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Bearing Insight: Anxious Wisdom 1 My topic is the search for wisdom.

In 1966, the College of the University of Chicago sponsored a week-long conference that posed the question What knowledge is most worth having? I dont recall anyone taking up the theme of wisdom. Perhaps the term seemed too affected. Thirty-five years of deconstructionism, post-modernism and social contructivism have hardly improved the standing of wisdom. Nonetheless, I shall use the term in this essay. I pose three questions. What does it mean to seek wisdom? What makes this search so problematic? Finally, what is the role of talk or conversation in the search for wisdom? I shall anchor my discussion of these three questions in a reading of two sections of Platos Republic: Socrates conversation with Cephalus in Republic I and the allegory of the cave in Book VII. My approach to Plato, briefly put, begins with the premise that in reading him one must take the dialogue form seriously. Plato does not speak directly to the reader. He speaks indirectly through the speeches and deeds of his characters. Perhaps the most influential interpreter to argue this case was Leo Strauss. Unlike Strauss who concerned himself with the relationship between philosophy and the political order or city, I approach Plato as a practicing psychoanalyst, trained in philosophy. I am particularly interested in the Platonic presentation of the resistance to learning from experience. Platos examination of this phenomenon generally takes the form of a dramatic presentation of the career of Socrates. Socrates attempted to get his fellow citizens to examine their experience and he was not met with universal gratitude. If wisdom involves the capacity to learn from experience, we need to think about why this happens so rarely. 2 I begin with the conventional wisdom about wisdom. Bruggers Philosophical Dictionary tells us that wisdom is not just any kind of knowledge but s knowledge about what is essential in human life, about the ultimate principles and ends of finite existence. It is a contemplation and judgment of all earthly things in the light of eternity; it is a knowledge that shows its worth by assigning each thing to the place that it belongs in the context of the whole universe. Note that the Dictionary identifies two different dimensions of wisdom. The first dimension pertains to what is essential in human life. The second pertains to the relationship between the whole and its parts. When I characterize the capacity for wisdom as connected to the ability to learn from experience, I am emphasizing the first dimension, i.e. our ability to discern what is essential in our lives. It may, however, turn out to be the case that we cannot learn about what is essential in our lives without in some manner encountering the question of what is essential as such. To have an insight into who we are may involve having an insight into our place within the whole. 3 The series of conversations narrated by Socrates the day after his journey to the Piraeus begins with two contrasting deeds. Socrates, on his way home from the Piraeus, yields to the wishes on a group of young men that he remain to watch a torchlight parade and to talk. Cephalus, after expressing his pleasure that Socrates has come to his home,

gives over his logos and instead of talking leaves for the sacrifices. Simply put, Socrates chooses speech [logos] while Cephalus chooses action. One might say that the rest of the dialogue takes place in the shadow of this choice. I begin with a brief examination of the Socratic choice. The dialogue opens with Socrates describing an accidental encounter with a group of young men whom he met while returning home. Socrates had gone to the Piraeus to pray to observe the introduction of a Thracian goddess into the Athenian pantheon. I note in passing that it is the city rather than Socrates that is introducing a new god. A group of young men, led by Polemarchus, the son of Cephalus, detain Socrates who is accompanied by Platos brother, Glaucon. Polemarchus playfully suggests that Socrates interrupt his return, asking Socrates to make a difficult choice. He and Glaucon can either prove themselves stronger than the larger grouper or remain with them. Surely, replies Socrates, there remains the possibility of our persuading you that it is better for us to go home. Polemarchus answer deserves some brief comments. How could you do that, I mean persuade us, if we refused to listen? In a few brief lines, Plato has indicated a context for all that is to follow. The search for wisdom, in the broadest possible terms, is the quest to understand the relationship between force, on the one hand, and persuasion, on the other. Is it possible for persuasion [which always involves logos or speech] to conquer force [here represented by the stronger group]? Can persuasion itself function as a kind of force? If so, what does it mean to persuade someone of something? Polemarchus makes an important observation about persuasion. The latter is only effective, one can only be persuaded of something, if one decides to listen. What does it mean to choose or to refuse to listen? Throughout the long night that follows, Socrates more than once decides to continue the conversation instead of returning home. Cephalus, on the other hand, chooses to leave. He decides not to participate in a conversation with Socrates about the nature of justice although there is much that might have learned. With this in mind, I turn to the conversation between Socrates and Cephalus. 4 We see Cephalus through the eyes of Socrates: And within was the father of Polemarchus, Cephalus. And I thought him much aged, for it was a long time since I had seen him. He was sitting on a sort of chair with cushions and he had a crown upon his head, for he had just finished sacrificing in the court. So we went and sat down beside him, for there were seats arranged in a circle. As soon as he saw me, Cephalus greeted me and said, You are not a frequent visitor, Socrates. You dont come often to the Piraeus to see us. This is not fitting. For if I were still able to make the journey up to town easily there would be no need of your coming here, but we would go to visit you. But as it is you should not space too widely your visits here. For I would have you know that, for my part, as the pleasures of the body decay, in the same measure my pleasures and desires for talk [peri tous logous] increase. Dont refuse then, to be yourself a companion to these lads and make our house your resort and regard us as your very good friends and intimates. [328B-328D].

