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Tag: Socrates

Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium” – Leonard Bernstein

800px-Plato's_Symposium_-_Anselm_Feuerbach_-_Google_Cultural_Institute

       Plato’s Symposium

 

          Anselm Feuerbach

 

                    __________

 

imagine my surprise when having put

on a concert I’d recently taped from

television and, not having checked

out the program, apart from having

noted the featured violinist, someone

I, however peripherally, knew, then

heading out to the kitchen to do

some kitchen things, chop vegetables,

stir a pot, watch water, maybe, come

to a boil, a piece came up with which

I wasn’t familiar, thought maybe it

might be Shostakovich for its atonality,

though with, here again, his signature

decipherable melodies, ever, and

characteristically, maimed, twisted,

contorted, for, too, its Eastern

European rhythms, its apparent

Jewish folklore, touches of Fiddler

on the RoofI thought, hints of

Schindler’s Listmaybe, when the

work turned out to be, however

improbably, by Leonard Bernstein,

most famous, rather, for his Broadway

shows, West Side Storyfor instance,

but especially as a conductor

 

his Serenade for violin, string orchestra,

harp and percussionknown also as

Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium”,

was written, in 1954, in commemoration

of a couple of personal friends, husband

and wife, after their demises

 

Plato‘s Symposium is one of his several

dialogues, a clutch of noteworthy

Athenians meet socially after an earlier,

more crowded, revel, a kind of debriefing,

and decide to each give his definition of

love, the work remains one of the great

disquisitions on the subject, not tackled

much sincesurprisingly, in the history

of philosophy

 

there are seven people in attendance,

though Alcibiades, yes, the Alcibiades,

orator and statesman, stumbles into

the gathering, late and last

 

Bernstein has a voice for each

participant, though in five rather than

seven movements, two couples, the

first and the last, have no break

between their conjoined movements

 

 I. Phaedrus: Pausanias lento and allegro

 II. Aristophanes allegretto

 III. Eryximachus, the doctor – presto

 IV. Agathon adagio

 V. Socrates: Alcibiades – molto tenuto and allegro molto vivace

 

in the Symposium, Eryximachus speaks

before Aristophanes, yes, the Aristophanes,

the playwright, cause the bard has the

hiccoughs, and the doctor, Eryximachus,

agrees to go first, if out of the agreed upon

order, an order that Bernstein chooses not

to follow, for reasons to do with tempo, I

suspect, otherwise the progression is as

in Plato

 

Eryximachus, interestingly, advises

Aristophanes to make himself sneeze,

a cure apparently for hiccoughs, in

order to be ready for his turn, which

he does, and indeed manages

 

Agathon was a poet, his adagio here

is accordingly gorgeous, melting,

completely appropriate for a writer

of verse, and entirely, incidentally,

worth the price of admission

 

Socratesmolto tenuto, even and

tempered, measured, is, likewise, 

totally apt for a philosopher 

 

enjoy

 

 

R ! chard

on courage

aristotle-jpglarge

     “Socrates” 

            Luca Giordano

                    __________

  

following in the footsteps of Socrates,
who, I agree with the Oracle, has been 
ever the wisest man, one whose example 
I’ve followed since first hearing of him, let 
me query, what is courage 

a tentative definition would have one 
stating that courage is a determination
to overcome danger

but to use my own example, being called
courageous for surviving an aneurysm,
would this instance have qualified

where was my determination, apart from
waiting, submissively, for the axe to fall,
or to not fall, I felt no fear, merely time 
passing, not an ounce of determination

but what of those others who endure 
the pain often associated with dying,
agony, is that not a kind of enforced 
courage

so did I qualify

an aneurysm swells the blood vessels 
to the brain as the brain heals, but 
meanwhile the heart pumps a rhythmic
tattoo on those passages rendered 
more tenderso that a throbbing 
anguish is ever drumming its drill 
upon the cerebrum of the sufferer 

perhaps I did qualify

but Socrates brings up an interesting 
objection, can animals be brave, it 
would seem not, therefore courage 
requires self-consciousness, whether 
or not it is defiant or compliant 

and what about defiance before a lost 
cause, is that courage or doomed 
bombast

Aristotle adds to the mix the notion 
of a noble cause, not merely an 
instinctive, however, in the event, 
morally prompted, position

so what is courage, you tell me

I say that you know it when you see
it, the courageous act defines the 
word, not the other way around,

much like flowers are the result of 
their own efflorescence, not the 
manifestation of a preset Ideal

you are the measure of your own 
words

for better or for worse

Richard

psst: it is interesting to note that 
          according to the Bible, in the 
          beginning was the Word
          John 1:1, a convenient  tool  
          to impose order

