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them more interesting by the insertion of illustrative fables or allegories like the Choice of Hercules ;? but the Platonic Myth is not illustrative—it is not Allegory rendering pictorially results already obtained by argument. Of this the experienced reader of Plato is well aware. He feels when the brisk debate is silenced for a while, and Socrates or another great interlocutor opens his mouth in Myth, that the movement of the Philosophic Drama is not arrested, but is being sustained, at a crisis, on another plane. The Myth bursts in upon the Dialogue with a revelation of something new and strange; the narrow, matterof-fact, workaday experience, which the argumentative conversation puts in evidence, is suddenly flooded, as it were, and transfused by the inrush of a vast experience, as from another world—“Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
It is in the mouth of the dramatic Socrates that Plato puts those Myths best fitted to fill us with wondering surmise and make us think—the so-called Eschatological Myths. It may be that here Plato represents a trait of the real Socrates. Socrates' method of argumentative conversation, it is fully recognised, determined the dialogue-form of the Platonic writings. It may be that also the introduction of Myths, at least of the Eschatological Myths—Myths distinguished by great impressiveness of matter and style—was suggested to Plato by something in the real Socrates. The personal influence of Socrates worked as a vital principle in Plato's mind, and bodied itself forth in Socratic dramas—plays in which, as I have said, Socrates and his companions are the actors, and philosophical discourse is the action. Any element, then, in the Platonic writings which the experienced reader finds of great dramatic moment—and the Myth is such—is likely to represent some striking trait in the person and influence of the real Socrates. In the Myths put into his mouth Socrates prophesies-sets forth, by the aid of imaginative language, the fundamental conditions of conduct and knowledge. He “prophesies," and his hearers listen spellbound. That Socrates possessed what is now called mesmeric influence is very likely. The comparison of his influence in ordinary debate) with that
1 See Grote's Plato, ii. 38, note e.
of the electric fish, ή θαλαττία νάρκη, may be thought to imply as inuch; while his familiar spirit, or daluóvcov, must be taken as evidence of "abnormality.” 2 I venture to offer the suggestion, for what it may be worth, that the Platonic Myths, in manner if not always in matter, represent (directly as spoken by "Socrates” himself, indirectly as spoken by “ Timaeus,” “Critias," " Protagoras,” “the Eleatic Stranger") certain impressive passages in the conversation of the real Socrates, when he held his hearers spellbound by the magnetism of his face and speech. Be this as it may, Myth distinguished once for all by weight and ring from Allegoryis an essential element of Plato's philosophical style; and his philosophy cannot be understood apart from it.*
The main plan of this work is to append to the English translation of each of the Platonic Myths observations and notes relating specially to that Myth itself. Each Myth is a unique work of art, and must be dealt with individually in its own context. But I hope that the general effect of these special observations will be to leave the reader, at the end, with an adequate impression of the significance of Myth, first in Plato's philosophy, and then in present-day thought.
Before beginning, however, to carry out the main plan of
Meno, 80 A. ? Hegel (Gesch. d. Philos. ii. 94-101) regards the daiubviov as a “magnetic" phenomenon, physiologically explicable. C. R. Volquardsen (Das Dämonium des Socrates und seine Interpreten, Kiel, 1862) holds (pp. 58 and 71) that it cannot be explained by any law of anthropology or physiology, but is a “singular phenomenon. Zeller (Socrates and the Socratic Schools, pp. 72-79, Eng. Transl.) concludes that it is “a vague apprehension of some good or ill result following on certain actions."
F. W. H. Myers (Human Personality, ii. 95 ff.) cites the dawóvior of Socrates as an example of wise automatism; of the possibility that the messages which are conveyed to the supraliminal mind from subliminal strata of the personality -- whether as sounds, as sights, or as movements—may sometimes come from far beneath the realm of dream and confusion,- from some self whose monitions convey to us a wisdom profounder than we know" (p. 100). Against L. F. Lélut (Du Démon de Socrate, 1856), who argues from the records of the daiuóvlov in Xenophon and Plato that Socrates was insane, Myers contends (p. 95) that "it is now possible to give a truer explanation ; to place these old records in juxtaposition with more instructive parallels ; and to show that the messages which Socrates received were only advanced examples of a process which, if supernormal, is not abnormal, and which characterises that form of intelligence which we describe as genius.” Dr. H. Jackson's article on "the daquóvrov onuelov of Socrates" in the Journal of Philology (vol. x. pp. 232 ff.) may also be referred to, and Kühner's Prolegomena (v. de Socratis da poviw) to his edition of Xen. Mem.
