Plato's dialectics and the Paradigm


the dialectical method of synthesis and division

As for the method adopted by the Paradigm, it is based on Platonic dialectic. Plato's dialectic has been well known as a philosophical discourse to seek out the essence of Being. It is the method of synthesis and division. In its procedure, "the first is that in which we bring a dispersed plurality under a single form, seeing it all together. ƒD It is that which enables our discourse to achieve lucidity and consistency." "The second is the reverse of the other, whereby we are enabled to divide into forms, following the objective articulation: we are not to attempt to hack off parts like a clumsy butcher." (Phaedrus 265 d,e)

the method of synthesis

The first is an ascending path to go back to the ultimate cause. Out of the complicated synoptic picture, we have to identify the final structure clearly. That is, in our thesis, the spectrum of light. From the phenomenal level, we can gradually reduce those various contents to the pattern of impulses, to the spectrum, and to light, the final one.

the method of division

The second procedure is called the descending path. It is to divide the reality of Being in accordance with its real components from light. However "it is dangerous to chop reality up into small portions. It is always safer to go down the middle to make our cuts. The real cleavage among the forms are more likely to be found thus, and the whole art of these definitions consist in finding these cleavages." (Statesman 262 b,c) In this second procedure, from the view of the spectrum of light, our careful identification between the impulse of life and the system of symbols in the Gospel articulates the structure of spirit as it is.

the application of the method

At first, we have to distinguish invisible impulses of life by visible human attitudes. This distinction can be made through our sense of direction. We make the symbols overlap the impulses of life grounded on the light. Once the impulses of life are distinguished through different attitudes, symbols gradually join in each appropriate position. Then, filtering the framework of the Gospel helps to articulate archetypal cleavages of our spirit.

Paradigm and the Idea of the Good

The paradigm of Christ holds the equivalent concept to Plato's Idea of the Good, for it pictures the ultimate context of what life is. Plato's Idea of the Good is mentioned in his famous 'simile of the cave' in chapter ‡Z of the Republic. According to his simile, our perception is, at first, likened to the prisoners looking at the shadow of the wall in the cave. One liberated prisoner gradually goes to the entrance of the cave. There he sees the cause of the perception, which is the Sun. Just as the Sun is the cause of all visible perception so the Idea of the Good is the cause of all ideas. Such archetypal ideas as Idea of Beauty, Idea of Justice, etc. are supposed to be integrated to the Good. However the structural relation of those Ideas to the Good was not determined. Though the Good was grasped by Plato's profound intuition, it does not hold enough meanings. On the contrary in our system the Good is clearly defined through the relation between light and its spectrum, and the contrast between light and darkness.

actuality

A major concept in Aristotle's metaphysics is 'actuality' in relation to 'potentiality'. He understands activity of life as the development from potentiality to actuality. While potentiality is life's energy that potentially exists, actuality is a kind of integrated perfection of life which accomplishes the purpose of life at that moment. It also indicates a state of life that functions well. Still simple as it is, Aristotle's definition about potentiality and actuality helps to think about the frame work of life from its deep context. But to attain a clear picture of the notion of life, we need to have more development in the archetypal movement of life. The Paradigm of Christ is by way of this extension; its actuality is the integration of the spectrum of light.