11 October 2012

Diotima, teacher of Socrates

Diotima by Józef Simmler, 1855
Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE) was a student of
Plato (c. 423 – c. 347 BCE), who was a student of
Socrates (c. 469 – 399 BCE), who was a student of... a woman!
(according to Plato)

Her name was Diotima and she taught Socrates the philosophy of love.

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Here is a fragment of Plato's Symposium, which reminds me of an OLB fragment (see below).

(It is not a strong argument for anything (yet), I just share it for now because I think parallels like this are interesting.)

Translation by Benjamin Jowett (1817 – 1893) Source

[207d-e: dialogue Diotima-Socrates]

Nay even in the life of the same individual there is succession and not absolute unity:
a man is called the same,
and yet in the short interval which elapses between youth and age,
and in which every animal is said to have life and identity,
he is undergoing a perpetual process of loss and reparation—
hair, flesh, bones, blood, and the whole body are always changing.
Which is true not only of the body, but also of the soul,
whose habits, tempers, opinions, desires, pleasures, pains, fears,
never remain the same in any one of us,
but are always coming and going;
and equally true of knowledge, and what is still more surprising to us mortals,
not only do the sciences in general spring up and decay,
so that in respect of them we are never the same;
but each of them individually experiences a like change.

(Original Greek text here)

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OLB original manuscript p.102 lines 9-30 ~ "thet ôthera dél fonre form-lér"

[Dutch translation 1872 Ottema ~ p.141]

Maar doordien zijn leven steeds voortgaat,
zoo kan er ook niets op zijne plaats blijven.
Daarom verwisselen alle geschapene dingen van plaats,
van gedaante en ook van denkwijze.
Daarom mag de aarde zelve, noch eenig schepsel zeggen:
ik ben, maar wel: ik was.
Ook mag geen mensch zeggen: ik denk, maar bloot: ik dacht.
De knaap is grooter en anders als toen hij een kind was.
Hij heeft andere begeerten, neigingen en denkwijze.
De man en vader is en denkt anders als toen hij knaap was.
Even zoo de oude van dagen. Dat weet iedereen.
Bijaldien nu iedereen weet, en moet erkennen, dat hij steeds wisselt,
zoo moet hij ook bekennen, dat hij ieder oogenblik wisselt; ook terwijl hij zegt: ik ben;
en dat zijne denkbeelden veranderen, terwijl hij zegt: ik denk.

[English translation 1876 Sandbach ~ p.141]

but whereas his life is continually progressing,
nothing can remain stationary,
therefore all created things change their locality,
their form, and their thoughts.
So neither the earth nor any other created object can say,
I am; but rather, I was.
So no man can say, I think; but rather, I thought.
The boy is greater and different from the child;
he has different desires, inclinations, and thoughts.
The man and father feels and thinks differently from the boy,
the old man just the same. Everybody knows that.
Besides, everybody knows and must acknowledge that he is now changing,
that he changes every minute even while he says, I am,
and that his thoughts change even while he says, I think.

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