* See infra, p. 15 and pp. 230 ff. * Zeller's Plato, pp. 159-163 (Eng. Transl.), may be read in connection with this and preceding paragraphs.
this work, I will offer some preliminary remarks on uudoloría, or story-telling in general, in the course of which I hope to indicate what I conceive to be the ground of Plato's methodical employment of it in philosophy.
2. GENERAL REMARKS ON uudoloyla, OR STORY-TELLING.
MYTH DISTINGUISHED FROM ALLEGORY
It is a profound remark that Imagination rather than Reason makes the primary difference between man and brute.? The brute lives mainly among the immediate impressions of
The after-images of these impressions are evidently of little account in his life, being feeble and evanescent.?
But man lives a double life—not only, with the brute, in the narrow world of present sensations, but also in a wide world of his own, where his mind is continually visited and re-visited by crowds of vivid, though often grotesque and grotesquely combined, images of past sense-impressions. It is in this wide wonder-world of waking dream, which encompasses the narrow familiar world of his present sense-impressions, that man begins his human career. It is here that the savage and the child begin to acquire what the brute has no such opportunity of beginning to acquire, and never does acquire,--a sense of vast environment and of the long course of time. This waking dream, which constitutes so great a part of man's childish experience, probably owes much of its content to the dreams of sleep. Some of the lower animals, as well as man, seem to have dreams in sleep. But man, we may suppose, differs from
1 “In the lower stages of civilisation Imagination, more than Reason, distiuguishes men from the animals; and to banish art would be to banish thought, to banish language, to banish the expression of all truth."-Jowett, Dialogues of Plato, Introduction to the Republic, p. clxiv.
2 " At the proper season these birds (swallows) seem all day long to be impressed with the desire to migrate ; their habits change; they become restless, are noisy, and congregate in flocks. Whilst the mother- bird is feeding, or brooding over her nestlings, the maternal instinct is probably stronger than the migratory ; but the instinct which is the more persistent gains the victory, and at last, at a moment when her young ones are not in sight, she takes flight and deserts them. When arrived at the end of her long journey, and the migratory instinct has ceased to act, what an agony of remorse the bird would feel if, from being endowed with great mental activity, she could not prevent the image constantly passing through her mind of her young ones perishing in the bleak north from cold and hunger” (Darwin, The Descent of Man, part i. chap. iv. p. 173, ed. 1901).
the lower animals in remembering his dreams. And he can
of the scientific understanding, it also indicates limits within which that exercise must be confined. This it does by supplying an emotional context, if the phrase may be used, along with the fantastical context. The visions of the mythopoeic fancy are received by the Self of ordinary consciousness with a strange surmise of the existence, in another world, of another Self which, while it reveals itself in these visions, has a deep secret which it will not disclose. It is good that a man should thus be made to feel in his heart how small a part of him his head is—that the Scientific Understanding should be reminded that it is not the Reasonthe Part, that it is not the Whole Man. Herein chiefly lies the present value of Myth (or of its equivalent, Poetry, Music, or whatever else) for civilised man.
The stories which the primitive inhabitants of the dreamworld love to tell one another are always about the wonderful adventures and doings of people and animals. 'AvOpw To Moya και Ζωολογία' may be taken as a full description of these stories. The adventures and doings happened “Once upon a time”—“Long ago "_"Somewhere, not here”—that is preface enough for the most improbable story,—it receives belief or makebelieve simply because it is very interesting—because the animals speak and behave like people, and everything else happens topsy-turvy in a wonderful manner, and there is no lack of bloodshed and indecency. If the story is not a very interesting,” i.e. not marvellous, gruesome, indecent, it does not carry belief or make-believe, and is not interesting at all. The attitude of make-believe, which I have mentioned, is worth the careful attention of the psychologist. This is not the place to analyse it. I will only say that it seems to me likely that it is very often the attitude of the primitive story-teller and his audience. The story may be very interesting to its teller and audience without being believed. This is as true, I take it, of a grotesque Zulu tale as of a modern novel written with due regard to probability or a jeu d'esprit like Alice in Wonderland. But if the story is very interesting, there will always be make-believe
1 I hope that I may be pardoned for introducing two words which are not in Liddell and Scott, but seem to be justified, in the sense in which I use them, by Aristotle's åv pwnolózos (E. N. iv. 3. 31)= “ fond of personal talk."
? Coleridge, referring to Lyrical Ballads, speaks of "that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.”