Plato: The Origns of Western Mysticism (Phraedo)

Plato seems to be the origin of Western mysticism (Phraedo) and (through his lineage disciple Aristotle who taught Alexander the Great) also the Western scientific tradition. The thinking is that Plato taught two lineages – the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ – but his outer, materialist lineage he kept hidden due to its implications for Greek spirituality. Aristotle, of course, preferred the outer, materialist lineage and went public with it. Plotinus, hundreds of years later, emphasised only the inner lineage (3rd century CE), or so it seems. This passage in Plato’s Phraedo is said to be the epicentre of the Western tradition of ‘looking within’ :

‘When the mind returns into itself from the confusion of sense (that is, of cave life), as it does when it reflects, it passes into another region of that which is pure and everlasting, immortal and unchanging, and feels itself kindred thereto, and its welfare under its own control and at rest from its wanderings, being in communion with the unchanging.’ (Phraedo 79 c) 

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