- Contemplation (θεωρία), then, is the activity of the mind when it intelligizes the intelligibles, but practice (πράξις) is the activity of the rational soul which happens through the body. The soul which contemplates the divine and the thoughts of the divine is said to be in a good state (εὐπαθεῖν), and this state of the soul is called ‘wisdom’ (φρόνησις), and this, one may say, is none other than assimilation to the divine. – Alcinous, Didask. 2.2 (= Whittaker 153.2–9; Eng. trans. follows Dillon, Alcinous, p. 4)
|Roman copy (1st cent. AD) of a Hellenistic original (200 BC)|
Head of Chrysippus, 2nd successor of the Stoa
Photo taken by Max Lee © 2010 British Museum
- a particular group (philosophical, political or religious) owns the terminology or language like the Stoics did for the terms εὐπάθειαι / εὐπάθος
- a rival group uses the same language in a literary context that evokes the discourse of their competing interlocutors (in this case, what is the τέλος or end/goal of life? what is human flourishing?)
- the rival group offers an alternative solution or thesis in contradistinction to the solution offered by the other group (Alcinous posits theoria as the key to human flourishing not the good emotions of the Stoics)
- often times there is a double entendre or word play: “the good state” (εὐπαθεῖν) of a human being is not the Stoic good emotions (εὐπάθειαι) and extirpation of the passions but the Platonic mind’s assimilation to the divine.