Vegetarian Ideal

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
- Albert Einstein

Monday, April 1, 2013

Plato's Most Beautiful Myth



Hide and Seek

Understanding self-deception, self-sabotage, and more

Plato's Most Beautiful Myth

The Myth of Er. Read an excerpt from my new book, 'Plato: Letters to my Son'.
Plato, 424-348 BC

"There is an old myth, which I have heard and told many times, of a soldier called Er who was slain in battle. Twelve days later, Er came back to life to tell of what he had seen whilst he was dead. His soul had been on a journey with a great company to a meadow with four openings, two into the heavens and two into the earth. Judges sat in this meadow and ordered the good souls into the heavens and the bad ones into the earth. Meanwhile, clean and bright souls floated down from the other opening into the heavens, and dusty and worn out souls rose up from the other opening into the earth. Each soul had returned from a thousand year journey, but whereas the clean souls spoke merrily of what they had experienced in the heavens, the dusty souls wept at what they had endured in the underground. Souls that had committed heinous crimes, such as those of tyrants or murderers, were not permitted to rise up into the meadow and were condemned to an eternity in the underground. After seven days, the souls that had gathered in the meadow travelled for five more days to the Spindle of Necessity, a shaft of intensely bright light that extends into the heavens and holds together the universe.

Once they had arrived at the foot of the Spindle of Necessity, the souls were asked to come forth one by one and to choose their next life from a scattered jigsaw of human and animal lives. Not having known the terrors of the underworld, the first soul hastily chose the life of a powerful dictator, only to discover that he was fated, amongst others evils, to devour his own children. His previous life had been virtuous out of habit rather than out of philosophy, and so his judgement was poor. In contrast, the souls that had known the terrors of the underworld often chose a better, more virtuous life, but on no other basis than bitter experience. Thus, many of the souls exchanged a good destiny for an evil or an evil for a good. The soul of wily Odysseus, which was the last to come forth, sought out the life of a private man with no cares.

This he found lying about, neglected by everybody else. After this, the souls travelled through the scorching Plain of Oblivion and encamped by the River of Forgetfulness. Each soul was required to drink from the river’s water so as to forget all things, but the souls that had not been saved by wisdom drank more than was strictly necessary. In the night, as they slept, the souls shot up like stars to be reborn into their chosen life. As they did so, Er opened his eyes to find himself lying on his funeral pyre."

Plato: Letters to my Son, has just been published.

**Book launch promotion: The ebook edition is currently free from Amazon.**

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