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Ccnius of Sohratcs 


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Who the Genii Are 

The Dream of Tiinarchur 

The Cdwre of the Genii 

Englished by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, AM*, Ph.D^D, 

NEW York. 

Theosophical Publishing Co. 


Copyright, 1904, by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie. 

This is the ^2 x^ Copy of a special limited Edition of J 40 
copies, the type of which was set, and the issue printed by 
the Translator, at the Monsalvat Press* 


ND Simmxas said, J' *\ 
think the Genius of So- 
krates was not a vision 
of some kind, but the 
discernment of a Voice, 
which reached him in 
some particular, peculiar 
manner; just as in dreams one imagines 
hearing other people talk, though hear- 
ing no real voice. J^ Nevertheless one re- 
ceives sometimes in dreams a real, dis- 
tinct experience. J' This may take place 
because while one sleeps the body enjoys 
a total stillness and rest, while the condi- 
tion of those who are awake freqently 
precludes them from apprehending the 
motions of the unseen Higher Beings. ^ 
For not only the chaos of the passions, 
but the distractions of very many sorts of 
business stun us so thorougly that we can 
neither hear the warning of the Gods, 
nor, if heard, centre our attention on 
them. ^ But Sokrates, whose pure and 
passion-free reason had only so much in- 
timacy with his body as might have 

Who the Genii Are \\\ from 
J* Plutarch's H'he Genius of Sokrates' J* 

? 40278 

been unavoidable, felt every motion of 
the spirit, and was immediately sensitive 
to every impression, ^ And these impres- 
sions were not derived from a mere sound 
but from the sigfnal, so to speak, of a Ge- 
nius who, without voice, affected his rea- 
son througfh the object itsclt. ^ Fof the 
Voice migfht be compared to a blow g:iv- 
en to the Soul through which she Is for- 
ced by means of the sense of hearing to 
take notice of the usual human speech. *^ 
But the reason of the Higher Being di- 
rects Souls that are fitted for this through 
the mere touch of the objects thought 
of, dispensing entirely with the above- 
mentioned psychic blow. 
^ And the human Soul generally obeys 
these Higher Beings gladly, whether or 
not this advance her own desires. ^ In 
this manner her desires are not antagon- 
ized by contrary passions, permitting her- 
self to be gently and willingly govern- 
ed as by a bridle. This need not seem in- 
credible, when it is considered that a pu- 
ny rudder turns round the greatest ships 
of burden, or that the potte?s disks per- 
mit themselves easily to be turned around 
by the hand. J' Although these instru- 
ments have no soul, nevertheless they are 
so well adapted to turn around that on 

Who the Genii Are [2], from 
j^ Plutarch's *Thc Genius of Sokrates' ^ 

account of theiif smoothness they may be 
set in motion at the very first touchy J^ 
Likewise the human SottI may be directed 
easier than any other instrument because 
she is held tense as with ropes by num- 
berless desires* J' Hence, as scon as any- 
body's mental incidence affects her she 
teccives the impulse to move in the direc- 
tion of the thought* ^ All the passions 
and desires reach far down into the think- 
ing portion of the Soul, so that at the 
very first tremor of the thought, they 
are, as it were, attracted to it, and pro- 
ceed to innervate and draw the outer 

J^ This circumstance gives us an insight 
into the inherent power of thought. *^ 
Bones and nerves have not the slightest 
sensation, not even the moist flesh; and 
the heavy body-mass composed of these 
normally rests inactively quiet. ^ But 
just let the Soul lay hold on a thought, 
and direct her efforts towards it, and lo, 
in a moment this heavy mass is energ- 
ized, makes its tendons tense, and hastens 
to execute the mission as with wings. ^ 
For Just as a motive merely thought, 
without any voice, easily sets the body 
in motion, just in the same manner, me- 
thinks, it is not impossible that a human 

"Who the Genii Are [3], from 
j^ Plutarch's The Genius of Sokrates' J* 

reason might tsc led by a Higcr Reason, 
a human Soul by a Diviner Soul* ^ This 
migfht take place by a sort of external 
touch, illustrated by the manner in which 
answers and questions intermingle in a 
conversation, and by the intermingling 
of light and reflection, n^ For ultimately 
we recognize another's thought by the 
help of his voice, just as if we were grop- 
ing in the dark, ^ But the thought of 
the Genii have a certain splendor, so to 
speak, which of itself streams out upon 
the worthily receptive, without the in- 
termediation of words or symbols such 
symbols as humans are forced to employ 
one to another; which are therefore only 
pictures or silhouettes of the thoughts^ 
These themselves are not generally per- 
ceived clearly, except of course by those 
who possess a certain portion of the Div- 
ine Light. 