I want to emphasize four points about Socrates initial encounter with Cephalus. First, Socrates initially identifies Cephalus as the father in the full sense of the term. The reader is invited to visualize him, sitting in the center of the circle, crowned from the sacrifice. Cephalus also speaks as father, identifying himself repeatedly as the ruler of the small community gathered in the household by speaking in the name of the group. He repeatedly uses the plural we and urges Socrates to be a . . .companion to these lads. Secondly, although Cephalus mistakenly assumes that Socrates has come to visit him, he recognizes that a connection between Socrates and the pleasures of logos or talk. If he were not so frail, he says, he would visit Socrates more often because he has a great desire for and takes much pleasure in talk. Thirdly, Cephalus indicates that he knows something about the pleasures of talk (logos}. The latter have a complex relationship to the pleasures of the body. So long as the pleasures of the body wax, one seems to have little time for pleasures of speech. Only after the body has decayed and no longer gives pleasure do speeches become desirable. Finally, Socrates observes that Cephalus is much aged. Throughout the subsequent conversation with Socrates, Cephalus age will be the central theme. Socrates compares Cephalus to one who has journeyed on a path that we, too, must some time take. Extending the metaphor, one might say that Cephalus is near the end of lifes journey. He is therefore in a position to see life as a whole. We shall see that he has opinions about the relationship between youth and age, character and happiness, body and soul and human beings and the gods. Because he is old and has thought about the meaning of his experience, Cephalus way of attaining a perspective on the whole represents the conventional alternative to philosophy, i.e. he appears as the wise old man, the elder statesman. Socrates opens the conversation by telling Cephalus that he enjoys speaking with the aged because, standing at the crossroad between life and death, they have are like travelers approaching a destination toward which we must all journey and can tell us whether the way there is hard or easy. We shall see that Cephalus offers an inconsistent response. He begins by saying that the soul attains peace and freedom in old age and concludes by describing how it is tormented by fears and nightmares as it thinks about how it will fare in the world to come. Cephalus initial response takes up the theme of the relationship between body and soul that he had touched upon in his presentation of himself as one who desires and enjoys logoi. In this respect, he differs from most of his friends. For the latter, to talk means to complain. Most old men lament the lost pleasures of their youth-wine, women and feast. They regard the pleasures of the body as primary and view old age as a kind of living death. Cephalus claims to have some insight about why this is so; he has attained a kind of wisdom about human things and has done so by contrasting his experience with that of others. In doing so, he has grasped the cause, in Greek the aition, of the misery of old age. Character rather than simply the weakening of the body determines how one fares in old age. If one has a good character, old age brings with it much peace and freedom {eirene gignetai kai eleutheria}.

To illustrate his point, Cephalus tells a story (muthos) about Sophocles. A poet first appears in the Republic as an exemplar of good character. To a rude man who asked him about his sex life in old age. Sophocles replied: Hush, man, I escaped from eros as if I had run away from a savage and raging beast of a master. For most of our life, the erotic needs of the body rule the soul. Cephalus adds that when the fierce tensions of the passions and desires relax, then the words of Sophocles come to be and we are rid of many mad masters. The weakening of the body brings with it the liberation of the mind for those who have the right character. In the Republic, philosophy will emerge as a fundamental alternative to the liberation of the mind through aging. What will determine the coming into being of peace and freedom for the mind is not ones innate character but ones ability to bear the pain of dialectic as the process of question and answer. Upon hearing Cephalus account of the relationship between mind and body, youth and age, character and peace, Socrates is filled with admiration. What presumably evokes his admiration is Cephalus reflection on his experience. To hear more, to stir him up, Socrates asks a somewhat impertinent question. The many, he says, hearing this kind of talk would say that Cephalus bears old age lightly not because of his character but because of he possesses much ousian or wealth. I note in passing that this is the first occurrence of ousia, i.e. the substantive form of the verb to be in the Republic. Here, ousia retains its pre-philosophical meaning of property or substance. The turning around of the soul toward philosophy will bring with it a new understanding of ousia. What endures and what one can rely upon is not what one has or possesses but what does not come to be and pass away, i.e. the unchanging forms. Socrates is suggesting that it is not so much who Cephalus is that makes him bear old age well but what he has. Because he possesses much property, he has possibilities open to him that the rest of us do not. Cephalus concedes that although the many have a point, it is not so weighty as they believe. To illustrate his position, he tells another story, this one involving another encounter between a wise man and a rude man. A nameless Seriphean once abused Themistocles, the hero of the Persian wars, by telling him that he owed his fame not to himself but to the city from which he came. Themistocles replied that while he indeed would not have become famous if he had lived in Seriphea, his critic would not have made a name for himself if he had been born in Athens The same logos, says Cephalus, applies to those who are not rich and take old age hard. Just as the moderate man would not find it easy to bear old age with poverty, so the immoderate man will not bear old age with a self contained and cheerful character. This leads me to make four brief points about the relationship between mythos and logos in the exchange between Cephalus and Socrates. First, the interpretation of the story advances the argument by introducing a third term. Cephalus twice uses stories to overcome a sharp opposition. In the first instance, the story about Sophocles suggests an alternative to the clear contrast between youth and old age drawn by his age-mates. The latter regard youth as a time for pleasure and old age as a time of pain and weakness. Cephalus argues that this leaves out the notion of character. If one has the right character one will come to a true understanding of the relationship between youth and age-the latter being a liberation from being ruled by many mad masters. In the second instance, the story

