Mans Imitation of Life and Desire: The 2nd Ultimate Book of True Poetry

John Keats
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It is there for benefit; It is there for purging light; There for purifying storms; And its depths reflect all forms; It cannot parley with the mean,— Pure by impure is not seen. For there's no sequestered grot, Lone mountain tarn, or isle forgot, But Justice , journeying in the sphere, Daily stoops to harbour there. The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream which seaward creeps. On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone ; That memory may their deed redeem , When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit , that made those heroes dare , To die , and leave their children free , Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and thee. Disputed [ edit ] The next thing to saying a good thing yourself, is to quote one This sentence has no known source in Emerson's works, but its general sense does closely match the tenor of Emerson's essay "Quotation and Originality", in particular the sentence "Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it.

Gow, Foundations for Human Engineering contains the following passage: "I have the backing of Emerson, for it was he, I believe, who said that the next thing to saying a good thing yourself, if to quote one". It is not clear whether Gow is purporting to quote Emerson verbatim , or merely to paraphrase his work.

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Misattributed [ edit ] Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting—a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing. To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded. Widely attributed to Emerson on the internet, this actually originates with "What is Success? As soon as there is life there is danger. Actually from De l'Allemagne by Madame de Stael. Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. These then divided to form stars, planets, the sun, the moon, etc. The Quran contains the following verse, regarding the origin of the universe:. Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were once a joined entity, then We separated them and made from water every living thing?

Then will they not believe? Quran, How could a book, which first appeared in the deserts of Arabia years ago, contain this profound scientific truth? The expansion of the universe is now an established scientific fact. This is what the Quran says regarding the formation of the universe:. And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander.

In short, huge gaseous matter or clouds were present before the formation of the galaxies. The following Quranic verse refers to this state of the universe by the word dukhan which means smoke:. Then He turned to the heaven when it was smoke What then, could have been the source of this knowledge? Recent discoveries prove that there are pain receptors present in the skin without which a person would not be able to feel pain. When a doctor examines a patient suffering from burn injuries, he verifies the degree of burns by a pinprick. If the patient feels pain, the doctor is happy, because it indicates that the burns are superficial and the pain receptors are intact.

On the other hand if the patient does not feel any pain, it indicates that it is a deep burn and the pain receptors have been destroyed. The Quran gives an indication of the existence of pain receptors in the following verse:. Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses i. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise. But those who believe and do righteous deeds - We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever. Tagatat Tejasen, Chairman of the Dept.

Initially he could not believe that the Quran mentioned this scientific fact years ago. He later verified the translation of this particular Quranic verse. Tejasen was so impressed by the scientific accuracy of the Quranic verse, that at a medical Conference in he proclaimed in public the Shahadah Islamic Declaration of Faith , i.

Indeed, We have sent down iron in which there is great military might and benefits for the people. It has recently been proven that all iron, not only in our planet but also in the entire solar system, was obtained from outer space. This is because the temperature of the sun cannot generate iron. The sun has a surface temperature of degrees Celsius and a central temperature of about 20 million degrees Celsius. There exists much hotter stars, which are known as novae, or super novae where temperatures can reach s of billions of degrees Celsius and it is in these stars that iron is formed.

When the percentage of iron reaches a certain proportion of the mass of the star it explodes and these exploded-particles travel in space until they are captured by the gravitational fields of other heavenly bodies. This is how our solar system all obtained its iron and it is an established fact today that all the iron in our solar system was not generated or created within the system but has come to it from outer space. Allah says in the Quran:. We shall show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth.

Some people may require ten signs while some may require hundred signs to be convinced about the Divine origin of the Quran. Some would be unwilling to accept the Truth even after being shown a thousand signs. So what does the Creator, Allah, tell us about our purpose in life? Very simple!

Quran, ,65,73,85; Also ,61,84; and , Allah further states that He made this life in order to test man so that every person may be recompensed after death for what he has earned:. But in order to worship Him, we have to know Him well otherwise we may form a distorted concept of Him and then go astray. In the Quran Allah tells mankind what He is and what He is not. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent. Also, Allah has to tell us how He wants to be worshipped, which He does in the Quran. He also tells us in the Quran that all Prophets came with the same identical message to their people - that is to believe in Allah and to worship Him.

He also tells us in the Quran that all the people of other religions have deviated from the original teachings of their prophets. This is due to two reasons. The first is that earlier scriptures were not preserved simply because of the absence or scarcity of writing paper and so the teachings were transmitted orally and with time became distorted.

The second reason is because the clergy of various religions introduced doctrines that were never there e. Allah provides a test to prove that the Quran is from Him. Allah says:.

