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WHAT DOES “AGATHON” MEAN?


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The Ancient Greek word Ἀγαθόν [Agathón=good, benevolent, kind] refers to an aggregate of concepts encompassing all moral, intellectual and spiritual virtues of man. It must be thought of as an absolute state, with an existence which is independent and unaffected by time, space or any other change. Only The Supreme Deity, The Unified Being, The Monad, can be characterized by the term Ἀγαθός.

We must therefore accept the existence of an Ideal Conceptual World, independent from our physical world, which contains all the Eternal and Perfect Archetypes of the Ideas of Virtue, Justice, Morality, Grace and Truth. This is the World of Ἀγαθόν.

Whichever of the above Archetypes appears in the world of form (our world), is to be simply considered a mere reflection of the Real One, owing its imperfect existence to a vestigial and rudimentary relation to the Complete and Perfect State of that Other World, in which Ἀγαθόν is incorporated.

HERMES TRISMEGISTUS, HERMETIC TEXTS, SPEECH VI: «§3. When it comes to man, Ἀγαθόν is determined in comparison to evil. …And Ἀγαθόν here is the smallest particle of evil. And it is impossible down here, that Ἀγαθόν be free from malice. For down here, Ἀγαθόν gets filled with malice, and being full of malice, it cannot be Ἀγαθόν; and since it cannot remain Ἀγαθόν anymore, it becomes evil. Therefore, Ἀγαθόν is (found) in God alone, or rather God Himself is Ἀγαθός. So then, Asclepius, only the name of Ἀγαθόν is found in men. Its workings are nowhere to be found. And it cannot be. For, it cannot be contained in a material body, which is bound on all sides by wickedness, pains, labors and rage and deceit and by foolish fantasies. And the greatest ill of all, Asclepius, is that each of these things that have been said previously is thought down here to be the greatest Ἀγαθόν when they are an inevitable evil. …§6 Wherefore, those who are ignorant and do not tread the path of piety, do dare to call man fair and Ἀγαθόν. Not even in their wildest dreams have they seen what Ἀγαθόν is. And they call Ἀγαθόν all that is evil.»

Plato, in his Republic, gives us a definition of the term Ἀγαθόν:

[508e] «This reality, then, that gives their truth to the objects of knowledge and the power of knowing to the knower, you must say is the idea of Ἀγαθόν, and you must conceive it as being the cause of knowledge*, and the cause of truth in so far as they become known. Yet, fair as they both are (knowledge and truth), you will think rightly in supposing Ἀγαθόν to be something different and fairer still than these. But as for knowledge and truth, even as in our illustration [509a] it is right to deem light and vision as being sun like, but never to think that they are the sun, so here, it is right to consider these two (knowledge and truth) as being like Ἀγαθόν but to think that either of them is Ἀγαθόν, is not right.»

* Of Spiritual matter-less Knowledge

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