Socrates - Plato Phaedo - Systems of the Universe
Type of Spiritual Experience
There is a very long preamble to this extract where Socrates is discussing the error of thinking that attributes the reason he is sitting with his legs crossed in a cell to something to do with his body, without any account being taken of the mind and its influence on the body. The cause of the body acting and the cause of anything is function - spirit.
A description of the experience
it is most absurd to call things of that sort causes. If anyone were to say that I could not have done what I thought proper if I had not bones and sinews and other things that I have, he would be right.
But to say that those things are the cause of my doing what I do, [99b] and that I act with intelligence but not from the choice of what is best, would be an extremely careless way of talking.
Whoever talks in that way is unable to make a distinction and to see that in reality a cause is one thing, and the thing without which the cause could never be a cause is quite another thing.
And so it seems to me that most people, when they give the name of cause to the latter, are groping in the dark, as it were, and are giving it a name that does not belong to it.
And so one man makes the earth stay below the heavens by putting a vortex about it, and another regards the earth as a flat trough supported on a foundation of air; but they do not look for [99c] the power which causes things to be now placed as it is best for them to be placed, nor do they think it has any divine force, but they think they can find a new Atlas more powerful and more immortal and more all-embracing than this, and in truth they give no thought to the good, which must embrace and hold together all things.