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Some of the pieces were brief, but the lives of the major poets were lengthy and detailed, with a biographical section, a short character sketch of the poet, and a critical evaluation of the works. She stimulated his poetic abilities in many different ways. Excerpts from Aristotle's Poetics Ch. But those who believe and do righteous deeds - We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever. It is of unique and inimitable quality.

Then do they not reflect upon the Quran? The Quran is available for scrutiny and investigation by any person to try to find even one error or contradiction in it. In fact this test must be applied to any other scripture that claims it is the word of God. Allah in the Quran stresses the importance for people to think, to reason and to use their mind and intellect. Allah also refers in many chapters in the Quran to the mind by the Arabic word Al-Fuad. Also in many verses in the Quran, Allah uses the term heart in Arabic Al-Qalb in place of the word Al-Fuad mind to mean the same thing.

Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding. And indeed is Allah the Guide of those who have believed to a straight path. On the other hand, the Quran strongly rejects certain mentalities that are driven by myths, illusions, absurdities, ignorance, blind imitation of others, assumption conjecture , prejudice, whims and desires. In fact, Allah in the Quran confirms that most people on earth have gone astray because they follow assumption, conjecture and ignorance.

And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying out of ignorance, conjecture and assumption. All the prophets of God called their people to worship God and to believe in life after death. They laid so much emphasis on the belief in life after death that even a slight doubt in it meant denying God and made all other beliefs meaningless. The very fact that all the prophets of God have dealt with this metaphysical question of life after death so confidently and so uniformly - the gap between their ages in some cases, being thousands of years - goes to prove that the source of their knowledge of life after death as proclaimed by them all, was the same, i.

We also know that these prophets of God were greatly opposed by their people, mainly on the issue of life after death, as their people thought it impossible. But in spite of opposition, the Prophets won many sincere followers. The question arises: what made those followers forsake the established beliefs, traditions and customs of their forefathers, notwithstanding the risk of being totally alienated from their own community?

The simple answer is: they made use of their faculties of mind and heart and realized the truth. Did they realize the truth through perceptual consciousness? God has given Man besides perceptual consciousness, rational, aesthetic and moral consciousness too. It is this consciousness that guides man regarding realities that cannot be verified through sensory data. That is why all the prophets of God while calling people to believe in God and life after death, appeal to the aesthetic, moral and rational consciousness of man.

The Quran very clearly says that the disbelievers have no sound basis for their denial of life after death.

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It is based on pure conjecture:. The explanation that the Quran gives about the necessity of life after death is what the moral consciousness of man demands. Actually, if there is no life after death, the very belief in God becomes meaningless or even if one believes in God, it would be an unjust and indifferent God, having once created man and now not being concerned with his fate. Surely, God is just. He will punish the tyrants, whose crimes are beyond count - having tortured and killed hundreds or thousands of innocent people, created great corruption in society, enslaved numerous persons to serve their whims, etc.

Could the good and the righteous be equated with the wicked and evil? Moral, aesthetic and rational faculties of man reject this logic and endorse the possibility of the life after death. That is the assumption of those who disbelieve, so woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire.

Or should We treat those who believe and do righteous deeds like corrupters in the land? Or should We treat those who fear Allah like the wicked? Evil is that which they judge [i. And Allah created the heavens and earth in truth and so that every soul may be recompensed for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Indeed, the Day of Judgment is the appointed time for them all. The Quran emphatically states that the Day of Judgment must come and that Allah will decide the fate of each soul according to his or her record of deeds:. Those will have forgiveness and noble provision. But those who strive against Our verses [seeking] to cause failure i. God will shower His mercy on those who suffered for His sake in the worldly life, believing that an eternal bliss was awaiting them.

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But those who abused the bounties of God, caring nothing for the life to come, will be in the most miserable state. Drawing a comparison between them, the Quran says:. Then is he whom We have promised a good promise which he will meet [i. The belief in life after death not only guarantees success in the Hereafter but also makes this world full of peace and happiness by making individuals most responsible and dutiful in their activities:. The ideal city is founded on the principle that each man devote himself to a single craft.

In itself, this is not an argument for a ban on purely mimetic storytelling. There are lots of things the Guards must not do which, nevertheless, someone in the ideal city has to do: pottery and painting, for example. Not only must no Guard write plays, but if a professional dramatist turns up at the city gate and asks to present his works, he will be treated as if he were a one-man band at the street corner asking to join the Berlin Philharmonic.

It is not even lawful for such a multiplex personality to grow up within the ideal city, let alone for one to be let in. You may object that a professional dramatist does not really exhibit the multiple-personality disorder Socrates ascribes to him. He only seems to do so. Plato knows this very well; in Book X he will insist on it. Imitation may have consequences. It is not a thing to take up lightly, still less to make a profession of. Some film stars have been said to lack a stable self of their own, to live only in the public appearance of a bundle of different roles.

