Plotinus is usually called the Founder of Neo Platonism and what that means is that in this philosophical circle, he was founding a kind of renewed attempt to understand the thought of Plato which however they were combining with the thought of other philosophers, including Aristotle, the Stoics and Pythagoreans and so on.
The neo-conservative critics of leftist critics of mass culture ridicule the protest against Bach as background music in the kitchen, against Plato and Hegel, Shelley and Baudelaire, Marx and Freud in the drugstore. Instead, they insist on recognition of the fact that the classics have left the mausoleum and come to life again, that people are just so much more educated. True, but coming to life as classics, they come to life as other than themselves; they are deprived of their antagonistic force, of the estrangement which was the very dimension of their truth.
Socrates: Have you noticed on our journey how often the citizens of this new land remind each other it is a free country? Plato: I have, and think it odd they do this. Socrates: How so, Plato?Plato: It is like reminding a baker he is a baker, or a sculptor he is asculptor. Socrates: You mean to say if someone is convinced of their trade, they haveno need to be reminded. Plato: That is correct. Socrates: I agree. If these citizens were convinced of their freedom, they would not need reminders.
If Christianity cannot present evidence that the soul is immortal, then they have nothing to offer the masses, eternity in heaven with God or hold over their heads suffering forever in hell. They need the immortality of the soul. I did my research, it's not in the Bible, so what do they do? They relied on Judaism, which has always believed in the immortality of the soul. I start checking on that and I look in the Judaica Encyclopedia and what do I find? Their remark that Judaism probably got the immortality of the soul from the Greeks, so I go back further, where it all started with Plato.
My curiosity, alas, is not the kind that can be satisfied by objective knowledge. Plato said that opinion is worthless and that only knowledge counts, which is a neat formulation. But melancholy [men] from the northern mists understand that opinion is all there is. The great questions transcend fact, and discourse is a process of personality. Knowledge cannot respond to knowledge. And wisdom? Is it not opinion refined, opinion killed and resuscitated upward? Maybe Plato would have agreed with this.
God knows; I won't be an Oxford don anyhow. I'll be a poet, a writer, a dramatist. Somehow or other I'll be famous, and if not famous, I'll be notorious. Or perhaps I'll lead the life of pleasure for a time and then—who knows?—rest and do nothing. What does Plato say is the highest end that man can attain here below? To sit down and contemplate the good. Perhaps that will be the end of me too.
I imagine that whenever the mind perceives a mathematical idea, it makes contact with Plato's world of mathematical concepts. . . When mathematicians communicate, this is made possible by each one having a direct route to truth, the consciousness of each being in a position to perceive mathematical truths directly, through the process of 'seeing'.
If you read only the best, you will have no need of reading the other books, because the latter are nothing but a rehash of the best and the oldest. To read Shakespeare, Plato, Dante, Milton, Spenser, Chaucer, and their compeers in prose, is to read in condensed form what all others have diluted.
The breakdown of his(Plato's) philosophy is made apparent in the fact that he could not trust to gradual improvements in education to bring about a better society which should then improve education, and so on indefinitely. Correct education could not come into existence until an ideal state existed, and after that education would be devoted simply to its conservation. For the existence of this state he was obliged to trust to some happy accident by which philosophic wisdom should happen to coincide with possession of ruling power in the state.
Plato--who may have understood better what forms the mind of man than do some of our contemporaries who want their children exposed only to "real" people and everyday events--knew what intellectual experience made for true humanity. He suggested that the future citizens of his ideal republic begin their literary education with the telling of myths, rather than with mere facts or so-called rational teachings.