Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Commonplace Entry


“Only a philosopher's mind grows wings, since its memory always keeps it as close as possible to those realities by being close to which the gods are divine.”  ― Plato, Phaedrus

"Phaedrus: . . . But let’s be going, since now even the stifling heat is more gentle.

Socrates: Shouldn’t we pray to the gods here before going?

Phaedrus: Yes, surely.

Socrates: Dear Pan and ye other gods who dwell here, grant that I may become beautiful within and that my worldly belongings be in accord with my inner self. May I consider the wise man rich and have only as much gold as a moderate man can carry and use.

Is there anything else we need, Phaedrus? For me, our prayer was said with due measure.

Phaedrus: Make it a prayer for me, too. Friends have things in common.

Socrates: Let’s be going."

That is ending of the Phaedrus.   Here we find the beauty of a friendship portrayed eloquently. Plato assures us that they have indeed, not just in story, shared “with due measure” an outpouring of divinity together; Socrates offers this noble prayer that the beauty of soul they have turned round and round in their talking may be theirs, but Phaedrus completes, perfects the prayer making it also his own, showing in this small but decisive way that he has accepted Socrates’ offer of love, and will share the poverty and riches of his rhetoric, to guide and stir each other on the way to truth. “ἴωμεν” — “Let’s be going.” They have this way reached an agreement with each other and with themselves; they have arrived where now their conversation something holds in common, something divine. And more talk is no longer needful. “Is there anything else we need Phaedrus?” Nothing else, but to take the double riches of sharing the best things with one you love.

"Phaedrus" from the Dialogues of Plato.


Brian Joseph said...

This is a marvelous passage.

As you illustrate, it portrays something special friendship in a very pleasing way l. I think that having true friends in life makes this all the more meaningful.

I like Phaedrus moire then many of the other dialogues.

James said...


Thanks for your observation. This is also one of my favorite dialogues.