mon consciousness, even where its logical necessity is not reflected upon, is that the very existence of a finite being is found to be the process of its dissolution. " The process of, its life is the process of its death." This lesson is brought home to everyone by the experience of a life, which is lived under the shadow of death, and in which everything inward and outward seems to be perpetually slipping away i from us. But the Greek mind was specially open to this pathos of finite existence, just because of its keen sensitiveness to its joys. The refrain of mortality is continually appearing even in the earliest song of Homer with all its fresh delight in the beauty of life; and as reflexion deepened, it
64 the precursors of plato seemed to the Greeks only to disclose more (lis-tinctly—beyond all the brightness of earthly existence and even beyond all the beautiful forms of the gods of Olympus—the harshness of an inexorable law of destiny.
Now, the first reading of this lesson of the vanity of all finite things tends to carry the m mind to the idea of an Absolute in which all is lost and nothing is found again; from mere chango and multiplicity to mere permancnce nnd unity» from the nothingness of the finite world to a God who is only its negation. From this point of view we may recognise the philosophies of Xeiioplmnca and Heraclitus as half-thoughts, each of which finds its complement in the other, the whole thought which arises out of their recombination being just that conception of an absolute unity mediated the negation of all difference and change, which we have already recognised as the basis of all theology.
This, then, is the first of the two characteristic elements in the philosophy of Plato. But so far we have only a pantheistic unity, a principio of unity which is negatively related to all things, and which therefore cannot be properly conceived as an ideal or spiritual, any more than it can properly bo conceived as a material principle. The second element, the idealistic or spiritualistic element, in the Platonic thought is derived, mainly if not entirely, from
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