"The end for which man was created was to achieve communion with the Higher Powers above the terrestrial realm, through the light and spirit of the Divine, the wings of the soul. That ought to be man's aim in the acquisition of knowledge."
The original Platonic dialectical interchange occurred between two or more person through verbal interchange in a pair or a group.
Plato spoke of human thought as dialectical interchange, so we have explored inner dialectic. Additional studies have examined:
Contemporary dialectical interchange through an Internet chat room or email
This frieze depicts Socrates communing with a Muse. Socrates was known to engage in frequent Inspirational Dialectic with a Muse or his Daimon.
In this essay we're exploring a unique form of dialectical interchange--Inspirational Dialectic: the interchange of knowledge through communion with Higher Beings. It's clear, from a number of references in his writings, that Plato meant by "communion," dialectical interchange as well as mystical union with Higher Beings.
This is the form of dialectical interchange that Socrates experienced with a muse or his Daimon or Guardian Spirit.
At present, most humans no longer understand the real meaning of "inspiration:" a divine influence or action on a person held to qualify him to receive and communicate a higher divulgence. 1
Most persons have been conditioned to believe that it's merely a mild form of positive affect, as in the phrase: "That music is certainly inspiring." Assuming that inspiration is nothing more than a heightened emotion produced by certain experiences, people fail to search for the genuine essence of inspiration. So they listen to music or look at selected art objects, experiencing heightened emotion, and presume that that is all there is to inspiration.
Inspiration is a spiritual faculty and power which has been forsaken and ignored through ignorance and neglect. An act of inspiration occurs when a person allows a known or unknown entity (Form, personality, force, concept, meaning, sensation, image) to flow through her mind and being from a
higher source. An inspsired idea does not come merely from a rearranging of concepts or words in one's mind, but arises from a deeper organ of apprehension within.
Inspiration also constitutes a
new language: a system, methodology, or procedure for making hitherto unrecognized realities (persons, forces, objects, processes, events, meanings) existent, evident, patent, apparent, and understood.
William Blake spoke of his "friends in Eternity" as the source of poems that he received through "immediate dictation." He stressed the involuntary nature of this experience in which works were produced "without premeditation and even against my will." Blake's allusion to his "friends in Eternity" and their "dictations" indicates that inspiration occurs not only outside the mainstream of a person's conscious mind, but in an altogether different dimension of reality.
A person must have worked to gain control over his
debilitating self before he is even able to understand the existence or operation of a Higher realm from which inspiration emanates. The moral virtues a person must have achieved include having overcome the fear of unfamiliar experiences and having gained the courage to allow new, original ideas and processes to flow through him, without fear of criticism from others.
A crucial part of moral integrity is the acknowledgement that what inspiration we receive is NOT our own creation, but the receiving of elements from a higher source.
In his Ion, Plato explains that all enlightened poets (artists of all types) create their works not through following the ordinary rules of art but through attaining inspiration. This divine illumination occurs, as with inspired dancers, when they are not in their ordinary state of consciousness but, as it were, possessed by a divine Muse.
Attaining a higher--not merely an altered--state of consciousness is not easy for most persons. Perennialist preparatory material (such as this essay) provide the knowledge through which serious seekers can learn to enter into a higher state through specially prepared meanings, images, and exercises.
This essay is, in part, an explication of--and an illustration of--the author's experience in receiving inspiration for the essays written by him which appear on this Website. I am experiencing inspirational dialectic as I write the very words of this sentence and all the material in this present essay. The ideas, images, 2 and words come to me as I proceed with conceiving of the overall meaning and selecting the specific words, phrases, and images for the essay. Changes in thought and expression arrive constantly; words and phrases are continually changed to improve the meaning. (For example, the phrase "specific words" was added to the the preceeding sentence after it was first constructed.)
I am convinced that this is an "inspirational' experience, that I am receiving these thoughts and words from an "outside source," because the thoughts and words are not in my mind if I stop to examine and analyze. The inspiration is a flow which must be allowed to proceed without undue analysis of the process or the source.The inspirational impetus is somewhat magisterial, in that it appears to know that what it is saying or suggesting is undeniably correct and should be accepted and carried out.
I also am convinced that I am receiving inspiration from a Higher source because the specific ideas and the overall meanings of the essays are "higher" than I feel I would be able to conceive of by my individual, personal effort and the overall import of the essays is more advanced than most known sources which I am able to discover.
I never know for certain the source of the inspiration. If I ask a specific question of Master Plato, I sometimes have an intuition that the answer I receive is, indeed, from Plato. But the uncertainty is so profound that inspirational dialectic is never like coventional dialectic which involves knowing to whom you are communicating and from whom you receive communications.
The inspirational dialectic in which I participate is a unique experience, very different from the usual dialectical interchanges I engage in with my wife and with current students. My experience of inspirational dialectic can occur at any time within any 24-hour period; at times the "inspiration" is so intense that I am kept from sleeping and so get out of bed to work on the essay at my computer.
"May not you and I be confluent in a higher consciousness, and confluently active there, though we now know it not? We finite minds may simultaneously be co-conscious with one another in a super-human intelligence."
William James, A Pluralistic Universe
I begin each experience of inspirational dialectic by putting forth--conceiving of--some idea, problem, desire, or, most often, the subject of an essay I'm considering writing. Only infrequently--and then tentatively--do I address this conception to a particular person, such as, for example, Plato or Betty White. Inspirational ideas and words begin to flow through almost immediately, and continue until the project is completed (and sometimes after completion, requiring updates and revisions).
Inspirational dialectic is certainly not something unique to me; it is the common experience of all persons who create works of art (literature, painting, sculpture, music, Websites, etc.) through genuine inspirational communion. I am exceptionally fortunate in living with a person who experiences inspirational dialectic in her production of poetry, novels, and essays. She experiences the identical elements of inspirational dialectic and thus can validate my own less than stupendous effort to describe and illustrate this supernal process. She, too, is sometimes kept awake by an insistent Muse 3 demanding that the essence of a poem be immediately written down, so it is not lost. Her Muses, too, sometimes seem somewhat Imperious and Peremptory!
With inspirational dialectic one must constantly focus on the meaning and import of what is transmitted, never on yourself as the transmission vessel, as did Holofernes in William Shakespeare's Loves Labours Lost.
"This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a
foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures,
shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions,
revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of
memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and
delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the
gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am
thankful for it."
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