Two passages in particular had been on my mind recently like the prose version of music earworms, so I made images of them using a tool called Canva. And … then I made more. Canva is the cave wall, and I am the dancing flame that makes the images.
The first one is a passage from Proclus’ commentary on Plato’s Parmenides that I find especially grounding, especially as I recalibrate how I use the Internet a bit more mindfully.
This is something that Socrates says in Plato’s Phaedo at 84B about the soul being riveted to the body. It has been a very useful anchor for me while I navigate sharp emotions and anxieties about the pandemic, the vaccination queue, and other things that are beyond my control. (The pandemic has taught me so much about my vulnerabilities and triggers. “Know thyself” is sometimes like reopening a wound to drain the pus.) I know that many others are also experiencing difficult emotions and profound levels of stress. 💛
This is something beautiful that Proclus wrote in Ten Problems Concerning Providence about the soul and the flower of the intellect. It’s a nice perspective shift from the earlier two, which are about the moderation of the tongue and body. As a heads up, there are a few minor modifications in a few of these quotations for particularity; while I hope others enjoy them and repost if so inspired, I ultimately made them for me to flip through.
Many passages that I come back to are the morsels about the Gods within the commentators. This is from Proclus’ commentary on Plato’s First Alcibiades. I know this dialogue fairly well now because I read it aloud with someone in March, which was a very new and fun experience. The “like must be grasped by like” thing has always reminded me of oil and water and how they do not mix with each other.
I modified some of the punctuation here because the use of commas in the first bit was annoying me, and there was something a bit later that I figured could use an em dash instead of an “i.e.” because my ideological affiliation is the em dash. But this is a really moving bit about the soul’s journey with respect to different Gods, and it is from Damascius’ commentary on Plato’s Phaedo. Tim Addey used this to frame his book The Seven Myths of the Soul, which unpacked this in a way that was engaging and interesting.
This is from Proclus’ Parmenides commentary. While he talks about this kind of warfare a bit more in his Timaeus commentary, it was really interesting to open up the Parmenides commentary recently and find that this was there. I had even underlined it. It makes me want to go back and read a bit more to catch what I must have missed back in 2019 when I was extremely new to reading Platonic commentaries.
Anyway, I hope that this brought brightness to your day, coziness to your evening, or freshness to your morning, depending on which time zone you are in. Stay safe and wear a mask. 😷