THE ESSENCE OF TRUTH
encounter the phenomenon of untruth, in order to see where it is itself rooted in its inner possibility.
From the preliminary investigation we know that it is a matter of finding those modes of comportment of the soul which enable it to relate to a complex object in the ψευδὴς δόξα. Socrates says (191 c 8 ff.):
θὲς δή μοι λόγου ἕνεκα ἐν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ἡμῶν ἐνὸν κήρινον ἐκμαγεῖον, τῷ μὲν μεῖζον, τῷ δ᾽ ἔλαττον, καὶ τῷ μὲν καθαρωτέρου κηροῦ, τῷ δὲ κοπρωδεστέρου, καὶ σκληροτέρου, ἐνίοις δὲ ὑγροτέρου, ἔστι δ᾽ οἷς μετρίως ἔχοντος. ... Δῶρον τοίνυν αὐτὸ φῶμεν εἶναι τῆς τῶν Μουσῶν μητρὸς Μνημοσύνης
'Assume then, by way of simile, that our souls contain something like a wax mass, sometimes larger, sometimes smaller, sometimes purer, sometimes more impure, sometimes harder, sometimes softer, and sometimes of just the right quality. [Everything that we immediately perceive, and also everything that we take in and comprehend, is imprinted upon it] . . . This wax mass, we say, is a gift of the mother of the Muses.'
For the Greeks, the Muses enable the singer or artist to visualize and freely form his work in its entire fullness, prior to and without the help of any outline. Thus the mother of the Muses, i.e. what enables the Muses in their function, is said to be Μνημοσύνη, keeping-in-mind [das Eingedenksein]. Through the simile, Socrates (Plato) wants to show that from the beginning this gift belongs to the essence of the soul as a primordial dowry. Along with this is given the faculty of μνημονεύειν ; that is to say, neither recollection nor memory but keeping-in-mind. What is meant is that faculty and comportment in which we think of, keep thinking of, something, e.g. a person, the situation of a nation, as in the saying: δέσποτα, μέμνησο τῶν Ἀθηναίων.6 'Lord, think of the Athenians.' This kind of thinking does not have to be recollecting or remembering, but is a holding-before-oneself of something, of a being, and indeed precisely when this being is absent, not present at hand in the immediate present; or, equivalently, to hold a being before us when we ourselves are no longer present with it.7
Through this simile we shall encounter a fundamental aspect of our (human) Dasein: once again a so to speak autonomous comportment of the soul whereby we are oriented to beings that are not at all bodily present.
We must, albeit briefly, further clarify this 'faculty of the soul', at this stage without reference to the Platonic simile. In so doing the most important