates and Plato - Track 1203

I told yesterday or day before yesterday, I told you that things in the world are moving fast even before you grasp it is gone. Anything even before you just touch it is gone. We must remember that all things that shift are running fast the whole earth is like a ship which is running fast or like an aeroplane running fast in the space and therefore everything in the world is moving. Whatever is around you is also moving for us, even the things which are stationary are for us moving because we are moving. So we are only getting sensa actually. It is by some kind of an effort that we get some kind of fixity that fixity is called perception, sensa are themselves are fleeting fast. When we sense something it is simply a fast moving glare of sensa. When you fix them then I can say: I see you. It is a kind of a fast moving band of sense, which I fix and say this is my friend, I see her clearly that is perception. The glare of sensation when they get fixed, I call it perception, I perceive. Even this perception is a notion. When you listen to a broadcast on the radio what you are listening are only the words, which are fast moving words, so many signs are transmitted. A word is pronounced, sound is heard and is gone, another sound comes takes its place, it’s gone, it’s all moving fast. Somehow you are able to fix them that fixing which is also temporary is what we call perception. All, the whole world that we are seeing is actually a movement of sensa, somehow gets fixed for a short time which you call perceptions all the things in the world. This is what sensation cannot tell you, perception cannot tell you. It is because you have conceived what is cattiness and cattiness is not this cat or that cat alone, this cat is different from that cat but because we are seeing what is cattiness you can recognise any cat however different from the cat that you are seeing. How does it happen? Because you conceive it’s not perception there is a conception, you will arrive at a conception. You can’t see cattiness, you conceive cattiness exactly, you don’t sense cattiness, you conceive cattiness.

According to Plato any object which you perceive has behind it a universal idea, like cattiness is an idea is a concept. Chairs have a universal idea behind them which we can call chairness. You conceive chairness and therefore you see that they are all chairs of different kinds but still all of them are chairs. Just as you may take two stones and give friction and fire is ignited. Similarly when you perceive so many objects and suddenly conception is ignited. According to Plato conception or the capacity of conception or the activity of conception in which universals are conceived that is the beginning of philosophical activity. What is philosophy? Philosophy is the conceiving of universals as a result you perceive what is called similarities, universals and existence these three things are interdependent. It is universal which makes things similar and there is one universal which is existence everywhere. One supreme universal is existence. If there is one common term which is all the things you perceive in the world, one thing which is common to everything is existence, it is the highest universal you might say that is why Plato has taken these three examples, – similarity, universal and existence and he points out and this is the most important theory of Plato: Perception is not knowledge. As long as you remain at the level of perceiving, you are not in the field of knowledge it’s only when you conceive that you have knowledge. When you rise to the level of conception then you enter into the field of knowledge. This activity of conception is the activity of what we call reason. When you say do you have reason, do you have the capacity of rationality, what is exactly meant, what do you mean by rationality? By rationality we mean conception of universals, only when you can conceive universals can you say: you have entered into the field of rationality. You will find that whenever you think, you are already using universals. We are all thinking, without even knowing that we are thinking by aid of universals. But you will find when you will analyse any thought in your mind; you will find that you are …. universals. Even a small sentence like ‘Man is mortal’, short sentence, ‘Man is mortal’ the thought. Now when you use the word ‘man’, you have got the concept of humanity, manness, what is manliness, what is manness, what is manhood and mortal is a word which can be understood only when you understand the idea of mortality. What is mortality, concept of mortality? So, ‘Man is mortal’ this sentence is a thought, is a process of thinking, this process of thinking involves two universals – manhood and mortality these two concepts both are universal concepts.

Now we come to the last lap of Plato’s thinking and his theory. Every universal is an idea or you put it the other way, every idea is a universal. All human beings have got this capacity to have ideas in which universals are caught, understand the universal, you do not perceive. What you perceive is particular but we happen to understand the universal. Now this understanding of the universal is rationality. When we say man is a rational being what exactly do we mean? The man is a rational being, animals cannot have universal ideas they can only have sensa and perceptions, some memory but even a small child as soon as he begins to develop a little it begins to have universal ideas, it’s automatic in their vision it is a special which is in reason, capacity to grasp universals this is called Pure Reason. Pure Reason is the faculty of grasping universals directly. You will find as you begin to think more and more you will have in your possession more and more universal ideas. Take for example, we took the example of cats, cattiness is one universal, you see two horses, horseness is another universal. Now you have the concept of animality – animals in which both cats and horses are included it’s a more universal idea and then you come to the highest universal idea that is existence. Existence is the most universal idea in which everything is included; nothing falls outside the idea of existence. What is the difference between an ordinary man and a thinker? A ordinary man also has many ideas, many universal ideas but he is not aware of them and secondly an ordinary man cannot play with many ordinary ideas together; a thinker has a large variety of universal ideas and can interconnect them and very fast, very quickly and arrive at a very universal higher and higher synthesis of ideas. A philosopher is one who lives in the world of ideas and compares ideas not objects but compares ideas with ideas and constantly arrives at higher and higher ideas. And you ask the question: are there some very supreme ideas in which all ideas are included. I told you just now existence is that idea. At a lower level there are three ideas which are called supreme ideas, when you think over them, I’ll just give you the three names, the whole world can be summed up in three ideas, – Truth, Beauty, Goodness, three ideas, supreme ideas – Truth, Beauty, Goodness. There is nothing in the world which cannot have one of these three things attached to it or all the three attached to it; every object in the world is True, Good and Beautiful, every object. These three ideas are supreme, overarching as it were. The interconnection of these three ideas, when you combine these three ideas also you still arrive at one supreme idea which Plato simply calls by no other, very difficult to call it by name, simply calls it the Good. The supreme idea is the idea of The Good.