“The greatest ancient philosophers are accused of shallowness and a superficiality of knowledge of those details in exact sciences of which the moderns boast so much.
Plato is declared by his various commentators to have been utterly ignorant of the anatomy and functions of the human body; to have known nothing of the uses of the nerves to convey sensations; and to have had nothing better to offer than vain speculations concerning physiological questions. He has simply generalized the divisions of the human body, they say, and given nothing reminding us of anatomical facts.
As to his own views on the human frame, the microcosmos being in his ideas the image in miniature of the macrocosmos, they are much too transcendental to be given the least attention by our exact and materialistic skeptics. The idea of this frame being, as well as the universe, formed out of triangles, seems preposterously ridiculous to several of his translators.
Alone of the latter, Professor Jowett, in his introduction to the Timaeus, honestly remarks that the modern physical philosopher “hardly allows to his notions the merit of being ‘the dead men’s bones’ out of which he has himself risen to a higher knowledge”; forgetting how much the metaphysics of olden times has helped the “physical” sciences of the present day.
If, instead of quarreling with the insufficiency and at times absence of terms and definitions strictly scientific in Plato’s works, we analyze them carefully, the Timaeus, alone, will be found to contain within its limited space the germs of every new discovery.
The circulation of the blood and the law of gravitation are clearly mentioned, though the former fact, it may be, is not so clearly defined as to withstand the reiterated attacks of modern science; for according to Prof. Jowett, the specific discovery that the blood flows out at one side of the heart through the arteries, and returns through the veins at the other, was unknown to him, though Plato was perfectly aware “that blood is a fluid in constant motion.”
H. P. Blavatsky