Not a person who will contribute to the austerely civilized life of Kallipolis. In Book III the decision is political. Euripides is an undesirable character to have around; so are politicians and military men who write plays in their spare time. And beware of politicians like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton who play musical instruments.

Athenian tragedy and comedy were intensely democratic institutions, not only in the way they were organized, but also in their physical presence. During the Great Dionysia, citizens — men plus adolescents — took part in the choral singing and dancing of the various competitions tragedy, comedy, dithyramb. In oligarchic Sparta there were choral festivals, but no theatre. The link between theatre and democracy is not explicit in Book III of the Republic , but elsewhere the connection is loud and clear.

Book VI includes a discussion of what is likely to happen if, in a non-ideal state like Athens, a truly philosophic nature is born, capable of becoming one of the philosopher-rulers of the ideal city. Would the young man escape the corrupting influence of the culture under which he grows up?

The chances are small, says Socrates. Think of the impression made on a really talented soul by the applause and booing of mass gatherings in the Assembly, the courts an Athenian jury was not 12 good men and true, but several hundred and one , theatres and military camps. Is not the young man likely to end up accepting the values of the masses and becoming a character of the same sort as the people he is surrounded by? A democratic culture does not nurture reflective, philosophical understanding.

His vitriolic denunciation of the mass media of his age argues for rejecting democratic control in favor of his own, authoritarian alternative. Even stronger is the claim at the end of Republic VIII that tragedy both encourages and is encouraged by the two lowest types of constitution, democracy and tyranny. Note the interactive model of cultural change. As in a bad marriage, playwright and polity bring out the worst in each other. So what occasions for the performance of poetry will remain in the ideal city, after the dramatists have been turned away at the gate?

Despite a stringent ban on innovation in musical technique, new songs are allowed — provided they are in the same old style. Delphi will be invited to prescribe rules for religious ceremonies founding temples, sacrifices, burials etc , all of which would in the Greek world involve singing hymns and other poetry. Like Heroes of the Soviet Union, the good will be constantly extolled in public — to reward them and hold up models for everyone else.

This list is enough to show that poetry, of the approved sort, will be a pervasive presence in the life of the warrior class. But I have had to compile the list from scattered remarks. No detail is given about how the various ceremonies will proceed. The Homeric Hymn to Hermes , for example, is an engaging narrative, nearly six hundred lines long, with lots of mimesis, about the birth and impudent tricks of the robber god. Adventure stories will often be the order of the day. One occasion for poetry does receive fuller treatment — the symposium. This has not been noticed, partly because Plato expects readers to recognise the familiar setting without being told.

Another reason is that in the past scholars have preferred not to wonder why the discussion of poetry ends by imposing austere limits to homoerotic sex. Drama is not all the Guards are deprived of. Their epic recitals will be very unlike those the ancients were used to. No rhapsodic display, and much less speechifying than in the Iliad and Odyssey. The story will be mostly plain narrative, interrupted by the occasional stretch of mimesis. The mimesis will be largely restricted to auditory and visual likenesses of a good person behaving steadfastly and sensibly. There will be little variation in his voice, and the accompanying music will stick to a single mode and a single rhythm.

Even good people are struck down by disease, fall in love or get drunk, but mimesis of such events is to be very sparing. The other side of the coin is that a villain may do the odd good deed: mimesis of that is admissible, but it is not likely to happen often. The final exception is that poets may imitate bad characters in jest, to scoff at them. Already it seems that the Iliad will have to stop as soon as it has started, but Plato delays until Book X the shocking news that Homer will be banished as well as the dramatists. But remember that Book II implies that a purged tragedy will still be allowed.

Tragedy and comedy are not explicitly banned until Book III. Plato deals out the pain in measured doses, allowing his readers to get used to one shock as preparation for the next. No objections have been raised to mimesis or to poetry in themselves. There will in fact be lots of poetry in the ideal city, some of it mimetic. The shock is, how little is to be mimetic; and how thoroughly edifying it all has to be.

The third stage of the discussion confirms that Plato has no objection to mimesis as such.

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Here Plato deals with the non-vocal side of music: the modes, instruments and rhythms which make the music in our narrower sense of the word. Some Bach might scrape by; certainly not Beethoven, Mahler or Stravinsky. This is where Plato gives examples of the kinds of mimesis to be permitted.

On the contrary, mimesis has a formative educational role to play in the culture. What you imitate regularly is what you become, so from childhood the Guards must imitate appropriate models of courage, temperance and other virtues. These things must become second nature to them.