about Themistocles implicitly argues that character also complicates the opposition between the rich and the poor. A moderate, wealthy man as opposed to an immoderate wealthy man or a poor man will enjoy these mythoi a peaceful and free old age. The second point about is that the two stories point to the idea of character but take the idea of a moderate character as a simple given. One wonders how one becomes moderate. Can one be moderate and young? Can one be moderate if one is poor and aged? How does one acquire the capacity to struggle with the savage, raging monsters of youth and the pains of old age? Thirdly, these stories leave no room for a logos that would account for the possibility of Socrates-a moderate poor man who is younger than Cephalus but is also ruled by his desire for and pleasure in logoi rather than in the things of the body. Finally, one wonders if it is by chance that Cephalus tells two stories about wise men responding to intrusive anonymous others while he is responding to Socratic inquiries. Do the anecdotes indirectly convey Cephalus experience of being in the presence of Socrates? More precisely, does Cephalus imply that he finds Socrates rude? In sum, already we can observe the following about the relationship between mythoi and logoi. The stories complicate the arguments by introducing new terms. Secondly, insofar we grasp the meaning of the stories, we might be misled into thinking that we understand the meaning of the basic terms illustrated by the stories. We learn from Cephalus that there is such a thing as a moderate, free and peaceful old age. Cephalus seems himself to be an example of this possibility. But we do not learn how this is possible or what moderation is. Thirdly, insofar as the stories and their interpretation do not take into account the possibility of the Socratic existence, they are incomplete as well as unclear. Finally, one can understand the stories as indirect commentaries on the storytellers experience of his situation. In this case, they lead us to wonder if Cephalus as much a lover of logoi as he says that he is. Socrates response to Cephalus goes to the core of what Cephalus stories leave out. He wants to know how Cephalus became wealthy. Did Cephalus acquire or inherit his money? The implication of his anecdote about Themistocles is that just as Athens made it possible for Themistocles to make his name, wealth makes it possible for Cephalus to live moderately. However, there are different ways of acquiring wealth. There are different ways, in short, of becoming who one is. How one is often reflects ones becoming. Thus those who have earned their fortunes tend to be immoderate lovers of money and are different from those who inherited their fortunes. So far I have argued that the question emerging from the conversation between Socrates and Cephalus pertains to the nature of the human soul. Is the latter destined to a life of servitude to the raging and savage masters of the body? Is it character that causes the soul to reach peace and freedom in old age? What role do external factors like the nature of ones community or the possession of wealth play in shaping the souls destiny? In answering Socrates question about how he acquired his wealth, Cephalus adds a fourth factor to the elements determining the nature and destiny of the soul, i.e. the relationship between generations. Throughout the Republic, the question of the relationship between generations generally [but not always] takes the form of the question of the relationship between fathers and sons.

Cephalus grandfather, Old Cephalus, inherited as much property as Cephalus now possesses but multiplied it many times. His father, Lysanias, reduced it below its present amount. Cephalus rebuilt the family fortune. Platos immediate readers would know that this pattern is going to repeat itself even more disastrously in the next generation. Polemarchus, Cephalus heir, will lose the entire family fortune and his life at the hands of the Thirty Tyrants. The same Athens, which made it possible for Themistocles to make a name and for Cephalus to become wealthy, will commit actions that will impoverish Cephalus sons, the same lads he wants to become intimates of Socrates. Socrates responds to Cephalus story of his father and his grandfather by observing that Cephalus does not seem overly fond of his wealth. It is possible that Socrates is being ironic. However, his argument requires a careful reading. He says that just as poets love their poems and fathers love their sons, so men who have made money take this money seriously as their own creation and they also value it for its uses as other people do. This makes moneymakers hard to talk to. Poets love their poems because the poets mastery of his art is reflected in his poem. The poet can create beautiful objects and sees her soul reflected in her poems. Today, we might say that the poet has a narcissistic investment in her poetry. Similarly, moneymakers take their fortune seriously as their ergon or product. However, money is a unique product since it can be used as the equivalent of every other product. It is both a measure of value and a medium of exchange. The possession of large amounts of money can thus give birth to illusions of omnipotence and invulnerability. This point is crucial for understanding Thrasymachus praise of injustice and Glaucons story of the ring of Gyges and his description of the unjust life. The central relationship is between fathers and sons and this case differs. Neither poems nor money have thoughts and feelings about their creator. What does it mean for the son to be the creation of his father? Perhaps in producing and raising a son, the father creates logos that is inscribed in the soul of the son. For the son to distinguish himself from the father, perhaps he has to destroy or, at least, transform the logos of the father. Cephalus, a few lines later, will point to the problem in a witticism. When Polemarchus enters the conversation to defend his father, Cephalus turns his logos over to his son. The Athenians accused Socrates of corrupting the young. Socrates implicitly answers this in Books VIII and IX of the Republic when he argues that the tensions between father and son are rooted in the nature of the relationship. Socrates asks Cephalus what is the greatest good he has enjoyed from possessing so much money. In the light of his account of his grandfather and father, one might expect Cephalus to say that the greatest good is his knowledge that he will leave his sons relatively secure. Instead, he observes his answer will probably not persuade the many. With this, he introduces the final and deepest theme of his conversation about the human soul. He raises the problem of its ultimate destiny and the relationship between its life and its death. In this context, Cephalus introduces a very different account of old age and its relationship both to youth and to life looks like from the threshold of old age. Know this well, Socrates, he say, s that when a man begins to realize he is going to die, he is filled with apprehensions and concerns which he did not know about before. Here, for the first time, Cephalus, the storyteller, speaks explicitly of mythoi or stories. He

