Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Garden of Earthly Delights-sculpture VIII

Health of the soul.

... We should think of the most authoritative part of our
soul as a guardian spirit given to each of us by god, living in
the summit of our body, which can properly be said to lift us
from the earth towards our home in heaven, as if we were a
heavenly and not an earthbound plant. For where the soul first
grew into being, from there our divine part attaches us by
the head to heaven, like a plant by its roots, and keeps our 
body upright. If therefore a man's attention and effort have been
centred on appetite and ambition, all his opinions are bound to
have become mortal, and he can hardly fail, in so far as it is
possible, to become entirely mortal, as it is the mortal part that
he has increased. But a man who has given his heart to learning
and true wisdom and exercised that part of himself is surely
bound, if he attains to truth, to have immortal and divine 
thoughts, and cannot fail to participate in immortality as fully
as is possible for human nature; and because he has always
looked after the divine element in himself and kept his guardian
spirit in good order he, above all men, must be happy. There is
of course only one way to look after anything and that is to
give it its proper nourishment and motions. And the motions
that are akin to the divine in us are the thoughts and revolutions 
of the universe. We should each therefore attend to these
motions and by learning thoroughly about the harmonies and
revolutions of the universe repair the damage done to the
circuits in our head in connection with our coming into being,
and so restore our understanding, in accordance with its 
original nature, to its likeness with the object of understanding.
When that is done we shall have achieved the goal set us by 
the gods, the life that is best for this present time and for all time
to come.

(Translated by Desmond Lee)

Sculpture in progress