Out of the mind

In Socrates’ view the effect of the god’s entry into the poet is to drive out the poet’s mind: when the god is in him the poet is ‘out of his mind’, ekphron, or ‘intelligence is no longer present in him’; so he may find himself saying many things which are admirable (polla kai kala) and true without knowing what he is saying… it is because he is like the diviner that the inspired poet is ‘out of his mind’… For Socrates, diviners, seers, oracle-givers and poet are all in the same boat. All of them in his view are know-nothing, or rather, worse: unaware of their sorry epistemic state, they set themselves up as repositories of wisdom emanating from a divine, all-wise source. What they say may be true; but even when it is true, they are in no position to discern what there is in it that is true.

— Gregory Vlastos, Socratic Piety

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