Our long-time friend Horace Jeffery Hodges kindly linked to and riffed upon my recent quotage of a bit of whimsicality from the second volume of J. N. Findlay's Gifford lectures. So here's another Findlay quotation for Jeff's delectation, this time from Plato and Platonism: An Introduction (Times Books, 1978):
It is not here, we may note, our task to defend Plato's Great Inversion, the erection of instances into ontological appendages of Ideas rather than the other way round. It is only our task to show what this inversion involves, and that it does dispose of many powerful arguments. For despite much talk of the concretely real and of what we can hold in our hands, it is plain that nothing so much eludes us or evades us as the vanishing instances which surround us or which go on in us. Even our friends leave nothing in our hands or our minds, but the characteristic patterns on which we can, alas, only ponder lovingly when as instances they are dead, and we ourselves and our whole life of care and achievement leave nothing behind but the general memory of what we did and were. (23)
My esteemed teacher's poetic prose may have got the better of him in that last sentence redolent as it is of an old man's nostalgia. For it is not only Findlay's characteristic patterns once so amply instantiated here below that I now ponder lovingly, but the actual words he wrote, many of them printed, some of them hand-written, that strikingly singular voluminous flow of Baroque articulation so beautifully expressive of a wealth of thoughts. In his books, I have the man still, and presumably at his best, even if he himself, long dead as an instance, has made the transcensive move from the Cave's chiaroscuro to the limpid light wherein he now, something of a Platonic Form himself, beholds the forma formarum, the Form of all Forms.
You will be forgiven if you think my poetic prose has gotten the better of me.