Aristotle, an objection

school-of-athens-detail-from-right-hand-side-showing-diogenes-on-the-steps-and-euclid-1511.jpg!Large

      “The School Of Athens (1510 – 1511) 

               Raphael

_______

upon reviewing my Socrates, Plato, and
Aristotle from a series of university  
lectures I’ve been following, I came upon 
a discovery so egregious, I couldn’t
believe I hadn’t seen it before, the old
story of the forest and the trees, I guess

upon hearing that the Oracle at Delphi
had replied that it was Socrates to those 
who’d wondered who the wisest man
was, Socrates, abashed, began to seek 
out wise men to disprove the Oracle, 
but whenever Socrates asked of them
what is virtue, what is justice, what is 
knowledge, for instance, the answers 
were always inconclusive, they always 
seemed to depend on perspective –
virtue, justice, knowledge were in the 
eye of the beholder – though Plato 
later putting in his own definitions
called them Ideals, a chair partook,
for instance, of an overarching 
chairness somewhere, as did indeed 
virtue, knowledge and justice, which 
inferred another ideal universe 
contiguously, of which our own 
universe supplied only imperfect 
renditions

you can hear the seeds of Heaven and 
God already in all of that, way before 
Christianity, not to mention Original 
Sin

it also suggests an implacable order

Socrates wouldn’t’ve liked that

but Aristotle, with a much more critical 
mind than Plato’s, less speculative, more 
akin to Socrates’, less autocratic, more 
inquisitive, begins to try to define,
nevertheless, abstractions, virtue, 
knowledge, justice, as though they
indeed existed as ideals

this is putting the cart before the horse,
I thought, in the form of a revelation

an instance exists in the act of creation,
a physical transformation produces a 
flower, the flower doesn’t happen 
because of the word

a human example

for surviving an aneurysm once, someone, 
to my astonishment, had called me 
courageous, I’d been, I thought, only
surviving, not an inch of courage, not 
even a millimetre

courage, I surmised, is in the eye of the 
beholder, it is not at all a template, an 
absolute, in my experience 

Aristotle goes on to define a host of
Virtues, indeed 11, which come out as 
essentially his Eleven Commandments,
on, in fact, courage, among others, all 
essentially, and appropriately, moral, 
thereby creating the moral realm of 
our Western world

Jesus followed

and of course God and Heaven

which, of course, still prevail despite 
sound, sober objections

as though we could know

why is this important

because, I think, we must remember 
that our assumptions are only that,
and often they’re based on only what 
we’ve been told, which is already a 
step away from incorrect 
interpretation 

in the world of false news, check 
your references, check your very 
words, our lives, it isn’t too much 
to say, I believe, depend on it

not to mention our own personal 
moral code, our soul, our purpose 
for being, which every wo/man 
must oversee for hirself

if one has the courage 

Richard

to Socrates – on monotheism‏

sacrifice-of-isaac(1).jpg!Large

      “The Sacrifice of Isaac (1598)

                        Caravaggio

                               ________

by very definition, the inevitable
result of monotheism, Socrates,  
is war, if there is one authority it  
will eventually be opposed by a 
contrary, however picayune, 
however trivial, opinion, see the 
Protestant Reformationsee Islam, 
for instance, now
 
after which there is disintegration
 
before Christianity, there were gods, 
a pantheon of them symbolically
alive among the rivers, the trees, 
the mountains, read Ovid for an
exhilarating description, wars were 
waged for territory, not conscience  
 
Judaism, the religion of the Jews,
evolved for their own existence a
deity, Yahweh, who was their one 
god, disdainful of foreign others,
an uncharacteristic attitude among 
other religions then, becoming one 
of the very first monotheistic, and
consequently existentially 
compromised faiths, if not the 
first
 
the intent was to rally ideological 
support among its adherents so 
that they could protect the lands 
of Israel and Judahtheir ancestral 
homesas they would have it, a 
sanctification of the territorial 
principle
 
their Bible, the Torah, a vengeful 
work, and the basis for the 
Christian Old Testament, 
demanded of its followers 
unblinking and cruel allegiance,
the sacrifice of Isaacfor instance,
a father required to sacrifice his 
own son, however might it ‘ve
been at the last minute averted by 
the intercession of an angel sent 
by that very Lord
 
Christ came along to turn the other
cheek
 
which didn’t last long 
 
indeed Montesquieu, an early 
philosopher of the French
Enlightenment, tells of the 
King’s librarian of Chinese 
texts, who had been converted 
to Catholicism in China, but 
who was nonplussed upon his 
arrival in Christian France to find 
that the French did not do onto 
others as they would have them 
do unto themselves, nor did they, 
more catastrophically, turn the  
other cheek
 
for that matter see what Christian 
Europe did to the Americans
 
Christ’s own followers, once they’d 
achieved political prominence, after, 
admittedly, 300 years of persecution 
by the prevailing Roman authorities, 
set their own deity, God, on high, 
indeed beyond the rivers, the 
mountains, the trees into the very 
ineffable, the inscrutable abstract, 
and squelched any opposition for  
the next thousand and some years,
the philosophical underpinnings of 
which was the work of your 
contemporary, Plato, Socrates, his 
ideal of the Ideal
 
Augustine signed those recalibrated 
papers with his City of God“, it took 
the Renaissance to make a dent in its 
armour, and another several centuries 
to declare the Christian God dead, 
Time magazine in the ’60s, on the 
heels of Nietzsche‘s nihilistic  
pronouncement some 70 years earlier, 
that God had exited history
 
what we are left with, Socrates, is every 
wo/man for hirself, therefore the Age of 
Human Rights, for better or for worse
otherwise many of us would’ve been 
guillotined, burnt at the stake, stoned 
to death, by now
 
what do you think
 
I’ll bet I can tell, you think that every 
wo/man owes allegiance to what s/he 
believes in, even to inexorable death, 
however impractical, unfortunate, or 
fateful, if your exemplary life has  
anything to say about it 
 
 
cheers
 
Richard

to Socrates

Socrates_Louvre

                                      bust of Socrates
 
                                           __________
 
 
                        The way to gain a good reputation
                                 is to endeavour to be what you
                                      desire to appear”Socrates
 
 
having lost faith in the natural 
philosophers, ThalesAnaximander
AnaximenesSocratesit’s no wonder
you turned to more introspective 
speculation, what is virtue rather than 
what is the world
 
but thereby you ran right into the wall
of the word, which had been there from 
the very beginning, but so intimate as 
to not be able to see the forest for its 
trees
 
what is virtue, you wondered, but 
got caught up in the fray of, even 
conflicting, opinions, making it 
clear that everyone had a different 
answer, what could that mean
 
it could only mean that virtue was in
the eye of the beholder, not as your
disciple Plato would have it, that we 
all partook of an ideal Virtue, never
real, a theoretical abstraction merely,
but serving nevertheless as its
authoritative standard
 
but who would’ve set that standard, 
you would’ve asked, never stopping 
at so fragile a conclusion, setting the 
tone for proper philosophy, however 
ill the lesson ‘s since been learned
 
the proper answer to any and every
question is ultimately another  
question, that is the true lesson of 
philosophy, an observation, sir, to 
build a life on
 
questions mean you’re  learning
 
thank you, Socrates
 
 
Richard

up my idiosyncrasies – Plato‏

school-of-athens-detail-from-right-hand-side-showing-diogenes-on-the-steps-and-euclid-1511.jpg!Large

      “The School Of Athens (1510-1511)
 
                   Raphael
 
                       _____
 
 
he sounds just like you, my friend said,
who’d bought me the works of Plato
for C***mas maybe, or my birthday, or 
maybe just because he knew I’d very
much appreciate them
 
we were reading him together, as is 
always my inclination, his Meno 
according to my calculations, 
Socrates was doing most of the 
talking, with Meno, a Sophist 
acolyte, a school of philosophy then, 
the Sophists, which claimed it could 
prove anything by using the right 
arguments 
 
lawyers, of course, ensued, politicians
 
and rhetoric, the art of proving anything 
by using the right arguments 
 
philosophy had reached a structural,
indeed an existential, impasse, why, 
they therefore wondered, philosophy
 
wherein it entered a phase of moral 
speculation, StoicismEpicureanism,
ScepticismCynicism, and can you 
blame them, theories about the 
stars, the moon, the world, even 
matter itself, had become so 
questionable, was it fire, air, water, 
atoms, at its source, who knew
 
 
I thought so too, I said, and told 
him that Plato’s were the first   
texts studied in philosophy when 
entered university, that’s where I 
learned to talk like that, philosophy 
from the scratch, as my German 
teacher would’ve said, which is to 
say, from its very beginnings, 
whence I could view, I figured, the 
evolution of received wisdom in 
Western culture
 
I was young then, the young have 
such dreams 
 
 
my father had been agnostic, ever
asking questions, though we were 
being raised Catholic, my sister 
and I, on account of our mother 
tongue, our entire community, 
having been historically linked 
with that religion, and cause my 
parents wanted us to be educated 
in French
 
an existentialist crisis would
eventually follow, I intuited, as
indeed it did, so I majored in 
philosophy
 
