Mystical theology, or perhaps better, a doctrine of contemplation, is not simply an element in Plato’s philosophy, but something that penetrates and informs his whole understanding of the world. Plato sees the world in which we live — a world of change and conjecture and opinion — as a world in which knowledge is impossible. Knowledge must be certain, and the object of knowledge must be immutable, eternal, and nothing in this world satisfies those requirements. The recovery of true knowledge of Truth and Beauty, of what alone is Real, is the object of philosophy. Such knowledge in its perfection is impossible in this life, so philosophy is a preparation for dying and being dead.
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