Socrates and Plato - Track 1101

I don’t know if you had time to look at the second paragraph of The Life Divine. Anybody looked up, nobody has looked up. You have looked up Anandmayi? Yes, tell me, good that is the beginning and then up to the synthesis comes where…. I think we have to revise this paragraph once again. At least tomorrow you do one thing, let us all have a copy of The Life Divine and we shall use it. Now we shall proceed further.

Plato inherits the mysticism of the past (I don’t know if you understand the word mysticism? Mysticism is an attitude and experience which is rooted in intuition that is mysticism. It’s an attitude and also experience, attitude and experience rooted in intuition that is mysticism. So we are saying that (Plato inherits the mysticism of the past but moulds it in his rational receptacle. (It is like a solid bowl you might say receives light from the sun and reflects it back for our purposes. So it is a receptacle, Plato’s mind is like a receptacle which receives light from spiritual experience but his mould is a rational mould so it turns it into a rational light, the spiritual light is turned into a rational light by his receptacle that is Plato.) Plato inherits the mysticism of the past but moulds it in his rational receptacle. He himself was deeply influenced by Socrates and in his highest heights he understands, nay, communicates with the supreme and most mysterious spiritual reality. But it is through mind that he reaches the summit to capture that reality. Indeed, Plato is essentially the Mind or Thought reflecting and drawing upon the treasures of Intuition. In consequence, he stands out as a thinker presiding over the new dawn of Reason but having at his back the splendour and glory of the waning age of Intuition.

We had done this paragraph last time when I had come during the last visit so I am not dilating on this paragraph more than merely reading it out but it is very clear that Plato stands out in the history of thought as one who glows upon the intuition but sends out to the rays of the reason and he presides on the rational movement of the West. I don’t know if you understand the word Reason, Rational, Reason? What is the meaning of rational and reason? When we are saying that Plato is a rationalist, what is the meaning of a rationalist, just as we defined mysticism –  an attitude and experience rooted in intuition, similarly we must ask what is a rationalist. Think about this word for two minutes and then try to answer this question: what is a rationalist? Plato inherits mysticism of the past but he moulds it in spectacle or a receptacle, in a mould which is rational. Now mystical is an attitude or experience rooted in intuition or in spiritual experience. Reason on the other hand is ……. Blank to be filled up. When we say it is rational what is it exactly that we mean by rational? To be just, rationality is justice according to this definition this is a good answer and e can analyse it further. What is justice? What is it to be just? I had once told you that Plato’s book called The Republic is entirely written to define justice the whole book. the substance of the book is the answer to the question: What is Justice? And his answer was justice consists in assigning the right place for each element that is presented to you. Anything is presented to you, you assign to it a right place that is according to him Justice. Assignment of elements in their right places and in the right relationship that is justice. If there are five fingers and have different heights justice consists in putting the right finger in the right place. If you put the wrong finger at the wrong place there will be injustice. Similarly if you have one kind of a design of placement of chairs then in that design put every chair in its right place is justice. If you put a wrong chair in a wrong place it is injustice. If you expect from the child what you expect from the adult is injustice. You should expect from the child what is to be expected from the child, you should expect from the adult what is to be expected from the adult that is justice. If you have done what is called a wrong action and to reward it with a big prize is injustice. If a wrong action has been committed then the reward for it should be that which corrects its wrongness so that it becomes the right action, it is transformed into a right action that is justice. To give to the meritorious the results of merit is justice. I am now speaking to young students if I were to lecture as if I am talking to big philosophers that will be injustice. I must talk to young students in such a way that what I speak is made accessible to their minds and their development that is justice. Maybe that if this audience was full of big philosophers I would have not even put the question what is rationality? This question would have been redundant or irrelevant. It was something to be understood automatically but to these young students I can put the question, I can dialogue with it, I can play with it actually and derive a right conclusion. I have only so far tried to answer the question – Justice. To put different elements in their right places is justice. But I have not yet answered the question what is Reason? This is a good element to approach the idea of reason. First of all intuition is connected with experience whereas reason is connected with concept. If you examine the whole totality of your being you will find that there is element of experience in you and there is a element of concept, conceptualisation, power of concept, power of ideation. You have ideas in your mind now wherever there is ideation there is the operation of reason so the basic definition of reason is it’s an activity of ideation but that is not a full definition, it is only the beginning of the definition. Rationality is an activity of ideation which conceives, this word is important not experiences but which conceives the object in the form of a concept. In intuitive experience you have an object but the object is experienced not conceived, it is experienced. In rationality the object is conceived, is caught in a concept. When I touch this rod it is experience similarly intuition but when I have an idea of the rod I don’t have the grip and the touch and the certainty of the rod but still I have an idea of the rod. So when I catch the rod not by experience but by idea it is a rational activity. So there is an ideation which grasps the object in terms of ideation in form of a concept, even this is not enough this is only the second step of the definition of reason. Reason is an activity of ideation which grasps the object in the form of a concept so as to understand the object, grasp the object so as to understand it and by understanding we mean in which the meaning is seized this is a new word which I am introducing now, in which the meaning is seized. All ideative activity is actually seizing of the meaning, where there is no meaning grasped there is no reason, no understanding. It is only when the meaning is understood that you can place every object in its right place that is why justice is involved in the rational movement. When the meaning is grasped, when the object is grasped in the meaning then every object that you see you can put in its right place because you understand the meaning of each one. So Betina’s answer was correct when she said reason is justice or to be just but the analyses of this answer is required and we perceived that reason is an activity of ideation in which the object is grasped in a conceptual form so that the meaning of the object is seized this is the full definition of reason.

If you like you can write down now so that later on you can look up what we have arrived at it. I’ll speak slowly so that you can write it down. Reason is an activity of ideation in which the object is grasped in the form of a concept in such a way that its meaning is seized, the meaning is seized. It is only when the meaning is seized that its right place is decided and to put objects in their right places is justice that is why reason is a movement of justice. I spoke very fast, no? That its right place is determined. To place different objects in their right places is justice therefore reason is a movement of justice.

Now from this you should not conclude that intuition is not the instrument of justice, intuition is also a movement of justice but the method is different. Intuition the right place of an object is grasped by experience, in reason the right place of an object is seized by concept. In both the cases the conclusion is the same, justice is obtained. An intuitive personality also is just, a rational personality is also just but the intuitive person puts things in their places by experience whereas rationalists put things in their proper places by concepts but there is a difference still. In experience you have a greater certainty, in concept you have a lesser certainty. When I touch this I am quite sure I am touching, there is certainty, if I have only a idea about it, it is like a photograph certainty is much less it depends upon the quality of the photograph, it may be a faint photograph, it may be a sharp photograph. A good philosopher is one who tries to get the photograph as sharp as possible but still it doesn’t get that certainty which you can get in experience. The highest concept is the sharpest photograph but not amounting to an experience, it may touch the level of experience but falls short of it. It becomes experience but ceases to be rational it becomes intuitive. So in the case of Plato he was the child of the mystic but the father of reason he presided over the movement of the rationalist approach to reality. Alright this is the explanation of this paragraph, now we go forward.

“Although he is a disciple of mystics, his life is not moved by any religious motive or fervour. But the lack of this motivation is amply compensated by his large and wide and rich mind, high artistic genius commanding creative expression, and an intense dynamic nature expressing itself in concentrated efforts at the realization of a sublime and ideal order of existence on the earth.