Understanding of Art

It is true that there are three arts which are concerned with all things: one which uses, another which makes and a third which imitates them thus nothing pleases well than the rule about poetry, with this I refers to rejection of imitative poetry by the State since all poetical imitations are ruinous to the understanding of the hearers, and the knowledge of their true nature is the only antidote to them. I mean things may seem to appear different by people whom may think all knowing but do not reflect the reality they seem just because the makers of the state law were unable to analyse the nature of knowledge, ignorance and imitation thus raising up different ways of  State governance.


And so, when I hear of persons, knowing all the arts and all things human, virtue, vice and divine things too, it appears to me that   a good poet cannot compose well unless he knows his subject and   that without the knowledge can never be a poet thus I consider it not an illusion because they may be imitators who have been deceived without the necessary truth instead of original hence imitation become the ruling principle of life. I imagine if mankind would be educated and improved by those who possess the know how without pursuing selfish ambitions like Homer, that is by possessing knowledge and not imitator ambitions then would have enough education of their own and wisdom would have been established making men better in both private and public life hence better State governance.

Most poetical individuals, like Homer, are only imitators who copy images of virtue and truth they never reach the truth and like a poet who is like a painter, will make a likeness of a something by improving its appearance though he understands nothing about it with his pictures been good enough for those who know no more than he does judging only by colours and figures.

Therefore, these imitators declare that they have been responsible for education, ordering of human things ,that they should take again , that people should get to know them, and

regulating life’s of others according to them, that we love and honour them but I strongly feel that people must remain firm in their conviction that hymns to the gods and praises of famous men are the only poetry which ought to be admitted into our State.

The freedom of existence and understanding of men can only come from within them since the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul and knowledge only by movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn to endure the sight of being, and the brightest and best of being, knowing that one’s virtues bring forth ones qualities, and the virtue of wisdom contains a divine element which always remains, and by this conversion is rendered useful and profitable.

The necessary inference from what has preceded is that neither the uneducated and uninformed of the truth, nor yet those who never make an end of their education, will be able ministers of State; not the former, because they have no single aim of duty which is the rule of all their actions, private as well as public; nor the latter, because they will not act at all except upon compulsion.

Related essays