Soma

The word soma stands for the corpse in Homer, and only later acquires the meaning of body. So the following verse is attributed to Euripides by Plato: “Who knows whether living is not being dead, while being dead is living?” Plato’s Socrates continues: “Perhaps we too are dead. I at least heard this from the wise men that now we are dead and that for us the body is a tomb” (soma estin hemin sema: Gorg. 492e-493a).In his Commentary on Plato’s Gorgias, Olympiodorus explains this as follows:

(Socrates] says “Euripides says to live is to die, and to die is to live.” For on coming here, the soul, so that it may give life to the body, also gets a share in certain lifelessness …. So it is when it is separated that it is really alive …. The argument from the Pythagoreans is symbolic. For it employs a short myth, which says “We are dead here and we inhabit a tomb …. ” (In Gorg. 29.4).238

Orpheus and the Roots of Platonism, Algis Uzdavinys, pg. 94

The soma is a cocoon that weaves only death. Recollection (anamnesis) is the means of severing the corpse-like threads; asceticism is the means of turning-about from the fluctuation of becoming and its untrustworthy images. Contemplation is the measure by which the Unborn Principle of Deathlessness is won, thus standing triumphant over somatic strands.

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