My sense is that more is lost in these misreadings than just the brilliance of the philosopher. We live in an age of widespread depression and ecological crisis. Emptiness and ennui are a characteristic of our age on the one hand, and on the other, it seems beyond our collective reach to connect with the natural world in a way that can motivate the actions required for us not to destroy it. Plato might be a doctor for our times, if we get him right again.
His therapy is one of vision. Or rather, of re-envisaging: discovering a renewed felt connection with the material world. Plato can show us how to think of our bodies as the manifest presences of our souls. He can also open our eyes to a way of understanding nature as a living organism, rather than tinkering with it as a biochemical mechanism. Let’s look first at his sense of what it is to be embodied.
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