The Petelia Tablet.Plato and Eric Voegelin and Ellis Sandoz:The Philosophy of Order.or:What Is Political Reality?Source: Elllis Sandoz's book, The Voegelinian Revolution, pages 144-45."The philosophy of order, Voegelin says, is the process in which we as men find the order of existence in the order of consciousness (A, 11)."Plato expressed is own philosophy of consciousness in terms of the symbolism of Recollection."Since Voegelin builds his theory on the foundation supplied by Plato, the meaning of that symbolism is crucial.
"Plato appears to have coined the word anamnesis from mnemosyne (memory or remembrance; mythically, the Mother of the Muses); its meaning is remembering-again, recollection, or reminiscence (cf. Philebus 34A-C; 60A-E).
"The Well of Memory is known from the Orphic tablets, amulets buried with the dead and indispensable sources of knowledge for Orphic eschatology.
"The inscription of the Petelia Tablet reads as follows:
Thou shalt find on the left of the Houuse of Hades, a Well-spring, And by the side thereof standing a white cypress.
To htis Well-spring approach not near.
But thous shalt find another by the Lake of Memory [Mnemosynes], Cold water flowing forth, and there are Guardians before it.
"I am a child of Earth and Starry heaven; But my race is of Heaven (alone).
This ye know yourselves.
And lo, I am parched with thirst and I perish.
Give me quickly
The cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory."
And of themselves they will give thee to drink from the holy Well-spring, And thereafter among the other Heroes thou shalt have lordship....(1)
"The divine origin of man is affrimed; it is nutured, and his heavenly destiny saved, through the blessed water of Remembrance."The nameless and forbidden well of the tablet is connected with the person of Lethe (Forgetfulness) in Hesod (Theogony, 227); and Lethe appears for the first time as a water, a river, at the end of Plato's Republic (621), where she is also called Ameles (Unmindful).
"No less to Plato than to the Orphics and to Hesiod, Lethe is from the first thoroughly bad, identified with the unconsciousness of death and with the living death which is the forgetfulness of that which ought to be remembered -- the amnesia of the soul and society of which Voegelin speaks at the beginning of Order and History.
"It is the ignorance in the soul (agnoia) which nullifies wisdom in the Republic; and it combines with vice to obscure truth, thereby binidng the soul to earth, in the great myth of the Phaedrus (248D)."
Aletheia = Truth in Greek."Truth in Greek (aletheia) connotes an uncovering, unconcealing,or unforgetting; Plato etymologically designates it as an agglomeration of Theia ale (divine wandering) implying the divine motion of existence (Cratylus, 421B; cf. 411A-413C).
"The experience of deja vu or anamnesis is offered as evidence not only of the immortality of the soul and of metempsychosis by Plato, but also as the sign of essential humanity itself and as the equivalent of intuitive or noetic reason (Nous): that mysterous divine something in man, the highest rational faculty or capacity of intellect whereby the transcendental Ideas and undemonstrable First Principles of scientific knowledge are, thorugh participation, grasped and known." (2)
(1) "Quoted from Jane Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (repr. ed.; New York: Meridian Books, Inc., 1955), 573-83, 659-60."
(2) Plato, Phaedo, 73-76; Symposium, 208; Meno, 81-87; Republic, 617; Timaeus, 42, 91; cf. Aristotle, Micomachean Ethics, 1140b31-1141a9;" etc. etc.