Plato’s The Forms vs. the Cosmos
The world of Forms
1. The world of being; everything in this world “always is,” “has no becoming,” and “does not change”.
2. It is apprehended by the understanding (intuition, conscience, spiritual understanding), not by the senses.
The physical world is the Cosmos (the earth, the planets, the sun, the moon, the universe, the physical realm)
1. The world of becoming; everything in this world “comes to be and passes away, but never really is”
2. It is grasped by opinion and sense-perception.
3. The cosmos itself came into being, created using as its model the world of Forms.
The cosmos cannot be eternal, as a Form is, since it comes into being. But it is as much like a Form, as close to being eternal, as it can be, although never quite good enough, leading to insatisfaction and suffering ultimately.
The material world needs to be respected as an image of the Divine realm but not clinged to because it is not eternal. To kill an animal in the material world is as though killing an animal in the Forms realm since it's soul is animated by God in the Forms Spirit Realm.
The Demiurge (Creator)
Demiurge means “craftsman.” The creator of Plato’s physical world is not a divine intelligence or a personal ruler, but rather a manual laborer.
(According to the Apocryphon of John, demiurge or the creator of the physical world is Yaldabaoth, also called Saklas and Samael (blind god), the ruler of the material universe, born in ignorance from Sophia without the approval of God.
Yaldabaoth has the body of a serpent and the head of lion. This would not make him a manual laborer of God but rather an impostor thinking that he alone is God, with no knowledge of God the Virgin Spirit, the True Origen of the Real, the Forms, the Spirit World, but not the material, non-eternal created world.
The material world was never approved by God. God gave his Spirit to enliven material humans because Yaldabaoth was unable to enliven them only giving them material bodies and God thus tricked Yaldabaoth into blowing his spirit into the human so it would eventually be redeemed to the Eternal Forms realm.
Thus God sent his Son Christ to teach the humans caught in Yaldabaoth’s material web to be reborn as True Form Humans, the original image that Yaltaboath copied.
John (Baptist, Apostle Beloved) received Christ’s message and was reborn in Spirit as the Ideal Form of Human, by purifying his physical body and mind with living, spirit activated water found in fruits and vegetables which are from the tree of the knowledge (gnosis) of good and evil and not the tree of life (biological earth bound life).
There is the creation story of John and the creation story of Moses. The creation story of Moses says that God created the heavens and the earth and it was good. John says that Yaldabaoth created the material heavens and the earth and it was not good or not approved by God.
Moses says that God blew His spirit into the earthy clay man in order to make it live, John says that Yaldaboath blew his Spirit into the man to animate him because the Angels of the True God told him to. John relating what Christ the Son of God tells him, says that Yaldabaoth created man from the form he saw reflected on the water. This was the reflection of the True Form hu-Man that God emanated spiritually.
John's story of creation reveals that the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge (Gnosis) of good and evil (apples and all juicy fruit) was only forbidden by Yaltabaoth to prevent Adam and Eve from realizing their True Nature as God Emanated Humans and not clay formed, material copies.
The tree of life is really the tree of biological, earth bound life and would include tree nuts, seeds, avocados etc. all of which kill the body thus perpetuating death and rebirth and the continual rounds of flesh bound lives in the material false copied world created by Yaldabaoth in ignorance.
Christ says in the Apocryphon of John that Moses was wrong about his story of Noah's Ark and about Sofia moving back and forth (in repentance for creating Yaldabaoth) and thus Christ is saying Moses was in error.
Moses gave orders to kill every man, woman and child in the land that he conquered and became angry when his soldiers spared lives Num 31:1-18. Thus Moses was following the will of Yaldabaoth and Yaweh, (Yahweh or Yahova was the offspring of Yaldaboath and Eve along with Elohim also known as Cain and Abel. Cain was the cat/lion faced evil one and the good one Abel was bear/dog faced. So Yaldaboath was not directly Yahweh but rather his father and therefore Yaldaboath worked through his son Yahweh.) Yaldabaoth was born in ignorance, and has no mercy. How could Moses order the killing of every man, woman and child if it goes against the ten commandments which says thou shalt not kill?
Irenaeus was against the Gnostics and prevented the Apocryphon of John from being accepted as canon or authorized scripture. Genesis written by Moses became the accepted story of creation and not the true story as related by Christ to John. The gospel of John was allowed and the Apocalypse but not the Apocryphon which really clarifies creation as the act of Yaldabaoth.
The work of Dr. Hans Jonas, Dr. Elaine Pagels and Dr. James M. Robinson et al have done much to clear the air on the gnostic issue.
The Nag Hammadi
Eusebius, the father
of Church history,
said of the Essenes:
"They who believe on
Christ were called
before they were
These derived their
the signification of
the name Jesus,
which in Hebrew
signifies the same
as Therapeutae, that
is a savior or
that the Desert Fathers of Christianity came from the Gnostic First Christians who in turn had been Essenes.
"Those ancient Therapeutae were Christians, and that
their ancient writings were our gospels and epistles."
The Nag Hammadi
Eusebius, the father
of Church history,
Bishop Epiphanius said of the Essenes: "They who believe on Christ were called Jessaei (Essenes) before they were called Christians. These derived their constitution from the signification of the name Jesus, which in Hebrew signifies the same as Therapeutae, that is a savior or physician."
Plato says in Timaeus:
[the Demiurge] began to think of making a moving image of eternity: at the same time as he brought order to the universe, he would make an eternal image, moving according to number, of eternity remaining in unity. This, of course, is what we call “time.”
(the demiurge Yaldabaoth in ignorance tried to copy the eternal timeless realm by making an image of it bound to time and space or a moving image of eternity, but it i.e. the material world was born in ignorance and will pass away not being eternal.
