Soul and Thoughts
Any meaning given to what happens comes from us. We are facing the difficult task of translating natural processes into psychological language. (Jung, 1940, Children’s dreams, seminar 1, p. 2)
Learning to Define the Emanations of the Soul
Plato does not define the soul. He seems to refer to a myth that is known to his readers. The soul can enter and leave the body, which she animates; but she remains distinct from the body. Thereby, Plato does not propose a psychology, as he supposed that everybody assumes that the part of us that feels and thinks is part of the body and not the soul.
With Plato, the relationship between the soul and thoughts is complex. The soul animates the body and the thoughts; but she does not transmit her content to consciousness. Most humans do not consciously know that they have a soul, or they suppose it without really knowing it. On the other hand, the soul can be apprehended by our thoughts in dreams and intuitions that are sort of emanations of the soul. There is no such thing as direct messages from the soul that reformulate themselves into thoughts. In the Idealistic writings of Plato, Socrates becomes a mouthpiece for Plato. His teaching consists in learning how to self-explore to apprehend the shape of the emanations of the soul, so as to reconstruct in consciousness ideas as identical as possible to the ones contained in the soul. This model implies three stages of knowing:
1. Perfect knowledge as contained in the world of Ideas.
2. The soul absorbs a little more of this knowledge every time that she visits the world of Ideas.
3. Conscious processes can acquire, at its own pace, in a more or less elaborate manner, a sketch of what is contained in the soul.
Even though Plato does not broach this problem explicitly, he probably thinks that the soul does not have as many resources as the world of Ideas, and that the mind does not have as many resources as the soul. This implies that no philosopher has the means to formulate what emanates from the world of Ideas. The human faculty to think does not have the tools to really comprehend the Truths of the soul and give them expression. Explicit theories (philosophical, religious, scientific, etc.) are constructed by a consciousness that does not have the capacity to apprehend and express eternal Truths. However, metaphors and fables can at least convey an intuitive sense of these truths.