Plato - Theaetetus - Birds in an aviary, the metaphor of mind
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Theaetetus – Plato
A man may possess a garment which he does not wear; or he may have wild birds in an aviary; these in one sense he possesses, and in another he has none of them. Let this aviary be an image of the mind, as the waxen block was; when we are young, the aviary is empty; after a time the birds are put in; for under this figure we may describe different forms of knowledge;--there are some of them in groups, and some single, which are flying about everywhere; and let us suppose a hunt after the science of odd and even, or some other science. The possession of the birds is clearly not the same as the having them in the hand. And the original chase of them is not the same as taking them in the hand when they are already caged.
This distinction between use and possession saves us from the absurdity of supposing that we do not know what we know, because we may know in one sense, i.e. possess, what we do not know in another, i.e. use.
The source of the experiencePlato
Concepts, symbols and science items
Memory and perceptions
Perceptions - accessing perceptions
Perceptions and memory