The Buddha says that our essence is not anything that is born and passes away, and therefore to desire and thus cling or be attached to anything that is coming into material existence and passing away is ignorance. This body, these thoughts, these negative emotions, this thought of being a separate soul or skin encapsulated ego instead of an Emanation of the Self-Godhead as a Human Being or God-Mind in the Realm of the Forms are all coming and going).
So, we have both the Buddha the Light of Asia and Christ the Light of the world saying that this material world is not the eternal Kingdom of God. The Vedas of India also say this material world is Maya or illusion.
In the parable of a cave (note that both Christ and Plato use parables to educate) Plato likens people untutored in the Theory of Forms to prisoners chained in a cave.
All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire.
Between the fire and the prisoners there is a puppet stage.
The puppeteers behind the prisoners hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave.
The prisoners are unable to see the puppets, the real forms, that pass behind them.
What the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by the real forms that they do not see.
All material objects like human bodies, dogs, trees, butterflys etc. are not the real forms but rather projected shadows.
We see with our physical senses a beautiful woman, that is to say with our limited, non-form, shadow senses we observe a shadow of the form of a real woman.
We don't really see because we are using the shadow of sight not spiritual sight to see shadows of the true ideal forms of everything.
Thus the whole material world is a motion picture fiction, an illusion created in ignorance by Yaldabaoth the demiurge.
Just like in a really great movie we forget sometimes that it's not real, and we lose ourselves in it, likewise we lose our True Selves in the material, social fabric of life on earth and become earth bound.
Our shadow soul given to us by Yaldabaoth (Saklas) is the shadow of our true Spiritual Soul or Human Self given to us by God the Father of All.
And we all were given this Spiritual Soul Human Self, because Saklas could not animate the physical man image he made after he saw the true human form reflected on the water. Only when God's Spirit was blown into it from Saklas' mouth did the man come alive.
And Man became greater than Saklas, more intelligent because Saklas was the form of ignorance a serpent lion whereas Man was the image of the perfect God formed Human.
So when the Gnostics are criticized for seeing this material world as not good or not of God and a prison, they are not alone in history because the light of Asia the Buddha, the Hindus, the Christ and Plato, perhaps the greatest of the Greek philosophers are in complete agreement.
The Buddha talked about the "turning about of consciousness" or turning around in the cave to see the forms and not the shadows of material sense perception of physical objects projected on the wall.
Plato was perhaps the greatest of all Greek philosophers.
He gave us the cluster of ideas that Diotima conveys to Socrates at Plato's Symposium
(a Symposium is usually a Greek feast with wine and entertainment, but at this symposium all were sober and there was no entertainment).
The theory of Diotima consists of the following parts:
1. Diotima defines Love (Eros) as the desire to possess the good (or true beauty) forever.
2. This desire is not only the openly sexual kind (what is usually called "love"), but also the businessman's and worker's desire of riches, the artist's desire of beautiful works, or the philosopher's love of wisdom.
3. All lovers desire to create, either children, or more intellectual things such as art works and political systems. By being creative lovers achieve some sort of immortality.
4. The beauty and offspring of the mind are more honorable than those of the body or having children and also material wealth, objects of art, buildings and gardens.
The most admirable lovers are those who move from the love of the physical and individual to the love of the intellect/virtue/character and general.
This is the true meaning of Platonic love. It is aphysical love and pro-virtue/character/intellect (brightness, light) love.
If a relationship was based on these then it could include physical love as a secondary consumation but not for the purpose of procreation ideally rather for co-recreation, the healing power of sexual energy based on true Platonic love.
Plato is considered by many to be the most important philosopher who ever lived. He is known as the father of idealism in philosophy. His ideas were elitist, with the philosopher king the ideal ruler.
His social structure theory had a governing class (politicians, academics, doctors, lawyers, business leaders), warriors (military, police), and workers (employees, management).
He thought the human soul contained reason (intellect, logic), spirit (virtue, ethics, morals), and appetite (for food, sex, wealth in moderation). This is similar to holistic health's Mind, Body, Spirit where mind is reason, intellect, logic, body is appetite, desire, need and spirit is virtue, goodness, rightness, justice, love.
Plato founded an institution of learning known as the Academy, from which we get the word academic.
The Academy included a grove of trees, gardens, a gymnasium and many shrines including one dedicated to Athena herself, the goddess of the city.
Plato created his own cult association, setting aside a portion of the Academy for his purposes and dedicating his cult to the Muses.
Soon this 'school' became rather well-known on account of its common meals and sympotic lifestyle, modified, of course, to suit a new agenda.
Indeed, Plato's Academy was famed for its moderate eating and talk as well as all the appropriate sacrifices and religious observances. Overshadowing all of that was, of course, its philosophical activity.
Plato was related to Solon and could trace his ancestry to the last legendary king of Athens, Codrus. Buddha was the son of a king and John was the son of a high priest.
It is through Plato that we are familiar with Socrates' philosophy because he wrote dialogues in which his teacher took part, usually asking leading questions, the Socratic method. Plato's Apology is his version of the trial and the Phaedo, the death of Socrates.
It entertains many points of view, including the idea that people were originally doubled, most with the opposite gender and a few with the same gender and that, once cut, they spend their lives looking for their other part. This idea "explains" sexual preferences, i.e. 2-4% same sex preferences.
The mythical place known as Atlantis appears as part of a parable in a fragment of Plato's late dialogue Timaeus and also in Critias.
Since then, he has had an impact on math and science, morals, and political theory.
Instead of following a political path, Plato thought it more important to educate would-be statesmen to be a philosopher-king. The greatest human by virtue of their philosophical achievement and nobility would rule the republic.
For this reason, he set up a school for future leaders. His school was called the Academy, named for the park in which it was located. Plato's Republic contains a treatise on education.