Love and its Critics

Just as graceful architecture and bodily movement have a gradual, unnoticed influence on the souls of those who grow up in their presence, so, too, do the mimetic likenesses of the poetry Plato allows for the Guards. The passage I shall quote is designed to illustrate the permitted modes of music, but appropriate words are taken for granted. In the songs permitted at social and sacred gatherings, both music and verse will imitate the way persons of good character deal with the ups and downs of fortune; later we will meet the contrasting case of bad mimesis, the way a tragic hero reacts to misfortune.

A mode is an attunement, a way of tuning the instrument to certain intervals, which lends a particular character to the tunes that can be played with it. Leave me that mode which would fittingly imitate the tones and cadences of a brave man engaged unsuccessfully in warfare or any other enforced endeavor, who meets wounds, death or some other disaster but confronts it steadfastly with endurance, warding off the blows of fortune. And leave me another mode for the same man engaged in unforced, voluntary activities of peace: he may be persuading someone of something or entreating them, either praying to a god or teaching and admonishing a human being.

In either case he does what he is minded to do without arrogance, acting throughout and accepting the outcome with temperance and moderation. Just these two modes, the one enforced, the other voluntary, which will best imitate the tones of brave men in bad fortune and of temperate men in good — leave me these. If it was always these two types of song that we heard when we turned on the radio or went out to a social gathering, our culture would be very different.

But not necessarily boring. Nothing stops a poet weaving the permitted types of mimetic display into a gripping third-person narrative, short or long; nothing stops a story including the imitation of more than one good character. We might even be sympathetic to the idea that it would be indecent to give the Nazis any significant speaking parts.

They are unable to react to people or the world around. This treatment brings the patients to life again, but only for a while. The doctor accepts the outcome with temperance and moderation. He did what he could; medical science made a modest advance.

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It is an engaging, sympathetic story. But if you want more action, Plato has nothing against adventure stories.

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Heroism in military and civil life is exactly what this education aims to promote. Austere, yes; an eventoned, calm expressiveness prevails. Growing up in such a culture would be like growing up in the presence of sober people all of brave and temperate character. But the ideal city already ensures, so far as is humanly possible, that the young grow up in the presence of sober people of good and temperate character. Why worry about likenesses, the cultural icons, if kids are already surrounded by the real thing in flesh and blood?

When the influence of human role models is at odds with the cultural icons, there is a risk of change. It is not just that multiplicity and variety are bad in themselves. But the main point is that change from the ideal is change for the worse. To avoid change as long as possible, the entire culture must be in harmony both with the people you meet in life and with those you know from poetry.

That is why the discussion of musical poetry turns next to gracefulness in architecture, clothing, and everything that craftsmen make. A graceful material environment will ensure that the young are always and everywhere in the presence of likenesses of the same good and temperate character as the people whose lives and stories they know.

The entire culture unites in harmonious expression of the best that human beings can be. A musical education which forms a sensibility able to recognize gracefulness, and respond to it as an image of good and temperate character, also lets you recognise, and respond to, other images of good character — images of courage, liberality, high-mindedness. A Guard so educated, and old enough to understand some of the reasons why these are images of goodness, is ready to fall in love. Thanks to his education, the younger male comrade he favors will be one with beauty of character to match the beauty of his physical appearance.

Socrates has now moved from the material environment to the social setting for musical poetry. The symposium is not the only social gathering where musical poetry is performed, but it is the one most relevant to love. But the rule presupposes they will drink wine. No Greek ever equated sobriety with abstinence. After the meal in their Spartan-style common messes, the Guards will drink in convivial moderation.

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We have actual figures for Spartan wine consumption: Sparta was famous for its sobriety, yet their daily ration was well over our driving limit. And the symposium is the main social occasion for dalliance: the couch is wide enough for two. The combination of wine, music and homoerotic love at the symposium was widely used in the Greek world not only in Sparta to forge bonds of loyalty and comradeship among those who fight for the city.

Plato is adapting this institution to the austerely controlled ethic of Kallipolis. Later, when readers have recovered from the shock of being told in Book V that in this city women, too, are to be warriors and rulers, equally with men, they learn that those who distinguish themselves on campaign which would include symposia in camp, on beds of leaves will exchange kisses with everyone else. Indeed, they will have an unrefusable right to kiss anyone they desire, male or female, and will be given more frequent opportunities to take part in the breeding festivals.

The better you are, the more you can breed. Heterosexual desire, like homosexual, is harnessed to the ends of the city. Looking back over the long discussion of musical poetry in Republic II-III, we should be struck by how widely it ranged. Starting with religion, ending with sex, taking in architecture and embroidery by the way, Socrates has broached all the issues that affect the ethos of society. All were woven around the central thread of musical poetry, because this for Plato is the main vehicle of cultural transmission, the main determinant of the good or bad character of the city.

In recent years, we have seen the ethos of British society go through a quite dramatic change as a result of the Thatcher years. The change was not planned in every detail from above.