The Eternal Ideas

Now Plato says: "The things of this world, perceived by our senses, have no true being at all; they are always becoming, but they never are.

They have only a relative being; they are together only in and through their relation to one another; hence their whole existence can just as well be called a non-being. Consequently, they are likewise not objects of a real knowledge, for there can be such a knowledge only of what exists in and for itself, and always in the same way. On the contrary, they are only the object of an opinion or way of thinking, brought about by sensation.

As long as we are confined to their perception, we are like persons sitting in a dark cave, and bound so fast that they cannot even turn their heads. They see nothing but the shadowy outlines of actual things that are led between them and a fire which burns behind them; and by the light of this fire these shadows appear on the wall in front of them. Even of themselves and of one another they see only the shadows on this wall. Their wisdom would consist in predicting the sequence of those shadows learned from experience.

On the other hand, only the real archetype of those shadowy outlines, the eternal Ideas, the original forms of all things, can be described as truly existing, since they always are but never become and never pass away. No plurality belongs to them; for each by its nature is only one, since it is the archetype itself, of which all the particular, transitory things of the same kind and name are copies and shadows.

Also no coming into existence and no passing away belong to them, for they are truly being or existing, but are never becoming or vanishing like their fleeting copies.

Thus only of them can there be a knowledge in the proper sense, for the object of such a knowledge can be only that which always and in every respect (and hence in-itself) is, not that which is and then again is not, according as we look at it." This is Plato's teaching.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.171

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When clouds move, the figures they form are not essential, but indifferent to them. But that as elastic vapour they are pressed together, driven off, spread out, and torn apart by the force of the wind, this is their nature, this is the essence of the forces that are objectified in them, this is the Idea. The figures in each case are only for the individual observer.

To the brook which rolls downwards over the stones, the eddies, waves, and foam-forms exhibited by it are indifferent and inessential; but that it follows gravity, and behaves as an inelastic, perfectly mobile, formless, and transparent fluid, this is its essential nature, this, if known through perception, is the Idea. Those foam-forms exist only for us so long as we know as individuals.

[...] only the essential in all these grades of the will's objectification constitutes the Idea; on the other hand, its unfolding or development, because drawn apart in the forms of the principle of sufficient reason into a multiplicity of many-sided phenomena, is inessential to the Idea; it lies merely in the individual's mode of cognition, and has reality only for that individual.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.182

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Whilst science, following the restless and unstable stream of the fourfold forms of reason or grounds and consequences, is with every end it attains again and again directed farther, and can never find an ultimate goal or complete satisfaction, any more than by running we can reach the point where the clouds touch the horizon; art, on the contrary, is everywhere at its goal.

For it plucks the object of its contemplation from the stream of the world's course, and holds it isolated before it. This particular thing, which in that stream was an infinitesimal part, becomes for art a representative of the whole, an equivalent of the infinitely many in space and time.

It therefore pauses at this particular thing; it stops the wheel of time; for it the relations vanish; its object is only the essential, the Idea.

We can therefore define it accurately as the way of considering things independently of the principle of sufficient reason, in contrast to the way of considering them which proceeds in exact accordance with this principle, and is the way of science and experience.

This latter method of consideration can be compared to an endless line running horizontally, and the former to a vertical line cutting the horizontal at any point.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, p.185

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"Love and Hate" are generally regarded as being things diametrically opposed to each other; entirely different; unreconcilable. But we apply the Principle of Polarity; we find that there is no such thing as Absolute Love or Absolute hate, as distinguished from each other. The two are merely terms applied to the two poles of the same thing.

Beginning at any point of the scale we find "more love," or "less hate," as we ascend the scale; and "more hate" or "less love" as we descend — this being true no matter from what point, high or low, we may start. There are degrees of Love and hate, and there is a middle point where "Like and Dislike" become so faint that it is difficult to distinguish between them. Courage and Fear come under the same rule.

The Kybalion, Chapter X: "Polarity"

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