THE Myth of Er is a legend that concludes Plato‘s Republic (10.614 – 10.621). The story includes an account of the cosmos and the afterlife, Wikipedia notes,
that greatly influenced religious, philosophical, and scientific thought for many centuries.
At seventeen, even Aristotle joined Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC).
What he learned is passed on to us in modern Theosophy: No one, however gross and material he might be in this life and thought, can avoid leading a double existence in reality – one life is lived in the visible universe, the other plays out in the invisible.
This is a fundamental tenet of the Theosophical Philosophy as presented by H. P. Blavatsky.
“Socratic myths describe the ascent of the soul to true knowledge,” Theosophical scholar W. T. S. Thackera writes, “its communion with divine realities, and its return to enlighten mankind.”
“The order of the Dialogues is important, as the myths in them,” Thackera explains, “each representing a kind of initiation, progressively reveal new teaching and clarify the old.”
“Plato opens the Republic with a conversation between Socrates and his elderly friend Cephalus on the subject of death,” Thackara writes. “Cephalus wants to assure himself that, if there is an afterlife, he will be spared the sufferings of the underworld. He even quotes from one of Pindar’s odes to support his argument.
The message is clear: we are all immortal beings, and our destiny is in our own hands.
“Plato ends the Republic with the Vision of Er, as Socrates describes the spiritual warrior who is slain in battle and returns to life, physically resurrected in order to transmit the message of all saviors. (W. T. S. Thackara in Plato’s Myths and the Mystery Tradition).
“Between Science and Theology is a bewildered public, fast losing all belief in man’s personal immortality, in a deity of any kind,” H. P. Blavatsky wrote in Isis Unveiled [2:593], “and rapidly descending to the level of materialism.”
Yet, she adds, “from the remotest antiquity, mankind as a whole have always been convinced of the existence of a personal spiritual entity, within the personal physical man.”
“This inner entity was more or less divine, according to its proximity to the crown — Chrestos [The Higher Self].”
“It is on the indestructible tablets of the astral light that is stamped the impression of every thought we think, and every act we perform. And future events — effects of long-forgotten causes” — Isis Unveiled [I:178] — “are already delineated as a vivid picture for the eye of the seer and prophet to follow. the vast repository where the records of every man’s life as well as every pulsation of the visible cosmos are stored up for all Eternity!”