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Philosophical perspective on Atlantis

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posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 07:51 PM
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I've been reading the several threads on Atlantis, and didn't really want to derail any of the discussions there.

As many have noted, the philosopher Plato is the source for this story. Specifically, his story falls into the his later period dialogues. At this time in his life his political experiment with the philosopher-king in Syracuse had failed. You can imagine an older man coming to terms with his failure.

Plato, in the context of the dialogues, uses Atlantis as a political allegory. He wanted to offer a critique of the current Athenian government, (and perhaps his own political views) but did not want to incur the wrath of any authorities at his time. So, he sets the story in a distant past in order to write about a political story that would not have been unknown to other thinkers of his time.

His story of Atlantis is a bit like the movie M*A*S*H*. This film was set during the Korean War, but it was made in the early 1970's, if I'm not mistaken. The context of it's release, and the anger toward the Vietnam war at the time, most certainly make it a critique and satire about Vietnam, and not Korea. Setting it in Korea allows Altman, the director, to consider the Vietnam war in a manner that would not draw immediate criticism. (Although I'm sure his movie was considered only a thinly veiled critique at the time.)

Anyway, I didn't want to detract from any of the other speculations that have been put forth about Atlantis, just wanted to lay out what a philosopher thinks of his story.




posted on Aug, 21 2006 @ 03:30 PM
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Pretty good points. Atlantis could very well be a sort of parable. Plato seems to have heard the story from other people, though, who might have heard it from elsewhere.

I do not discount the possibility that a real Atlantis exists, and that it might be found.



posted on Aug, 22 2006 @ 06:03 AM
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and what was the morale of this parable supposed to be ?
Herodotus wasn't a philosopher and he mentions it as well
before plato was born



posted on Aug, 22 2006 @ 05:16 PM
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Originally posted by Marduk
and what was the morale of this parable supposed to be ?
Herodotus wasn't a philosopher and he mentions it as well
before plato was born

Herodotus only mentions people he calls "Atlanteans" because they lived at the feet of a mountain he called Mount Atlas.

The last time I read it, it seemed to me that he was talking about somewhere in Northern Africa, west of Egypt as I recall.

Not exactly the same setting.

BTW, the "Herodotus connection" was discussed in another thread here. The quote is there, I didn't save it. But I did look it up at the time. The same passages from Herodotus describe some pretty weird things, cattle that only walk backwards come to mind. There were other things like that as well.

Harte



posted on Aug, 22 2006 @ 07:32 PM
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Originally posted by Marduk
and what was the morale of this parable supposed to be ?
Herodotus wasn't a philosopher and he mentions it as well
before plato was born


I was just offering another alternative to the Atlantis story, not the gospel truth by any means. The Atlantis story could be viewed as more of an allegory, and less as a parable. I mentioned MASH as one example, perhaps another would be Dante's Divine Comedy, where the story represents more than just the author's view on heaven and hell, but also contains some pretty biting commentary on the papacy and royalty of his time.

Plato was certainly suspicious of the oligarchic-democracy of his time, from my reading of him. He thought the wise should rule, the philosophers, not the elite of a society. (Although, better the elite than the hoi polloi I imagine.) The Atlantis story could be read as a way of showing the destructiveness of that oligarchic structure for rule of a people. There are probably a lot of other interpretations as well.

I'm not familar with the text of Herodotus that may mention Atlantis. I certainly haven't read everything classic Greece wrote. Can you point me to his text? Is it in his Histories?

[edit on 8/22/2006 by Toromos]



posted on Aug, 22 2006 @ 09:37 PM
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I was just offering another alternative to the Atlantis story

the only alternative i can think of is the biblical flood story
men are wicked so a god with a beard and sandals drowns them in a flood
gets even more spooky when you consider that in the original flood story it was Enlil who did the waterworks and Enlils symbol was a trident
what was Plato saying by taking the role of flood destroyer from Zeus (deucalion) and giving it to Poseidon eh
www.atlantisquest.com...
heres the herodotus stuff
i like Herodotus he has two titles the first is the "father of history" because its claimed he went round the known world asking about bygone days and writing it down word for word
the other is thje "father of lies" because he was a historical redactionist who wrote it all down from travellers tales while he was in egypt
the example where he uses Atlantis in this because in his era the current belief was that the pillars of heracles were at gibraltar
and the pillars are linked inextricably with the 11th task of Heracles which is the actual event that changed their name from the pillars of heaven which Atlas held up
but it was the Phoenecians who claimed that Gibraltar was the spot


en.wikipedia.org...


Near Gades/Gadeira (modern Cádiz, just beyond the strait) was the westernmost temple of Tyrian Heracles (Melqart), near the eastern shore of the island (Strabo 3.5.2–3). Strabo notes (3.5.5–6) that the two bronze pillars within the temple, each 8 cubits high, were widely proclaimed to be the true Pillars of Heracles by many who had visited the place and had sacrificed to Heracles there. But Strabo believes the account to be fraudulent, in part noting that the inscriptions on those pillars mentioned nothing about Heracles, speaking only of the expenses incurred by the Phoenicians in their making. The columns of the Melqart temple at Tyre were also of religious significance.

Strabo now there was a proper Historian en.wikipedia.org...

[edit on 22-8-2006 by Marduk]



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