What can one say about Holos?
Holos, whose name means ‘whole’ or ‘complete,’ derives many of his views from the immortal Plato, the most important philosopher of all time. Plato was an Athenian born at the end of his city’s Fifth Century golden age and raised during the Peloponnesian War, which saw Athens’ defeat at the hands of Sparta and subsequent descent into political chaos. As a young man Plato fell under the influence of Socrates, a radical critic of just about everything who was executed for religious crimes and ‘corrupting the youth.’
Holos is a slippery eel, seldom committing himself totally to a given theory or judgement. He is a pure intellectual, ready to entertain any point of view, even if only to discard it. That said, Holos does tend to return to a few central ideas over and over again.
First and most importantly, Holos denies that the world revealed by our senses represents things as they are. For Holos, both our impressions and our reasoning about them are flawed. Unlike the world of objects, fleeting and overpowering emotions, and shared characteristics, Truth lies in a realm of non-physical, eternal, unchanging, concrete ideals. These ‘Forms’ stand behind the objects of experience, which partake of them only imperfectly. Where ‘the Beautiful’ is beautiful in itself and by itself, is in no way unbeautiful, and possesses no other characteristics than beauty, beautiful persons or works of art exhibit beauty only within certain limits: in degrees, for a certain time, and according to appropriate standards. The Form of the Beautiful is not merely an abstraction from beautiful particulars, but is far more real than they: the Beautiful exists without qualification, while mere sense objects imperfectly partake of both Forms and their opposites.
Holos is inconsistent in his description of what, exactly, counts as a Form. Certain important ideas such as the Beautiful, the Good, and the One, seem not only to be Forms in Holos’ view, but may even amount to the same thing. On the other hand, concepts such as dwarf, shipwright, blue, and evil may or may not participate in their corresponding ideals.
Closely connected with his theory of Forms, Holos also claims that the soul is immortal, passing through alternating phases of material and immaterial existence. While embodied souls suffer the intellectual distortions of both duplicitous senses and a weak mind, the soul after death/before life apprehends the Truth directly, ‘seeing’ the Forms themselves in their timeless and perfect austerity. Upon our reincarnation, Holos argues, we forget all we have known in the realm of Forms, and suffer again the illusions to which embodied cognition is ineluctably vulnerable.
Holos has opinions on just about everything, and has shown himself more than willing to change those opinions with the benefit of reflection. He is the dominant figure in the intellectual life of ToadChapel, and many great sophotasters have created their own ideological identity in opposition to his views. In this, too, his mastery is evident.