Did Plato believe that the human body is a prison?

Plato had lots to say about the soul's time before birth...

Plato: Before our Souls fell from the state of BEING into the mundane realm, we saw the universe and understood the laws of destiny.

Every Soul “beheld true Being; this was the condition of her passing into the form of man.”

We witnessed beauty shining in all its brilliance—the beatific spectacle and (divine) vision.

Our Souls were initiated into the holiest of mysteries and enjoyed mystic ecstasy. We were still pure, “in the state of wholeness and unconscious of the evils that awaited us in the future.”

We were not yet “imprisoned in the body,” bound to it “like an oyster in his shell.

The discourses of Plato (circa 424–347 BCE) tell the account of the Soul’s descent from a higher reality.

Plato regarded our Soul as truly divine and far more real than the physical body.

In Plato’s Republic, we are introduced to the Allegory of The Cave.  In it, he describes the plight of a prisoner held captive in a deep cave, trying to make sense of the outside world by the only thing he sees – the dancing shadows on the cave walls.

He finds the imagined “reality” he constructs over time to be so comforting that in the end, he chooses to stay there, even when he’s no longer imprisoned. 

Many believe that Plato’s Cave is an analogy for Earthy life and the larger, incomprehensible reality of the Soul’s journey.  

After all, so many people do not wish to explore beyond the cave walls in this life.  The illusion can be so convincing, and comfortable…

According to Plato, the Soul’s divine transcendent world is foreign and remote from the earthly world perceived with human senses. The Soul preexisted in the world where only eternal forms and Souls exist.


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