j^ The process by which the Voice itself 
reaches tis may also inspire us with con- 
fidence. ^ The Voice is, as it were, con- 
ducted into the soul of the hearer by the 
air that at first is only thrown into vi- 
brations by the single articute sounds, 
and later is transmuted into voice and 
speech. ^ What wonder then that this 
air also, which so easily assumes every 

Who the Genii Are [4], from 
j^ Plutarch's *The Genius of Sokrates* c^ 

form anci shape, should in like manner 
receive the thoughts of Higher Beings, 
and expresses the meaning of the 
thoughts of the Divine Being or Superi- 
or Divine Human Being* ^ The blows 
and knocks of soldiers who are 6\.%%'a:\% 
mines may be noticed easily by the re- 
verberation of the htsizen shields, because 
the sound proceeding upward from the 
depths is able to throw these into vibra- 
tion, although remaining unnoticed in 
any other manner, n^ This is exactly the 
state of affairs with the utterances of the 
Genii. J^ They elicit no response, nor a- 
wake any sympathetic vibration in any 
except those few whose nature is a quiet 
temperament and a passionless mood, 
and whom therefore we call properly Ho- 
ly and Divine Men. 

Jt It is usually supposed that the Genius 
of a man gives his revelation in sleep on- 
ly, and it is usually supposed ridiculous 
and incredible that He should by the 
same process impress those who are in 
their waking condition, in their full nor- 
mal consciousness. J^ Such a supposition 
would find analogy in an artist who 
should play upon a lyre whose strings 
were loose, but who were unable to per- 
form on one strung tense, and attuned* 

"Who the Genii Are [5], from 
3 Plutarch's *The Genius of Sokrates *Jf> 

f2^ Evidently the teal cause of non-recep- 
tion is the unrest, the inharmoniousness 
of the human breast of all of which out 
friend Sokratcs was entirely free, ^ In- 
deed, this had already been prophesied 
of him as a child, in the Oracle received 
by his father* 

^ For the Oracle commanded that the 
father should permit Sokratcs to carry 
out any idea that came into his mind, 
without forcing; him to, or hindering him 
from anything* ^ He was to leave him 
a free rein to his dcskcs, and do for him 
nothing more than to make vows in his 
behalf to Zeus of the Market-places, and 
to the Muse;^ but beyond this to take no 
anxiety whatever about his son, inas- 
much as he possessed already within him- 
self a Path-finder through his life, which 
was better than a thousand teachers* 
*^ **This, O my dear Phidolaos, is the o- 
pinion I have always held about the Ge- 
nius of Sokratcs, both during his life- 
time, and since his decease paying no 
attention whatsoever to those who ac- 
cepted a sneeze, or any such thing as a 
direct revelation from the Gods*^ 

Who the Genii Are [6], from 
J^ Plutarch's The Genius of Sokrates 'J^ 

Jfc II ^ 


ND yet^ continued Son- 
mias, ^as to that which 
I have heard Timarchtis 
of Chetonea relate abotst 
the matter might easily 
be considered a fairy- 

tale, so it may fee better 

to refrain from saying: anything further 
ab3iit it/ 

3* *No, no' cried Theocritus, 'fairy-tales 
sometimes hit the truth, more than a lit- 
tle. But, to begin with, tcll tts who this 
Timarchus was I never heard of the 

3* *No wonder, dear Theocritos,* rejoin- 
ed Simmias, 'lor he died a very young 
man. J^ Before his death he hcggcd So- 
krates to have him buried next to his son 
Lamproklcs, one of his friends and equal- 
a5:ed companions. 

j^ 'This Timarchus was a youth of lofty 
thought who had been but of late initi- 
ated into Philosophy. ^ He longed most 
earnestly to understand the real nature 
of the Genius of Sokrates. 

