|Plato's Thoughts On Bodies
Plato analyzes the makeup of the
bodily world in two metaphors. First is that of the world. The world is made up of the
four elements, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, and that these elements are combined in a
spherical body (the Earth). The Earth also has to have a center, or world-soul, its
principal of life. This soul is prior to the physical elements both in time and value, so
that it is fit to be their dominating and controlling partner. Since no physical creature
can be eternal, all bodies must exist in time, which is described as the moving image of
Also as in the allegory of the cave
identifies the world of bodies as a realm of darkness and illusion. Plato believed that
the body distorts the truth and deceives the soul, distracting it from the acquisition of
knowledge. The souls unfortunate relationship is compared to a prisoner in a prison cell.
Reflection reveals that the soul "is imprisoned in and clinging to the body, and that
it is forced to examine other things through is as through a cage." This picture
helps Plato argue that the best service philosophy can render to human nature is to
liberate the soul from its attachment to its cave-like bodily prison.