To illustrate the relation in which Plato stood towards his own times, we have already had occasion to draw largely on the productions of his maturer manhood. We have now to take up the broken thread of our systematic exposition, and to trace the development of his philosophy through that wonderful series of compositions which entitle him to rank among the greatest writers, the most comprehensive thinkers, and the purest religious teachers of all ages. In the presence of such glory a mere divergence of opinion must not be permitted to influence our judgment. High above all particular truths stands the principle that truth itself exists, and it was for this that Plato fought. If there were others more completely emancipated from superstition, none so persistently appealed to the logic before which superstition must ultimately vanish. If his schemes for the reconstruction of society ignore many obvious facts, they assert with unrivalled force the necessary supremacy of public welfare over private pleasure; and their avowed utilitarianism offers a common ground to the rival reformers who will have nothing to do with the mysticism of their metaphysical foundation. Those, again, who hold, like the youthful Plato himself, that the203 ultimate interpretation of existence belongs to a science transcending human reason, will here find the doctrines of their religion anticipated as in a dream. And even those who, standing aloof both from theology and philosophy, live, as they imagine, for beauty alone, will observe with interest how the spirit of Greek art survived in the denunciation of its idolatry, and ‘the light that never was on sea or land,’ after fading away from the lower levels of Athenian fancy, came once more to suffuse the frozen steeps of dialectic with its latest and divinest rays.Here, then, we find, chiefly among the rustic population, a religion intimately associated with morality, and including the doctrine of retribution after death. But this simple faith, though well adapted to the few wants of its original votaries, could not be raised to the utmost expansion and purity of which it was susceptible without being brought into vivifying contact with that other Olympian religion which, as we have seen, belonged more peculiarly to the ruling aristocracy. The poor may be more moral than the rich, and the country than the town; nevertheless it is from dwellers in cities, and from the higher classes, including as they do a large percentage of educated, open-minded individuals, that the impulses to moral progress always proceed. If the narrowness and hardness of primitive social arrangements were overcome; if justice was disengaged from the ties of blood-relationship, and tempered with consideration for inevitable error; if deadly feuds were terminated by a habitual appeal to arbitration; if the worship of one supreme ideal was substituted for a blind sympathy with the ebb and flow of life on earth; if the numerical strength of states was increased by giving shelter to fugitives; if a Hellenic nation was created and held together by a common literature and a common civilisation, by oracles accessible to all, and by periodical games in which every free-born Greek could take part; and, lastly, if a brighter abode than the slumberous garden of Persephonê was assigned after death to the godlike heroes who had come forth from a thrice repeated ordeal with souls unstained by sin;55—all this was due to the military rather than to the industrial classes, to the spirit that breathes through Homer69 rather than to the tamer inspiration of Hesiod’s muse. But if justice was raised to an Olympian throne; if righteous providence, no less than creative power, became an inalienable attribute of Zeus; if lyric poetry, from Archilochus to Simonides and Pindar, is one long hymn of prayer and praise ever turned upward in adoring love to the Divine; we must remember that Themis was a synonyme for Earth, and that Prometheus, the original friend of humanity, for whose benefit he invented every useful art, augury included, was her son. The seeds of immortal hope were first planted in the fructifying bosom of Dêmêtêr, and life, a forsaken Ariadnê, took refuge in the mystical embraces of Dionysus from the memory of a promise that had allured her to betray. Thus, we may conjecture that between hall and farm-house, between the Olympian and the Chthonian religions, there was a constant reaction going on, during which ethical ideas were continually expanding, and extricating themselves from the superstitious elements associated with their earliest theological expression.
The experience of Hobbes differs both in origin and application from either of these. With him, sensible impressions are not a court of appeal against traditional judgments, nor yet are they the ultimate elements into which all ideas may be analysed; they are the channels through which pulsating movements are conveyed into the mind; and these movements, again, represent the action of mechanical forces or the will of a paramount authority. And he holds this doctrine, partly as a logical consequence of his materialism, partly as a safeguard against the theological pretensions which, in his opinion, are a constant threat to social order. The authority of the political sovereign is menaced on the one hand by Papal infallibility, and on the other by rebellious subjects putting forward a claim to supernatural inspiration. To the Pope, Hobbes says: ‘You are violating the law of Nature by professing to derive from God what is really given only by the consent of men, and can only be given by them to their temporal head,—the right to impose a particular religion.‘ To the Puritan, he says: ‘Your inward illumination is a superstitious dream, and you have no right to use it as a pretext for breaking the king’s peace. Religion has really nothing to do with the supernatural; it is only a particular way of inculcating obedience to the natural conditions of social union.’
