Alcinous (fl. 150?)

Kabbalah, Sufism, Gnosticism and other forms of mysticism rooted in Christianity, Judaism, Islam
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Nicholas
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Alcinous (fl. 150?)

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1. Definition of Philosophy and the Philosopher

1. The following is a presentation of the principal doctrines of
Plato. Philosophy is a striving for wisdom, or the freeing and turning
around of the soul from the body, when we turn towards the intelligible
and what truly is; and wisdom is the science of things divine and
human.

2. The term 'philosopher' is derived from 'philosophy' in the same
way as 'musician' from 'music'. The first necessity is that he be naturally
apt at those branches of learning which have the capacity to fit
him for, and lead him towards, the knowledge of intelligible being,
which is not subject to error or change. Next, he must be enamoured
of the truth, and in no way tolerate falsehood. Furthermore, he must
also be endowed with a temperate nature, and, in relation to the passionate
part of the soul, he must be naturally restrained. For he who
devotes himself to the study of reality and turns his desires in that
direction would not be impressed by (bodily) pleasures.

3· The prospective philosopher must also be endowed with liberality
of mind, for nothing is so inimical as small-mindedness to a soul
which is proposing to contemplate things divine and human. He must
also possess natural affinity for justice, just as he must towards truth
and liberality and temperance; and he should also be endowed with a
ready capacity to learn and a good memory, for these too contribute
to the formation of the philosopher.

4· These natural qualities, if they are combined with correct education
and suitable nurturing, render one perfect in respect of virtue,
but if one neglects them, they become the cause of great evils. These
Plato was accustomed to name homonymously with the virtues, temperance
and courage and justice.
The Handbook of Platonism tr. by John Dillon, p. 3
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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