The Dream of Timarchus, [J] from 
J* Plutarch^s 'The Genius of Sokrates' j* 

f^ *And with this purpose in view, with 
out informing any one but me and Ke- 
bes, he descended into the Cave of Tro- 
phimus, in the Boetian city of Lebadaea, 
after he had carefully observed all the 
ceremonies usual in the Temple of this 
Oracle, j^ He staid in the Cave two 
ntgfhts and a day, J' The greater num- 
ber already considered him lost, and his 
relations already mourned him as dead, 
when, in the morning, he came out hap- 
py and in good spirits. J^ He expressed 
gratitude to the Divinities, and after he 
had torn himself loose from the surround- 
ing crowds, he related to us many mar- 
vels he had seen and heard. 
J' 'After he had climbed down to the O- 
racle, he found himself at first, as he told 
us, in a deep darkness* ^ He addressed 
supplications to the Gods, and for a cert- 
ain period of time lay without being ex- 
actly conscious, whether he was awake 
or dreaming. ^ It seemed to him, how- 
ever, that a sort of blow had struck his 
head, through which the sutures of his 
cranium relaxed, so as to afford egress to 
his Soul. ^ She immediately swung her- 
self upwards, and after having, to her 
great delight, disported herself by com- 
mingling with the circumambient pure 

The Dream of Timarchus [2], from 
J^ Plutarch's HThe Genius of Sokrates' ^ 

piste and tf anspafcnt aif, she seemed to 
refresh herself from the life-long oppres- 
sion to which she had been subjected in 
the body; and then she began to grow 
larger, just as a sail filled by the wind* 
3^ Hereupon he heard, passing over his 
head, a charming rustling sound* Look- 
ing up, he failed to perceive the Earth 
any more, but a multitude of Island?, il- 
luminated by a serenely radiant effulg- 
ence, revolving cyclically in an ocean 
shimmering with variegated tints of ce- 
rulean hlisz, thus producing the Aeolian 
harmony that so delighted Timarchus 
as to make him understand these were 
the Isles of the Blest- 

^ But as he looked beneath himself, he 
SAW a monstrous Abyss, round in form, 
as if it had been cut out by the falling of 
a balL j^ It was horribly deep, and full 
of thick darkness, which whirled around 
restlessly, seemingly endeavoring to over- 
flow the crater. ^ Timarchus was al- 
most terrified by the sounds which pro- 
ceeded thence a thousandfold groanmg 
and howling of living beings, a loud 
moaning of children, a mingled plaint of 
men and women, a chaos of screams, 
which rose up in a horrible roar from the 
very entrails of the Abyss* 

The Dream of Timarchus [3], from 
j^ Plutarch^s *The Genius of Sokrates* J^ 

j Aftcf some time, without seeing any- 
body, Timarchus heard the words *Tim- 
archus, what desirest thoo to know?' 
^Everything r rejoined he qtiickly. *Bt 
first, what is that mass of Stars which 
are flitting arotind the Abyss, some dip- 
ping into itf others rising out of it acfain?' 
*Then yoti do not know,' said the Invis- 
ible, ^that yoti are beholding the Genii? 
Let me explain to yoa the condition of 

J* *Every Soul, as such, is partaker of 
the Divine Reason; and there is not one 
of them entirely devoid of Reason or 
Thought. J* Only that part of a Soul 
which mingles itself with the flesh and 
the passions suffers a transformation, and 
degenerates through appetites or suffer- 
ing into stupidity. ^ Nevertheless, not 
every Soul mingles itself in the same 
manner. *!^ Some of them sink into the 
body in their totality, and through pas- 
sion are entirely corrupted and destroyed 
dut'iiig life. ^ Others mingle themselves 
only partially, and their purest part re- 
mains outside the body, and will in no 
wise permit itself to be drawn down into 
the flesh. ^ It swims on the surface of 
the Man, so to speak, touching only his 
head, acting like an upper anchor for the 

The Dream of Timarchus [4], from 
j Plutarch's *Thc Genius of Sokrates' > 

portion sunfc m the body, and which can 
act as a platform on which the Soul may 
from time to time refresh herself, in the 
measure that she is docile, and does rot 
permit herself to be quite overwhelmed 
by the passions* J' That part which is 
sunk in the body is usually called *SouI% 
and that part which remains free from 
danger, the greater part of men call 
'Reason', and imagine it inheres in them, 
just as if the objects reflected in a mirror 
inhered in it. ^ But the Wise believe it 
h located outside the man, and call it his 

^ *Now, as to the Stars you sec, you 
must know that those that seem to grow 
dim are souls which are just now sinking 
themselves entirely into the body; those 
which are growing brighter again, and 
shine from above, just as if they were 
swinging themselves up from the depths, 
and are shaking off from themselves a 
sort of dark mist like dust, are such souls 
as are, after death, swimming back out 
of their bodies. Finally, those which are 
hovering on high, are Genii of wise and 
discerning humans. 

