Thursday, December 17, 2009
In his famous letter to the relatives and friends of Dion in which he sets forth his ideas about the Forms and the order of the universe, Plato has this line:
I do not think it a good thing for men that there should be a disquisition (on the hidden knowledge of forms), as it is called, on this topic-except for some few, who are able with a little teaching to find it out for themselves. As for the rest, it would fill some of them quite illogically with a mistaken feeling of contempt, and others with lofty and vain-glorious expectations, as though they had learnt something high and mighty.
Why do poets craft masks? Why is truth hidden like leaven in bread? Why are the images shifting and various but the message remains the same? And why is imagery so important and attractive? Perhaps it is this; the trivial and vicious will either not see the reality even when laid bare before them or else they will abuse that reality. Imagery and myth become, then, a "smelting process" of alchemy by which the leadlike men are burned away and only the gold ones remain. Perhaps.
To wit, this video series: