On the Soul
‘Psyche’ or the soul, is a intricate part of our being which many great thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle and Augustine aim to define and unravel. One should remain attentive to the fact that these great minds come to similar yet altered conclusions of the soul; for it is an intrinsic part of our being, aiding in our discovery and understanding of the world. Plato addresses in his novel, The Phaedo, the notion of soul and body being separate entities. Often, Plato depicts the soul as the cognitive facet of a being, in contrast with the body. In the final rendition of Socrates death, Plato zeros in on the subject of immortality of the soul, along with the freedom and knowledge the soul obtains through death. It is evident throughout the reading that in order to reach a vast comprehension of the world, the soul must, “abstain from all bodily desires,” (Phaedo, 82c). Thus, self-denial of the material helps develop the purest connection with the immortal. Our soul according to Plato experiences life and death without ending. Our souls work is to create the best possible understanding of the material and immaterial world until reunited with the divine.
Additionally, Plato proclaims that the body is the house for the soul in the human realm. When he says, ”[the] soul uses the body to examine something…when body and soul are together, nature directs the body to be ruled as a slave, the soul to rule as master,”(Phaedo, 79c-80a). Plato credits the soul as being the celestial entity that is to synchronize with the body in order to acquire knowledge of the human world. When listened to in isolation the body is able to learn from the souls innate knowledge. Socrates claims, “the body and its necessary upkeep presents endless distractions, and if we fall prey to disease, that too, hinders the hunt for what is… if we are ever to have clean knowledge of anything we must get rid of the body and observe the things themselves with the soul itself,” (Phaedo, 66e) In this regard Plato portrays the soul as reason, deciphering the important and the unimportant. And when the body is in tuned with the soul one can clearly analyze the world. Interestingly, Plato illustrates the body as a hindrance of learning that counter acts the souls purpose. When Socrates says, “So whenever you see a man resenting his imminent death, isn’t it proof enough that he’s no lover of wisdom but a lover of the body? I suppose the same man will love money or honor, or both.” (Phaedo, 68c) The body in context hinders human comprehension of the divine for fear of losing the known pleasures it has attained. With that being said, Plato paints the soul as tainted with material and until it is fully rid of the mortal, it cannot completely obtain godly wisdom. Irrefutably, Plato depicts the soul as an entity derived from the divine and when detached from the material the soul will lead the body to the ideal path of life. Plato advises not to fear death, as it is the time when the soul will once again regain the fullest wisdom. In other words the soul is caretaker of the body, recollecting what it once knew, in search of obtaining the same wisdom it lost through rebirth.
In contrast to Plato, Aristotle argues that a natural object must be explained in terms of essence since the human consist of two parts, body and soul. The body is matter, the physical nature of a being. The soul is the form of a being, the essence of what the subject is and will become. Both body and soul according to Aristotle cannot be separated when analyzing the nature of a being. Nature of an object in to Aristotle is not merely being but also the becoming of ones entirety. To properly perceive ones nature, these fundamental questions of: Material, Formal, Efficient and Final causes must be answered. These standards are used in Aristotle’s rational for what constructs the souls purpose. Passionately devoted to believing that if a soul does not accomplish its ultimate reason...
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