^ *Make an effort, and see whether you 
can become conscious of the tie by which 
each of them \s, united to its Soul.' 

The Dream of Timarchus [5], from 
J' Plutarch's 'The Genius of Sokratcs' j* 

^ TxmarchttS, payiitgf closer attention, 
noticed that the Stars swayed, some more 
some less, just as one sees corks swaying 
on the water-surface, serving as indicat- 
ors of the nets beneath* ^ Some, indeed, 
swayed as much as shuttles do, and could 
not make any motion in a straight line 
on account of the unequal, self-confused 
burden they upheld^ J* The Voice in- 
structed Timarchus on this point : 
J* 'Those whose motion is straight and 
orderly have docile souls, with whom the 
sub-rational part has, through nourish- 
ment and education, been prevented from 
becoming hard and rough* j* But those 
which flit up and down in a disorderly 
fashion, behaving as if \\s%%z6^ by a rope 
are those who have to do with a contra- 
ry and poorly-reared nature* jf' At one 
time They win the victory, taming the 
Souls by enforcement on them of higher 
leadings; but soon, sucked back by the 
old habit of sinning, the Souls are once 
more contrary* ^ For whenever the Qz- 
nius pulls the cord with which the ani- 
mal part of the Soul is, as it were, har- 
nessed, this effects what v& known as the 
Repentance of Sins, and Sincere Shame 
concerning the lusts, ^z;^ixcst and motions 
of the flesh* 

The Dream of Timarchus [6], from 
^ Plutarch's *The Genius of Sokrates' J* 

^ These are the chastisements fcy which 
the nobler part holds the Soul in check, 
as with a bridle, until by repeated pun- 
ishments, like a tamed animal, she final- 
ly becomes so meek as to be obedient to 
each nod and signal of her Genius with- 
out blows or suffering* But such Souls are 
brought back to their duty very slowly 
and very lat^ but those which prove do- 
cile to their Genius from birth constitute 
that class of men known as Soothsayers, 
whose prayers the Gods respect. 
3* Of such a kind was the soul of Her- 
modorus the Klazomenian, which aban- 
doned the body at will, both by day and 
night, wandering anywhere, and return- 
ing after having seen and heard all sorts 
of things, at all distances. ^ This she did 
continually until, through treachery of 
his own wife, his enemies seized his soul- 
forsaken body, and burned it together 
with his house* ^ But this is not quite 
accurate: the Soul never entirely aban- 
doned his body; but at times yielding to 
the Genius, loosened and lengthened the 
connecting bond, so that she was enabled 
to travel around the world in such a 
manner as to report all she had seen and 
heard outside* ^ They however, who, 
during sleep, destroyed his body, are yet 

The Dream of Timarchus [7], from 
J^ Plutarch's The Genius of Sokrates' j^ 

being punished therefor in Taftaftis ^ 
J' *Yoa will understand all this far more 
dearly in three months, O youths 
J' 'Now you may return/ 
J' **As the Voice ceased, Timarchus in- 
tended to turn around, to see Who had 
been conversing with him; but he sud- 
denly felt a racking pain in the head, as 
if it were being pressed together violent- 
ly, and now he no longer saw or heard 
aught of what was transpiring around 
him* Shortly, however, he came to him- 
self, lying near the entrance of the Cave 
of Trophonius, just where he had first 
lain down* 

^ **This is the Dream of Timarchus. ^ 
He returned to Athens, and 6^1^ three 
months later, as the Voice had prophesied; 
but when we, marvelling, recounted this 
Dream to Sokrates, he chode with us 
that we had told him nothing of it du- 
ring the life-time of Timarchus, from 
he would have liked to get the details 
more exactly.'' 

