In his passage, Murray uses several examples to characterize a permanent life. He calls it “the main web of life,” which are simply the things that cannot be changed and are constant to everyone. To explain the ‘main web of life’ or permanent life, Murray illustrates its’ contrast, which is progressive life. According to Murray, progressive life changes with situations over time; can be superseded by other achievements. For instance, achievement can always be replaced by another achievement thus, showing progress in life. Nonetheless, Murray further explains the concept of permanent life by giving examples. Firstly, Murray provides an example of joy and grief as part of “the main web of life” despite the difference in time.
In the passage, Murray states, “The joy of an Egyptian child of the First Dynasty in a clay doll was every bit as keen as the joy of a child now in a number of vastly better dolls. Her grief was as great when it was taken away.” (Murray, n.d) This shows that despite the two children being from different times and the appearance of the dolls, the joy the two children experienced was similar, meaning that joy is a permanent aspect of life. It is the same despite different circumstances. The child’s joy with a much better doll does not necessarily mean more than that with a clay doll. Similarly, Murray further explains the aspect of joy by stating that the joy and grief of an artist in his art are similar to that of a strong man winning his fight. Another example Murray uses to elaborate on the permanent life is facing death. As we know it, every human being has to face death at some point in their lives; that is how things are, and nothing can supersede that.
Rose and Sophie are twin sisters. When they came of age, both got married and moved to their own homes because it was their dream to have their own family. Sophie got to have kids first, and she was blessed with twins whom she loved dearly. However, when Rose was ready to have her kids, she couldn’t, and when she visited her doctor, she learned that she had uterine fibroids and thus, could not bear children. Of course, she was devasted by the news. Therefore, the only option was to adopt a child, and eventually, they adopted a boy. Rose went on to love her adopted boy as if he was her own; she loved him as much as her sister loved her biological children. In this case, Sophie and Rose expressed love to their kids in a way that any circumstance couldn’t supersede.
In another instance, there is a school teacher, and the other is a martial arts teacher. The school teacher joined teaching because he loved to help students to prosper and described it as his purpose in the community and never looked at the amount of salary he was paid. Seeing students pass their examinations made him happy; consequently, he found joy in teaching. On the other hand, the martial arts teacher taught his students purposefully to help instill discipline and respect in his students and help them develop defensive techniques. The martial arts school held fighting competitions on several occasions, and whenever his martial arts students won the fights, he was filled with joy. In this case, both the teachers have different careers and purposes; however, they find joy in whatever they do, indicating that joy is an emotion in people’s daily lives that exists in “the web of life.”
Socrates’ parable in the dialogue “Ion” indicates that he does not write from the learned skill or knowledge but rather from inspiration. Additionally, he holds that good poetry are always written when a Muse or a god inspires one as he states on the Ion dialogue, “good poets are not just inspired but ‘divinely’ inspired, connected to the Music gods via a chain to which the poet’s audience is also linked” (Prato, 2013). Socrates explains how a magnet or ‘stone of Heraclea’ works to illustrate the art of inspiration is transferred from a Muse to a poet. He elaborates that when a magnet attracts one ring, it can transfer its magnetism to the first ring, which in turn attracts another ring that attracts another ring; that ends up forming a chain of rings. Similarly, the art of inspiration is transferred from an inspired poet to his audience, who also gets inspired through reading a divinely written poem.
Socrates uses the example of a magnet and rings to educate Ion that he [Ion] can utter so much about Homer than any other poet because all his [Homer] utterances have been inspired by Homer, a poet inspired by Muse. In the Ion dialogue, Homer is taken as the initial ring, inspired by a Muse [ stone of Heraclea], who inspires Ion and why he can utter good things about Homer. He adds that “a poet is a light and winged thing, and holy, and never able to compose until he has become inspired and is beside himself.” (Plato, 2013) This was to show, as Lombardi ( 2019) illustrates, not all written poems are a classic, but only those with high artistic qualities that are visible not only during its time but all the time.
Lombardi, E. (2019, October 22). What makes classic literature classic? ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/concept-of-classics-in-literature-739770
Murray, G. (n.d.). The interpretation of Ancient Greek literature.
Plato. (2013). Ion. (B. Jowett, Trans.) https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1635/1635-h/1635-h.htm