129It was not, however, by its legendary beliefs that the living power of ancient religion was displayed, but by the study and practice of divination. This was to the Greeks and Romans what priestly direction is to a Catholic, or the interpretation of Scripture texts to a Protestant believer. And the Stoics, in their anxiety to uphold religion as a bulwark of morality, went entirely along with the popular superstition; while at the same time they endeavoured to reconcile it with the universality of natural law by the same clumsily rationalistic methods that have found favour with some modern scientific defenders of the miraculous. The signs by which we are enabled to predict an event entered, they said, equally with the event itself, into the order of Nature, being either connected with it by direct causation, as is the configuration of the heavenly bodies at a man’s birth with his after fortunes, or determined from the beginning of the world to precede it according to an invariable rule, as with the indications derived from inspecting the entrails of sacrificial victims. And when sceptics asked of what use was15 the premonitory sign when everything was predestined, they replied that our behaviour in view of the warning was predestined as well.36
Such was the celebrated scheme by which Plato proposed to regenerate mankind. We have already taken occasion to show how it was connected with his ethical and dialectical philosophy. We have now to consider in what relation it stands to the political experience of his own and other times, as well as to the revolutionary proposals of other speculative reformers.
We have now to see how, granting Epicurus his conception of painlessness as the supreme good, he proceeds to evolve from it a whole ethical, theological, and physical system. For reasons already mentioned, the ethical development must be studied first. We shall therefore begin with an analysis of the particular virtues. Temperance, as the great self-regarding duty, obviously takes precedence of the others. In dealing with this branch of his subject, there was nothing to prevent Epicurus from profiting by the labours of his predecessors, and more especially of the naturalistic school from Prodicus down. So far as moderation is concerned, there need be little difference between a theory of conduct based exclusively on the interests of the individual, and a theory which regards him chiefly as a portion of some larger whole. Accordingly, we find that our philosopher, in his praises of frugality, closely approximated to the Cynic and Stoic standards—so much so, indeed, that his expressions on the subject are repeatedly quoted by Seneca as the best that could be found. Perhaps the Roman moralist valued them less for their own sake than as being, to some extent, the admissions of an opponent. But, in truth, he was only reclaiming what the principles of his own sect had originally inspired. To be content with the barest necessaries was a part of that Nature-worship against which Greek humanism, with its hedonistic and idealistic offshoots, had begun by vigorously protesting. Hence many passages in Lucretius express exactly the same sentiments as those which are most characteristic of Latin literature at a time when it is completely dominated by Stoic influences.
Moving about in worlds not realised;
Whether Spinoza ever read Plato is doubtful. One hardly sees why he should have neglected a writer whose works were easily accessible, and at that time very popular with thinking minds. But whether he was acquainted with the Dialogues at first hand or not, Plato will help us to understand Spinoza, for it was through the door of geometry that he entered philosophy, and under the guidance of one who was saturated with the Platonic spirit; so far as Christianity influenced him, it was through elements derived from Plato; and his metaphysical method was one which, more than any other, would have been welcomed with delight by the author of the Meno and the Republic, as an attempt to realise his own dialectical ideal. For Spinozism is, on the face of it, an application of geometrical reasoning to philosophy, and especially to ethics. It is also an attempt to prove transcendentally what geometricians only assume—the necessity of space. Now, Plato looked on geometrical demonstration as the great type of certainty, the scientific completion of what Socrates had begun by his interrogative method, the one means of carrying irrefragable conviction into every department of knowledge, and more particularly into the study of our highest good. On the other hand, he saw that geometricians assume what itself requires to be demonstrated; and he confidently expected that the deficiency would be supplied by his own projected method of transcendent dialectics. Such at least seems to be the drift of the following passage:
Mendicant prophets go to rich men’s doors and persuade them that they have a power committed to them of making atonement for their sins or those of their fathers by sacrifices or charms.... And they produce a host of books ... according to which they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour,155 and are equally at79 the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.156Institute of Plasma Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (ASIPP, HFIPS) undertakes the procurement package of superconducting conductors, correction coil, superconducting feeder, power supply and diagnosis, accounting for nearly 80% of China's ITER procurement package.
"I am so proud of our team and it’s a great pleasure for me working here," said BAO Liman, an engineer from ASIPP, HFIPS, who was invited to sit near Chinese National flay on the podium at the kick-off ceremony to represent Chinese team. BAO, with some 30 ASIPP engineers, has been working in ITER Tokamak department for more than ten years. Due to the suspended international traveling by COVID-19, most of the Chinese people who are engaged in ITER construction celebrated this important moment at home through live broadcasting.
One of ASIPP’s undertakes, the number 6 poloidal field superconducting coil (or PF6 coil) , the heaviest superconducting coil in the world, was completed last year, and arrived at ITER site this June. PF6 timely manufacturing and delivery made a solid foundation for ITER sub-assembly, it will be installed at the bottom of the ITER cryostat.
Last year, a China-France Consortium in which ASIPP takes a part has won the bid of the first ITER Tokamak Assembly task, TAC-1, a core and important part of the ITER Tokamak assembly.
Exactly as Bernard BIGOT, Director-General of ITER Organization, commented at a press conference after the ceremony, Chinese team was highly regarded for what they have done to ITER project with excellent completion of procurement package.
The kick-off ceremony for ITER assembly (Image by Pierre Genevier-Tarel-ITER Organization)
the number 6 poloidal field superconducting coil (Image by ASIPP, HFIPS)
ITER-TAC1 Contract Signing Ceremony (Image by ASIPP, HFIPS)
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