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Published San Diego, Calif. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 2 of 2. Author Janis, Sharon, Edition 1st ed. Contents Machine derived contents note: Prologue ix 1. Awakening 1 2. Never to Return 7 3.

I Chose This? Through the Years 17 5. Exploring the Unconscious 53 6. Faith-Healer 63 7. Hidden Persuaders 71 8. The Threshold of Life 77 9. When the Student is Ready 87 Magical Meeting 93 Toward the One Who Is Shiva? Destiny Calls Winter Wonderland The Happy Pauper This Karmic Dance Stoking the Inner Fire Fruits of Surrender That Gracious Glance How Could He Be Gone?

From Heart to Heart Get aJob Smash the Idol Clothed in Devotion The Good is the highest Form of knowledge, and it is the guiding Form of all other eternal Forms. The Good is ultimate Reason, or the reason-purpose behind all other Forms. The Good, or Good Reason, produces the perfect Forms that are the potentials for manifestation. So the manifest world, the world of appearance, has the potential for perfection, and we can find approximations to this potential perfection in some things and in some actions.

Our human purpose is to attain true knowledge and become ever close to the perfect Form of Good. For Plato, goodness is not merely a question answerable by many diverse opinions. There are many forms of good action, or many kinds of good things, but this does not mean that goodness is relative or pluralistic as an idea. There are different examples of what is good, yet the Good in itself is one Idea or one Form. The Good has one essential Form, that is, all of the many exemplary forms of good share the same essential meta-physical structure, principle or logic.

Plato's meaning of the 'Forms' should not be confused with a generalized idea or notion that simply implies a subject matter of discussion, such as what is good. The Sophists of the Greek society thought of goodness as one discussible idea, but they maintained that the idea has multiple and non-related meanings, depending on how the person or society decides it.

The Sophists argued that anything could be good, because people just conventionally decide what is good and bad, for some practical or social purpose. So the idea of good is relative and pluralistic. Their argument maintained that what is good for one person or one group may not be good for another. If people hold different values, then who can say that one is right and another wrong?

But Plato argued against this relativism, assuming that some beliefs of what is good are right, while other beliefs are wrong -or less perfect. So, because goodness is absolute, universal and non-relative, Plato maintained that absolute goodness is , or that there is true goodness.

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The Quest for Happiness

If this absoluteness of goodness is true, then it reasonably follows that this absolute goodness is or exists. So even though there are different appearances of the good, different kinds of good and different approximations, there is still one single absolute good - of which things approximate more or less. The absolute good is thus one Universal Idea, admittedly abstract but nonetheless real, and independent of change, diversity, and opinion found in the manifested world. The Idea of the Good is not the only eternal Idea, but it is the greatest - for all other divine Ideas come out of the Good.

That is, the universe is essentially good. Its creative, formative Ideas are all good. Its purpose, and our true purpose, is good. The next question is how the eternal Ideas can be apprehended, or how we can intellectually grasp this absolute true knowledge. Plato suggests three possible ways to understand the Ideas and consiously acquire this true knowledge, and all three ways may be necessary. He probably learned of these ways from Socrates.

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First, there must be a strong love for the truth. The philosopher is a lover of the truth. This is a refinement of our desire nature and the spirited part of our soul. It is the beginning of a great ascent of the mind into the higher realm of the eternal Ideas or Truths. To get out of the cave of shadows and ignorance, one must regain his soul-instinctual love for the truth, desiring to get out into the light of truth, or at least be willing to let a teacher lead one to true knowledge.

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Plato suggested that a man, on his own, can possibly find his way out of ignorance to knowledge, but usually one needs the guidance and intellectual push of a teacher who is already free of ignorance and the trance of ever-changing appearances. Second is the way of dialectic conversation and thinking. Socrates is attributed with inventing the dialectic method which is a way to correct inaccurate and incomplete beliefs. It is a progressive process involving question and answer, which brings to light the extent of a person's belief about an idea or subject-matter, so that it can be examined with reason and logic.

Socrates, or the dialectic teacher-counselor, would act as a kind of midwife to the person's awakening to truth or to their emergence out of the cave of illusory thought. The teacher leads the student to critically examine the incompleteness or contradictions of their beliefs, by intellectually forcing the person to state the extent of their so-called knowledge.

For the most part, the dialectic method is a kind of intellectual purification or dispelling of false beliefs, as purification of false thinking must preceed the attainment of true knowledge.

The teacher continues his questioning until the student admits their ignorance or, better yet, suddenly awakens to a clarity of truth. The socratic teacher does not impose any dogmatic ideas, nor his own insights, upon the listener. Rather, he leads the student to the intellectual capacity of his own psyche and to the student's own insightful awakening.

Never to return : a modern quest for eternal truth / Sharon Janis. - Version details - Trove

This awakening to truth is a recollection , the third way to truth. The way of love for truth and the way of the dialectic are both meant to lead us to our own recollection of eternal truths. So the three ways are necessarily related, as the first two finally lead to the third. Our soul already has the capacity to apprehend absolute truths, or it could be said that the soul already has the truth within. Or it might be said that the higher part of the soul, reason, is already in the Intellectual realm of the eternal Ideas; our higher reason is already part of the eternal Mind of Perfect Ideas.

This understanding originates the later philosophy of rationalism, which maintains that absolute knowledge or truth can be aquired by reason alone, underived from actual sense experience or particular facts found in the world. Yet there is often a confusion between reason and reasoning. In Plato's meaning, reason is a higher faculty of the psyche and equal to the higher intellect.

This reason faculty of the psyche is the instrument for knowledge, as in "reason knows. This is what is meant by a good mind or soul. A mind with reason functioning well, and intelligence at its optimum, naturally leads to a morally good character and behavior.

This is because reason alone knows the Good itself and can correctly evaluate what are good things and actions. Thus, good reason equals good character, and true knowledge attained by reason insures good judgement and good action. But reason is not the same as a reasoning process. It is neither a deductive logic nor an inductive logic, as later explained by Aristotle. And Plato does not believe that an absolute knowledge of Good could be derived from a wide study of particular facts, like a scientific generalisation.


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Would we necessarily find the principle of Good by making an accumulative study of people's behavior? This would imply either that people are already good or that people ultimately invent what is good. It seems that Socrates viewed critical reasoning as a method to truth, while, at the same time, showed that truth could not be arrived at by reasoning alone. This critical reasoning clarifies the extent of our beliefs or opinions, and it finds logical relations between our held ideas. It also purges the mind of false, muddled beliefs.