Arguably, Plato can be regarded as one of the founders of western thought. This model rests on his ideological view of the creation as an emanation from the ‘One’ which is eternal, immutable or ‘the good’.
(Briefly) Plato argues that creation is an infinite plurality within a unity of oneness. Or ‘The One’ infinite unity, out of which a plurality of emanations arise. What we see in material creation are emanations. Behind every emanation is a perfect form or archetype. For a horse to exist, at a less emanated level is the perfect Form, or perfect essence of horseness. The essence, like an idea is beyond the five senses, it cannot be touched, smelt or seen with the physical eyes, but it exists.
This theory rests on the assumption that the creation is (simply) made up of levels of three levels of emanation, that of:
- 1) pure spirit, non-dimensionality, beyond duality, or the level of archetypes;
- 2) intelligible realms, fluid dimensional levels, where principles of duality apply, this is the level where we think and feel emotions. In this level attention is the focusing force; and
- 3) material creation, dimensional reality, where laws of gravity, time and space apply and gravity is the focusing force.
In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato argues that the truth experienced through the five senses can be cognized by sourcing consciousness to less emanated levels of creation. Plato argues that experiences which are less emanated are more real than experiences when interacting with materiality. Put another way, what we experience in mediation is the source of what we experience with sight, touch, taste and smell.
The Ancient Greeks suggested that Nous is an experience facilitated through an internalization of consciousness. Nous is a knowing of archetypal levels through experience. One can touch it with the mind, one can be united with an immutable truth through contemplation, Theoria, but one cannot define it. An archetype is beyond definition. Any words attached to it are only a reflection of something that is beyond definition.