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Socrates and Plato - Track 1401

One paragraph yesterday last one and I said I want to spend time on that paragraph and it is one of the most important paragraphs that we have. So if it takes us time to go slowly on it, it will be worth pursuing it because it is one of the most important statements. Let me read it.

Particulars are not the manifestation of the universals, nor are universals made of the particulars; Ideas are self–existent and uncreated; the original stuff of the particulars too is self–existent and uncreated, but this self–existent is non–existent and attains to being only by partaking of the universal Ideas.

How is that universal related to particular? What is particular? Now this question can be discussed under three or four main points, the first point is to repeat what Plato has said earlier, ‘particulars are copies of the universals’. We had taken the example of cattiness as the universal and cats as particulars. Now in what way is the universal related to universal cat or cattiness? How is it related to particular cats that is the question. Plato’s first answer is that particulars are copies of the universals. Now what is the meaning of a copy? You take a simple example of a copy. Supposing this is the original paper and you want to make a copy of it therefore all that is here will be there then only it is a copy, isn’t it? All that is here should be there then only it’s a copy. Second a copy does not come out of this. When you make a copy you’ll find that this paper remains where it is and the copy is made out of it but it is itself not generating the copy. It is not generating in two senses, the stuff on which the copy is made is not derived from here, you have to bring some other stuff from outside and imprint this on it and secondly when you make a copy this remains what it is this is not affected, it remains what it is so the original remains what it is these two important points are to be noted. So we write down: a copy contains everything that is in the original. A copy contains everything that is in the original. So that is the first statement that we write – a copy contains everything that is in the original then it is copy. Secondly you require a substance on which copy is made. There must be a substance on which copy is made. Now that substance on which copy is made is not generated by the original that substance is not generated that substance is some other substance on which it is printed so it is the second statement that we made. The substance on which copy is imprinted is not generated by the original but what is imprinted is derived from the original but what is derived does not alter the original, the original remains the same. Now these statements put together is equal to the statement particulars are not the manifestations of universals. You might say therefore particulars are not the manifestations of universals.

Now you look at it otherwise. What is a manifestation? We have a distinction between a copy and a manifestation. What we have described so far is to say particulars are only copies of the universal and not manifestations of universals but supposing we had to say it is manifestation then what would happen, why is it not a manifestation? What is the meaning of manifestation? We say this is manifested, this is manifestation. In a manifestation there is no need of another substance on which manifestation is made. If I say Betina is smiling now the smile is the manifestation of Betina, she does not need another face to bring her smile out it is her own face on which her joy is manifested in the form of a smile. You don’t require another on which you have to print anything, isn’t it , it is in a manifestation the substance is the same, the same brings out on itself what is in itself, what is within itself. The joy is within Betina it is brought out on her face in the form of a smile. So joy is manifested, joy of Betina is manifested on her own face, you don’t require another face to manifest it; every manifestation has this special quality. Manifestation is the same substance in which what is inside is brought out. According to Plato that is not the case; according to Plato particulars require another substance on which universals are printed. Therefore according to Plato particulars are not manifestations of universals. Now there is second point what is manifested must be in the original, every manifestation is called a manifestation if it is brought out from within. So what is manifested must be already within the universal. Now according to Plato particulars are not in the universals, universals are universals there is no particularity in it as he says universals are not constituted of particulars. You read the whole sentence.

Particulars are not the manifestation of the universals, nor are universals made of the particulars;

For example if you can extract the juice from the mango, the juice of the mango is a manifestation of the mango because first of all the juice comes out of the mango and secondly juice was a part of the mango. The mango was constituted of the juice; mango would not be mango if juice was not there in it, isn’t it? So what is brought out was already present, the mango was constituted, juice was part of it. According to Plato particular is not a part of the universal; universal is not made of particulars it is not particulars put together is called universal so that one part can come out of it. Particular is not a part of the universal. So let us repeat. All philosophical thinking requires repetition; with every repetition we mature the idea is called incubation. You have heard the word incubation? Write down the word incubation, anything that is first produced is given a further warmth and by giving warmth you ripen it that is called incubation. When an egg is produced by the bird and the bird sits on the egg and gives warmth to the egg by sitting on it as a result the egg is matured is called incubation. The process of imparting warmth to anything that is generated, just to sit over something and to give warmth. Now philosophical thinking is called incubation. You have an idea then you sit on it and repeat it, you are giving warmth as it were to the idea and you will see that by repeating the idea the idea matures in your own mind and then it becomes crystal clear at a certain time. Now this is what we are doing now, this is incubation; we are incubating the idea of the universal and the particular. What is the nature of particular, what is the nature of the universal the problem is something that is discussed by every philosopher in the world. You would not be philosopher unless you have understood the relationship between universal and particular. Universal is the large fact, particular is the large fact every where the whole thing is nothing but particular objects and you find in every object universality, some universal presence therefore the question what is the relationship between universal and particular is one of the most important problems in philosophy and Plato is very famous for his theory of universals and particulars. So let us repeat: a manifestation, what is the meaning of a manifestation? A manifestation is something that is produced from an origin; it is simply what is called bringing forth what is inside now that which is inside is that which constitutes the original. Now according to Plato the copy does not come out from the universal because you require another substance on which the original is imprinted and the copy or the particular is not a part of the universal. Whether particulars exist or not universal is not affected by it this is another way of looking at it. When we say particular is not a part of the universal it means that any given particular may exist or may not exist it will make no difference to the universal. This cat may exist or may not exist it does not affect cattiness. This book or that book may not exist it does not affect bookness that is how according to Plato universal does not consist of the particulars. Universal is independent of the particulars. There is a very important statement which is made which sums up the whole idea; the whole that is universal is not sum of its parts. The whole that is universal is not sum of its parts.


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