refers to the tales told by the poets about Hades, about how those who have here committed injustice must there pay a penalty [literally, give justice]. This introduces what I have called a radically new conception of old age. Hitherto, we have seen that Cephalus depicted a moderate old age as offering the possibility of peace and freedom. Now, he tells Socrates that when one is old, the soul undergoes a fundamental change. While the young laugh at the tales about Hades, the souls of the old begin to turn around in fear because they fear that these tales might be true. This turning around of the soul, he says, comes either from weakness or from a better view of things. In any case, one can hardly call old age a time of peace and tranquillity. Cephalus describes it as a time filled with doubts, suspicions and anxiety. Facing death, one begins to measure ones life and to consider if one has done injustice. Cephalus concludes by returning to the theme of the greatest good he has received from his wealth. He again divides the world into two classes of human beings. There are those who have done much injustice in their life. Such human beings sleep poorly-their dreams disturbed by anxiety. Such people live with fearful expectations of what is to come. In contrast, there are those who are aware of never have done injustice. This class of human being has sweet companions in their old age, i.e. hope and good feelings. In this context, Cephalus quotes the poets for the last time. He cites Pindar to the effect that a man who has lived his life in justice and piety has hope as a sweet nurse to his old age. The greatest good of wealth is that it benefits the moderate man. Not to cheat any man even unintentionally or play him false, not remaining in debt to a god for some sacrifice, to a man for money, not to depart in fear to that other world, to this result the possession of much money contributes not a little. Before I turn to the way in which Socrates responds to Cephalus, let me briefly summarize the context of the interpretation. At issue is the contrast between Socrates choice to remain with the logos and Cephalus choice to leave for the sacrifices. Plato presents Cephalus as man who lays claim to a kind of wisdom about the soul. He has traveled to a turning point on a long road that enables him to gain a comprehensive perspective on the vicissitudes of the soul. Therefore, he can tell Socrates and the others what life looks like from this perspective. We have seen that Cephalus does not disappoint. He presents himself as one who has thought about life and its transformations. He knows the reasons why some find peace and freedom in old age. He appreciates the goodness of moderation. Finally, Cephalus speaks about the greatest good of the most valuable possession, i.e. wealth.] But Cephalus does not offer a coherent understanding of what it means to be human. He consistently portrays even the moderate soul as basically driven-in youth by desire and in old age by fear. The soul, far from winning peace and freedom, lives under the rule of savage masters or harsh and punitive gods. One can describe Cephalus as involved in a kind of ascent toward the logos. At the beginning of his remarks he presents himself as a lover of logoi. If we take seriously his account of life as lived mainly under the rule of a raving beast of a master, it is hard to see how logos matters. Only in old age does one have the aptitude and the vision to take seriously the logoi one had laughed at in youth. In old age at last logos moves the soul.

However, it moves the soul toward making recompense for the misdeeds of youth. If the soul cannot do this, it will depart for Hades in great fear. I turn now to Socrates response to Cephalus account of the use he has made of his money. Commentators have often noted that Socrates responds as if Cephalus had offered a definition of justice and neglects to take into account Cephalus most important concern, the fate of the soul before the judgment of the gods in Hades. Plato, some commentators argue, is showing us that those tied to the customary, to the ancestral, must depart to make room for philosophy. This reading is correct if one assumes that Cephalus is a representative of something else, i.e. if he plays a symbolic or allegorical role in the dialogue. I suggest that one read this exchange as an example of Socratic psychotherapy. While we view psychotherapy as the treatment of mental illness, Socratic therapy involves the turning around of the soul toward philosophy. I shall discuss this in greater detail when I offer an interpretation of the cave, When the Socratic response is viewed as a form of psychotherapy, we can look at the Socratic question in a new way. While it develops an argument by appealing to the interlocutors understanding of the topic at hand [be it justice, courage, love or piety], it functions as an interpretation. By this I mean that the Socratic question places the interlocutor before his own being and invites him to reflect on it. I want to point out two ways in which Socrates question draws out what is implicit in Cephalus conception of the way a life is lived. He asks Cephalus whether or not the same deed might appear just at one time and unjust at another. He exemplifies this by describing of the case of a man who borrows a weapon. Under most circumstances, it would be just to return the weapon to its owner upon his request. But what if, in the interim, the owner had gone mad? Would it not be unjust to give a dangerous tool to a madman? First, Socrates question points to the way in which Cephalus account of the soul before death only seems to take actions into account. Justice is described as performing certain actions [telling the truth, offering sacrifices, and paying debts] and not performing others [lying, cheating]. Cephalus emphasizes that if one departs having unintentionally [akon} done something unjust, one will still be punished. What matters from his perspective is the deed rather than its intention or consequences. This is the Cephalean insight into the meaning of life. At its close, what matters in a life is that one dies with a clear conscience. To have a clear conscience means to have done nothing unjust. Socrates question invites Cephalus to consider the intention of the lender and the consequences of the act of returning the weapon. If the owners intentions are mad and the consequences likely to be fatal, one should not return what is owed. It is not simply Cephalus definition that is inadequate. His conception of what makes a life worth living is inconsistent. In judging a life, one does judge deeds. But one also takes into account what the agent intended by his speeches and deeds, and what their consequences were. Second, Socrates example makes explicit an implication of Cephalus understanding of the human soul. If one takes seriously what Cephalus has said about the soul, one must see the soul as constantly threatened by the possibility of madness. So long as the body

dominates, the soul obeys a savage and raging master. When the mind rules, the soul is terrified by its fear of death. It seems as if the soul lives between the compulsions and impulses of eros and an obsession with its deeds following its anxiety about death. Cephalus quickly agrees that one should not return a weapon to a madman. Polemarchus, however, interrupts to defend his father by citing no less an authority than Simonides. At this point, Cephalus turns the logos over to his son, saying that he has to leave for the sacrifices. He consistently prefers doing to thinking. How are we to understand Cephalus departure? I have repeatedly argued that Cephalus remarks raise basic questions about the soul and its journey. But these questions are not questions for Cephalus. In the language of Hegel, the questions he raises as for us as readers of the Republic. When we read the rest of the text, we see that these questions return in different forms. Finally, the Socrates concludes his conversation with Glaucon and the others by telling a story about the judgment of souls in the other world and the decision one makes about the kind of life one will lead in this world. The Republic concludes by returning to Cephalus concern with rewards and punishments for justice. It is precisely Cephalus anxiety about these rewards and punishments that lead to his departure. If the tales are true, the sacrifices are far more important than the speeches. But what would have happened if Cephalus had stayed? This question should raise a difficulty. Strauss, Bloom and others have argued that Cephalus must depart, that a conversation like the one imitated by the Republic could not take place in the presence of a representative of the old order. One doubts, for example, if Thrasymachus would have expressed himself so freely. It is also true that Socrates harshly criticizes the tales told by the poets about this world and the next. He proposes a state in which the rulers own no property and where wives and children are held in common. Philosophy, one might argue, needs air to breathe and for this to happen, Cephalus must leave. Certainly, no one implores him to stay. However, one might also say that if he had stayed, he would have been purged of his terror about the afterlife and he might have learned how to make a better choice in the next world. Perhaps he left because Socrates offered an incomplete interpretation. Instead of addressing the manifest content, i.e. Cephalus explicit concern about divine punishment, Socrates makes no reference to the gods and directly addresses the latent content, i.e. Cephalus implicit conception of justice as doing. Socrates does not address Cephalus fundamental anxiety about the fate of the soul and consequently, Cephalus does not take him seriously. But neither does he see Socrates as a threat. Instead, he leaves laughing. Was it Socrates indifference to the divine that led him to overlook Cephalus concern about the gods? He had, after all, gone to the Feast of Bendis with Glaucon to pray. There is, then, a form of Socratic piety. Did Socrates intentionally provoke Cephalus leaving? Does the Republic begin with a symbolic parricide? Does Cephalus play the role of a noncomedic version of the Aristophanic comic hero of the Clouds, Strepsiades? What does it mean for the soul to turn around and to see the possibility of philosophy? What is the role of logos? What is the role of passion? Does Cephalus leave because he does not want to bear the pain of his own ignorance? To answer these questions, we need to turn to the allegory of the cave.

Part Two A Reading of the Allegory of the Cave In what follows, I take for granted basic familiarity with Platos allegory. Perhaps the most penetrating, certainly most provocative interpretation of the allegory comes from Heidegger. He argues that in the allegory Plato accomplishes a transformation in the Greek understanding of truth. Briefly put, in his shifting emphasis on darkness and light, Plato retains the pre-Platonic understanding of truth as aletheia or uncovering in which the something is torn, wrested, unveiled from hiddenness. The bringing of an aspect of a being into the light is never complete. Therefore, there always remains an element of the hiddenness that resists unveiling. The allegory sustains this interpretation by beginning and ending in the twilight realm of an underground cavern. At the same time, Heidegger argues, Plato adds a new dimension in his interpretation of what it means to be in the truth. To understand beings, to gain wisdom means to see things clearly, to see them for what they are. Throughout the allegory, Plato emphasizes gaining an adequate perspective. Eventually, the metaphors invoking vision displace the metaphors based on uncovering and unveiling. The element of darkness and absence recedes. For Heidegger the Platonic displacement is the founding gesture of what he calls metaphysics. Space does not permit an adequate treatment of Heideggers interpretation. In the context of our concern with Cephalus, Heideggers argument that Plato founds metaphysics, would imply something like the following. Plato wants us to understand Cephalus choice as reflecting a failure to see. From this perspective, Cephalus lacks interest in looking at his own logos. In contrast, in my reading of the allegory, I shall argue that while this is one way of thinking about what Cephalus does, it neglects what I shall call the affective dimension of knowing, i.e. the importance of feeling. We can also understand Cephalus departure as a failure to feel. Thinking includes not only the capacity to reason but also the capacity to tolerate emotion. In Socratic language, to think about something requires that we acknowledge that we do not know what it is or what it means. Acknowledging ignorance, facing the possibility of novel truth, evokes anxiety. Anxiety is painful. The pain of thinking, in fact, is so great that most of us, most of the time cannot bear to do it alone. While Heidegger calls attention to the allegorys emphasis on pain, he consistently and deliberately ignores the psychological dimension of the text. This follows from his famously argued position that psychology is a debased form of the metaphysics of subjectivity. It leads him to overlook the relationship between ontology and psychology in Plato. The souls condition, its psychology, varies with its understanding of being. To see what this means, I turn to the allegory. After this, I said, compare our nature in respect to education [paideia] and its lack [apaideusia] to experience such as this. So begins the allegory of the cave. Every word is important. At issue is our physis with respect to its being affected, undergoing, or suffering an experience[pathei]. The use of the noun pathe refers to the concluding remarks of Book VI in which Socrates referred to the being affected of the soul with respect to the various

modes of appearance of truth and being. I shall return to the connection between the divided line and the allegory of the cave. In the present context, I shall focus on the meaning of paideia. Shorey translates it as education and this is correct as far as it goes. But education, we shall see, entails the turning around of the soul with respect to its understanding of being. Education, in short, here means turning toward philosophy. Education thus does not adequately capture the movement envisioned by the allegory. The movement is from being ignorant of ignorance to a capacity for tolerating the unending struggle between the sensible and the intelligible. In so characterizing the allegory, I take seriously the conclusion of the journey in the soul with the return to the cave. I argue that the return is as much a part of the journey toward truth as the ascent to the open air. Socrates asks Glaucon to picture human beings dwelling in a cave with a long open to the light on its entire width. The cave dwellers have their necks and legs fettered from childhood. They can see only the shadows of objects that are cast on the wall in front of them. Behind them is a fire. Between the fire and the prisoners is a road along which a long wall has been built. Socrates compares this wall to a stage on which puppets perform a show. See, also, men carry past the wall implements of all kinds that rise above the wall and the human images and shapes of animals as well, wrought in stone and wood and every material some of these bearers presumably speaking and some others silent. Socrates depicts what we might call a community of discourse. The prisoners name the shadows in front of them, taking the passing of the shadows for reality. They spend much energy predicting what will come next and honor one who has the best memory for the order of coming to be and passing away and therefore has the most foresight. The question I want to address is what is being allegorized here. My hypothesis is that the allegory depicts the relationship between thought and feeling insofar as it pertains to the education of the soul toward philosophy. I quoted above the opening lines of Book VII. In Greek, the text reads meta tauta, or after these things. The allegory refers directly to the divided line that immediately precedes it. The divided line has four sections, each naming a pathemata or affection of the soul: imagining, believing, understanding and intellection or dialectic. To each mode of being affected there corresponds a mode of the being of an object suffered or received by the soul. Following Socrates, I exemplify by beginning with the lower half of the line, which divides the realm of the visible into images and sensible originals. Consider the role of Cephalus in the Republic. We have seen that Platos character offers an image of a historical figure, a wealthy shield maker whose fortune the Thirty Tyrants confiscated and whose son, Lysias, became a famous orator. Lacking direct acquaintance of the original man, we can only imagine whether Platos portrait is accurate or not. At the same, Cephalus functions as a sensible original by being a character in a philosophical drama. We make inferences about his character by our direct experience of reading his speeches and deeds. Moving up the line to the upper half, it is divided into dianoia and dialectic. Dianoia or understanding involves the use of hypothesis, which transforms the sensible original into an example. Commentators have argued that Cephalus exemplifies the pious man, the ancestral, the oligarchic soul. I have argued that Cephalus represents the kind of

man who is concerned with the destiny of the individual soul after death. Each of these hypotheses sheds some light on the role of the character of dialogue. The fourth level uses the hypotheticals as springboards: Understand then, said I, that by the other section of the intelligible I mean that which the logos itself lays hold of by the power of dialectic, treating its hypotheses not as absolute beginnings but literally as hypotheses, underpinnings, footings and springboards so to speak, to enable it to rise to what which requires no hypothesis and is the starting point of all, and after attaining to that again taking hold of the first dependencies from it, so to proceed downward to the conclusion, making no use of the sensible but only of eide themselves, moving on through ideas to ideas and ending with ideas. Finally, both the speeches of Cephalus and its interpretation raise fundamental questions not only about what we know about how we know. What is piety? How does piety? What is divinity? What it the connection between piety, divinity and the holy. To think about these questions, about the ideas and their connections, is to engage in what Socrates calls dialectic. Another way of thinking about dialectic is to return to the original position of Cephalus. He claims that many mad masters rule the soul. Presumably, he knows this from experience. What does it mean to reflect on an experience? What is desire? Are all objects of desiring the same or do they differ in rank? If so, what determines the ordering of the objects of desire? What determines ordering as such? Ultimately, we would find ourselves encountering the idea of the good, which is where Socrates begins his account of the divided line. In citing the Socratic account of dialectic, I left the term logos untranslated. Thus far, I have translated logos as talk reason speech. Here, logos literally means that which aptetai seizes, takes hold of something. Dialectic represents the clearest and truest way in which logos takes hold of a being. However, understanding [dianoia], belief [pistis], and imagination [eikasia] are also ways in which logos takes hold of a being; they are less clear and less true. The same being, to repeat, can appears in logos as an image, as sensible original, as exemplifying a hypothesis or as instantiating an eidos. But if the divided line provides an image of the various modes of logos, it leaves unclear what it means for the soul to grasp a being by means of logos. What is it that moves us to grasp being and what is entailed by moving from a less clear logos to a more clear logos? More precisely, why is the clearest and truest mode of uncovering a being the least visible. The line images four modes of being. The allegory tells a mythos about dialectic. In so doing, it restores a crucial aspect of the experience of logos missing from the divided line. I refer to experience of pathos-affect or feeling. What does it mean to say that the soul receives, undergoes the truth of a being when it grasps it in logos? At issue from the very beginning of the allegory of the cave is the phenomenon of attachment. The allegory tells the story of the separation, individuation and attempted reintegration of the soul in a community. The chains of the allegory, in other words, image forms of attachment. The soul is, first of all, passionately attached to a certain conception of logos that is forged by the community. In the Republic, the exemplary community is the polis. Books VIII and IX show how the different forms that the polis can take shapes different kinds of souls. In the timocracy, the greatest good, organizing the logos of the whole, is honor. The timocracy is inhabited by the timocratic soul. However, we also saw

in discussing Book I that the family also shapes the bonds of attachment. In the metaphor of the Republic, it is the logos left to the son by the father that forms the link of attachment. The turning around of the soul at each stage images a form of dialectic. We shall see that at the first two crucial stages, dialectic requires the presence of another who forces the soul to continue the ascent. Here, let us note that we began by a contrast of force and persuasion. In the allegory, persuasion through question and answer consistently appears as a means of forcing the soul to continue to its ascent. The turning around of the soul entails a transformation of perspective that is, first, painful and, then, pleasurable. Socrates repeatedly describes the pain the soul experiences in terms of the eye of the soul, i.e. reason, adjusting to different degrees and kinds of light, i.e. truth and being. The metaphor of seeing things clearly as a way of thinking about thinking is so familiar that it seduces us into thinking that we know why the transition from relative ignorance to clearer knowledge is so painful. At issue is not the discovery of new facts or even new hypotheses but of a different form of ontological knowledge that transforms the souls understanding of what it means to be. The ascent from one level of ontological knowledge to the next includes pain because it entails the experience of letting go of ones habitual way of understanding ones being and the being of the world. Implicated in our habitual ways of seeing the world is our trust in and reliance on parents, teachers and other sources of authority. The soul experiences the loss of an authoritative way of seeing and thinking about thinks as a source of great anxiety because shifts in ontological knowledge, new ways of understanding being, involve separation from beloved and familiar others. This leads to the experience of anxiety. Here, I think brief reference to anxiety in Freud and Heidegger can help us to understand what is at stake in Socrates account. Heidegger argues that anxiety is our fundamental experience of what he calls the nothingness of the world. By this means, he means its groundlessness, it radical contingency. This is what the liberated prisoner experiences when someone unbinds his chains and releases him. What he thought was real was the shadow of a fabricated object mounted upon a stage. Reality at this stage is not what is given but what is made. In Greek, what hitherto had seemed natural now appears as conventional, i.e. invented by the founders of tradition. In this space between reality as given and reality as constructed dwell the Sophists of every time and place. Freud helps us to think about the function of the chains when he argues that anxiety is located in what he calls the ego or what Socrates calls the rational part of the soul. The rational part uses some anxiety to defend even greater quantities of anxiety. Thus, Cephalus uses the anxiety of old age evoked by the tales about Hades as a signal that he must pay his debts and offer sacrifices so that he can make a good passage to that other place. Of course, Cephalus could have realized at any time that he was going to die and acted accordingly. One might say that for most of his life, he has defended or protected himself from realizing that death is always impending. In this context, I am less interested in Freuds stress on defense mechanisms than in stressing that Plato and Freud agree that our initial relationship to reality, the ontological knowledge that shapes our being, is defensive. Freud emphasizes loss-of ones caretakers, of love, of parts of the body, of a good feeling about the self while Plato emphasizes the threat posed by the uncanny lurking within the familiar, i.e. that what is familiar or immediately given is always mediated. The

mediation of family and teaches anchors us to a particular time and place as well an enchaining us. If we think of the mythos of the cave in the context of the Republic as a whole, it becomes clear that knowledge of the precarious character of immediately given reality is not limited to the philosopher. Thrasymachus, for example, already knows that what conventionally appears as justice, i.e. the legal, is really a reflection of the will and the calculation of the governing classes. Glaucons s story about Gyges implies that what restrains us from behaving in the most lawless manner is our fear of being seen and punished. Take the example of Cephalus who, we have seen, plays the exemplary role of someone who refuses to follow the logos and turns away from philosophy to go to the sacrifices. Even Cephalus knows that ones ontological knowledge, i.e. ones understanding of being, changes. In youth, for example, he presumably shared the views of his age-mates that objects of desire-women, wine, and feasts-were the most real of realities. In his old age, he now thinks that the things told about the afterlife and the souls fate may be the most real. Moreover, Cephalus has had the experience of finding things to be true that he once laughed at and has grasped that the invisible things presented in stories are real than the visible things desired by the body. Thus, even what Hegel would call ordinary consciousness in its fascination with here and now has inkling that ones understanding of the real changes with age. But the notion that our very understanding of what is most real in our experience could change and that our current understanding of reality might be inadequate is profoundly threatening. It is precisely this truth that everyone generally discovers in adolescence and, then, forgets about when one enters the more serious world of adult life. What separates the philosopher from the non-philosopher is the capacity to sustain this insight and that means to tolerate the anxiety it evokes. This anxiety, I repeat, signals that our deepest sense of what is real might be radically problematic. The pain of this anxiety is sufficiently intense so that one cannot purse thinking about the real with the help of another. This mysterious someone, for example, points out to the liberated prisoner each passing object at the level of the road and the wall inside the cave and forces him by questions to say what it is. What the liberated prisoner learns from this experience is that all that he had seen before was nonsense [phluarias]. Caught between different modes of thinking about reality, the liberated prisoner is in a state of aporia, i.e. of anxious bewilderment. No sooner has he grasped that each thing he thought was given is made, i.e. shaped by language or what we would call socially constructed, then this mysterious someone who accompanies the liberated prisoner, forces him out of the cave. And if someone should drag him from there by force up the ascent which is rough and steep, and not let him go before he had drawn him out into the light of the sun, do you not think that he would find it painful to be so hauled along and would chafe at it and when he came out into the light, his eye would be full of beams so that he would not be able to see even one of the things that we call real? Two forms of anxious knowledge must be endured. First, the soul learns that reality is not given but constructed. Then, the soul must confront the truth that the constructed

owes its being to an insight into the unchanging eternal order of nature. Here the logos grasps what is purely intelligible in the unchanging. And here the soul, having adjusted to its anxiety about having separated from its certainty about the power of invention, would like to retain. It believes that it has, at last, encountered the really real and looks with contempt at the cave dwellers below who are obsessed with what comes to be and passes away in time and do not have a clue about the eternal and the necessary foundations of knowledge. In psychoanalytic terms, one might say that the liberated prisoner at every stage takes a certain narcissistic delight in his superiority to those beneath when he has adjusted to the bright light and can see things clearly. The cave depicts a repeated movement from anxious fascination with the real, to the anxious discovery that that this real is mere appearance, and finally, to the proud satisfaction that one has found the truth. This is the movement of dialectic. Until one leaves the cave, the soul needs the presence of a questioning other. Otherwise, the pain of transforming its understanding of being is too great and it will stay where it is. Outside the cave, the soul thinks for itself by itself as it contemplates the unchanging real of the intelligible. But the journey does not end outside the cave. The liberated prisoner must return to the cave where he will be laughed and even hated if he tries to persuade the other cave dwellers that they are taking mere appearance for reality. If our initial orientation to reality is, in fact, defensive we can see why the returning soul evokes such hatred. He is challenging the opinion that makes it possible for the cave dweller to tolerate the encounter with reality in the cave. But why does the liberated soul even make an effort to engage his fellow prisoners? One might say that since the cave describes the journey of the soul, the body of the philosopher has never left the cave. The unliberated prisoners are his relatives, neighbors and fellow citizens. To dwell with them he must speak. But must he speak about the experience of reality? Must he carry philosophy into the city [to use a Straussian formulation}? What compels him to do this? What made Socrates tell the Athenian jurors that he would rather than die than withdraw from the marketplace into silence? To answer this question, I want to reintroduce a theme for Part One. We saw that for Cephalus, the soul at each stage of its journey through life is one step away from the experience of madness. In youth, it submits to rule of eros, a raving beast of a master; in old age, it turns in terror when it thinks about its relationship to harsh, unforgiving gods. The same is true of the soul imaged in the allegory of the cave. At each stage with the exception of the return, the soul is tempted to rest secure in its knowledge that it is touch with ultimate truth. The bound prisoners find truth in the shadows. The liberated prisoner finds truth, first, in the artifacts and the puppeteers and then in the open air. I would tentatively suggest that when we believe that we are in touch with the ultimate truth of the real and that this contact with the real distinguishes us from others, then we have succumbed to madness. Today, we call this absolute conviction that one has found the truth delusion, It is tempting for the liberated soul to believe that in dwelling with the unchanging objects of thought, the ideas or forms, it lives with the really real as opposed to those dwelling in the illusory world of the shadows. This is the conventional reading of Plato.

But this overlooks the fact that we are embodied souls and as such continuously exposed to the possibility of an encounter with the real in the form, say, a beautiful body, an unexpected event, an illness, and a surprising conversation. Because such encounters are unpredictable and hence uncertain, the soul believes that it can escape them by retreating into pure thought. That is why the soul must be compelled to return to the cave. It must expose its newly found knowledge to the shock of the real in the form of changing, even if when compared to the unchanging order, this real has less being. The soul is not only and not even primarily affected by the ideas. While these have the most truth, they are not the only mode of experiencing the world. To live in a completely intelligible world constitutes yet another form of the rejection of anxiety that has dogged the soul from the beginning of its journey. In a way, it is the most dangerous form of anxiety because it is, to repeat, indistinguishable from madness. The Republic explores many forms of madness from its opening to its closing moments. But the only antidote for madness it offers is conversations like the imitated by the dialogue. To choose the way of silence is to choose the way of madness. While the madman shares with the philosopher a sense of our the radical inadequacy of ordinary opinions about reality, he has withdrawn from the agora into his own private world where he will never have to encounter anything which he has not already somehow foreseen. Through logos we are open to reality in all its forms. Through conversation, we maintain in contact with aspects of being even if it means that we have to risk the contempt, envy and hatred of our neighbors.