And what, Socrates, asks Plato,
is the food of the soul? Surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul.
There is a Latin proverb that says
Get yourself a library, and you will get yourself a soul. However true it may be that we are made and grow in the interaction with other texts and other subjectivities, it reflects the primacy of the word in Western thought as in the biblical “in the beginning was the Word”, the Greek emphasis on Logos & Reason and, consequently, Plato’s rather double-edged rejection of music, which in Ancient Greece meant all the arts as they were inspired by the Muses.
Music was for Plato only acceptable in the case of heightening the morale of fighting soldiers, or in the temperance and education of children. Music had in other words a moral impact as music, he says, “is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” But, as music and “rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul”, there should be no “introduction of a new kind of music”. It “must be shunned as imperiling the whole state; since styles of music are never disturbed without affecting the most important political institutions.” Music is thus in Plato’s view highly political by its very nature.
But, what’s a soul without music,
the rhythm of being, and of the body?
A soul famined, maybe.
As an African proverb says:
“Music is food for the soul”