^ Hereupon Theanor said, '^t seems to 
me that this Story of Timarchus should 
be considered sacred, and be preserved 
unahered as dedicated to the Divinities; 
and I should be much astonished if any- 
body should doubt what we have heard.'* 

The Dream of Timarchus [8], from 
o* Plutarch's *The Genius of Sokrates' Jf* 

^ m j 


W it is not lincommon 
to speak of the divinity 
of Nature, and of swans 
and serpents, and dog^s, 
and horses; why should 
wc then hesitate to assert 

that Man is divine, and 

may become a favourite of the Divinities, 
the more especially as it is granted that 
the Divinity is the Father of all ? 
J* A horse-fancier does not, merely on 
accotmt of his being siich, extend his care 
to all specimens of the genus Horse indis- 
criminately; he selects the best one obtai- 
nable, separates it from the rest, tends it, 
cherishes it^ and loves it particularly* 
^ Just so do the Higher Beings deal with 
Us: They impress their Mark only on 
the Best, whom They separate from the 
common herd, endow with peculiar and 
more excellent training, and govern them 
not indeed with bit and bridle, but by 
their reason, through certain signs, of 
which the common herd does not even 
have the faintest conception. 

The Care of the Genii [t\ from 
j^ Plutarch's 'The Genius of Sokrates' J* 

3* Not all dogs know the signals of the 
hunters; nor indeed all horses know the 
signals of the riders ; only they who have 
b^n properly trained comprehend the 
task at the first whistle or chirrtip, and 
gladly carry it out. ^ Even Homer seems 
to be acquainted with this difference be- 
tween men* J* Some of the soothsayers 
he calls augurs, othe^ priests; and of some 
he thinks that they converse with the 
Gods, and prophesy future events; so, 
^ ^Yet the decision reached by the Gods 
^ ^1n council, was perceived in the spirit 
^ ^'By Helenos, Priam's son*** 
Also, ''For I have heard 
^ **The Voices of the immortal Gods*** 
Kings and generals publish their orders 
by beacons, by the public crier, or by the 
sound of trumpets; but to their intimates 
and friends they announce decisions per- 
sonally by word of mouth* 
J^ Just so the Divinity converses peraoa- 
ally only with a very few, and that ra- 
rely; but He announces decisions to the 
crowds by signs and omens, wherefrom 
has arisen the whole art of augury* ^ So 
there are never but a very few at any 
time whom the Divinities single out by 
such favours, and whom it is Their pur- 
pose to make blessed and really divine* 

The Gire of the Genii [2], from 
^ Plutarch's *The Qzmxxs, of Sokrates' J* 

3> But those soals which have freed 
themselves from generation, who have 
no further commerce with the body, and 
now enjoy unbounded freedom, these 
now become Genii, who, as Hesiod says, 
care for the weal of Humanity* 
^ Like Athletes, who even when forced 
by age to discontinue training, do not 
necessarily cease struggling for fame and 
bodily perfection, but rather enjoy the 
spectacle of others exercising, encourag- 
ing them, and persistently standing by 
their side just like these athletes is it 
with those Souls who, after liberation 
from the battles of this life, have been, 
on account of their former virtues, or ra- 
ther by them, promoted to the condition 
and dignity of Genii* j^ Because of this 
their promotion. They do not necessarily 
scorn or ignore the conversations, circum- 
stances and efforts of men; rather. They 
show kindliness to all who are strugg- 
ling after the same end, support them in 
their zeal for virtue, and spur them on 
the more continually by encouragements 
the closer they seem to be to the goal of 
their hopes, or indeed, behold them alrea- 
dy nearly touching it* 

The Gire of the Genii [3], from 
jfc Plutarch's *The Genius of Sokrates' J^ 

3* Fof the Genii do h6tf JncJisctiminately, 
accept the charge of anybody* J^ When 
persons are swimming in the ocean, far 
from the land, and are battling with the 
waves, by-standers on the shore can do 
no more than look on silently; but those 
who are near the shore can be met in the 
water by persons running through the 
surf, to help them with hand and voice, 
and restore them to life, ^ My friend, the 
Genii do likewise, J^ "When they see us 
dive into the floods of business, seizing 
hold of one thing after another as a hope 
of salvation, they leave us fight it out a- 
lone, that we may learn endurance, and 
may through our own vim reach port. 
^ When however a soul through many 
births has endured willingly and success- 
Eully heavy battles, and when, at the end 
of her course this soul courageously de- 
Eies danger, and even in the face of de- 
feat struggles, with extreme exertions, to 
climb upwards, then the Divinity does 
not dislike to see that the soul's Genius 
helps her, so the Genius's good offices are 
given full freedom, ^ Each Genius has 
his own soul, which he tries to save by 
encouragements, .^ She, being near him, 
and hearing him is saved; but she who 
does not, is abandoned to misfortune* 

The Care of the Genii [4], from 
j^ Plutarch's *The Genius of Sokrates' J^ 

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