 
Socrates taught me to ask 
questions, that no one had  
all the answers
 
Plato, usurping his master’s voice, 
created the paradigm for our present 
version of a Divinity, and Its Paradise
 
there is an ideal version of any 
item we might consider, he spouted,
an ideal table, for instance, exists
of which every material table is an
imperfect example
 
to virtue, love, beauty, truth, he 
applied the same principle, which
early erudite Catholics, Augustine
Thomas Aquinas, for instance, and
others, despite rejecting all of the 
other Greek cultural achievements
appropriated in order to bolster their 
impression of God, the ideal of the 
Ideal
 
this lasted uncontested for just
over a thousand years
 
for a thousand years our salvation
had been extraterrestrial, 
supranatural, this, our very, 
perhaps only, existence, an 
imperfect reflection of somewhere
else an ideal, a mere simulacrum,  
we were, a metaphor
 
Socrates had only asked questions,
what is virtue, what is justice, what
is beauty, truth
 
Plato presumed to have known the 
answers
 
 
Aristotle is making a comeback,
whose method, in opposition to 
his contemporaneous forebear,  
was much more like Charles 
Darwin‘s, working from the facts, 
which proved then, and are 
proving still now, to be multifarious, 
diverse, astonishing, and nearly 
enough to make you believe in 
God/dess again, this time, however, 
through the back door 
 
or in a multiplicity, a panoply, a 
very pavilion, even, of natural 
deities, otherwise known as 
angels, for better or for worse
 
God/dess bless, or angels
 
 
Richard

“Meditations”, Book 3 – Marcus Aurelius‏

“If thou workest at that which is before thee, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract thee, but keeping thy divine part pure, as if thou shouldst be bound to give it back immediately; if thou holdest to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with thy present activity according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which thou utterest, thou wilt live happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.”

Meditations“, Book 3, 12

Marcus Aurelius

_________

the idea of the virtuous man, or the
interpretation of Marcus Aurelius of
such a person, goes back of course to
Socrates by way of Plato, 427 – 347
B.C., who’s ideal was primarily
political, what to achieve within a
political order, rather than a private
meditation, an advice rather than
a contemplation as in Marcus
Aurelius, 121 – 180 A.D., 550,
not inconsequential, years later

other moral perspectives meanwhile
applied, Epicureanism, for instance,
notably, after which the stranglehold
of Christianity produced not philosophy
but dogma, for a subservient and,
biblically labeled, fallen people,
nearly fifteen hundred years spent
trying to figure out how many angels
fit through the eye of a needle,
essentially, how many irrationalities
could prove the existence, and
authority, of a mandated God

René Descartes inadvertently in this
very quest, but not before 1637, put
an end to that, introduced a new, and
revolutionary, perspective, I think,
therefore I am
“,
which put the individual
instead of the Church in the driver’s seat,
this, if it didn’t bring on the Renaissance,
at least gave it a significant push

but because of his famous scientific
method
, studies afterwards in what
we now know as the humanities
became more empirical than
specifically moral, how do we
perceive rather than how do we live
according to what is right or wrong,
Nietzsche‘s Beyond Good and Evil“,
1886, reoriented that investigation,
as it happened, ominously, in an age
where any kind of god had become
irrelevant, Beethoven would be
transformed into a Hitler, an
uncomfortably fateful Übermensch,
Superman

now philosophy is concerned with
language, what do we mean when
we say what do we mean, and can
anybody understand that

our closest moralist, our modern day
Marcus Aurelius, is at present Miss
Manners
, whom I wholeheartedly
recommend

as well as, of course, Marcus Aurelius

Richard

psst: Miss Manners‘ question and answer
format, incidentally, is not at all unlike
what Plato does in his Socratic dialogues
,
she just has a larger, more flip audience

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (16)‏

 The School of Athens - Raphael

                                             The School of Athens

                                                         Raphael   

                                                     ____________

 


Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2013 22:47:05 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
From: comment-reply@wordpress.com
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus
 
Richard,
 

As I said at the very beginning, you are “sensitive”, and I was right, because you rightly perceived that I was becoming impatient. My apologies. Patience is not my forte. 🙂 However, you have not “touched a nerve”, as this is by no means an emotional discussion from my pov. I have no intention to “vehemently reject” your position (after all it is yours not mine), but only to share my perspective, including what I perceive to be irrational arguments.

Here are the two statements you made;
” I, and the “demented” Nietzsche, incidentally, equally fervently mistrust, even deem fundamentally impossible”,
“I do not profess to “know what Nietzsche believes or “fervently mistrust[s]‘”.

Is that not a self-contradiction?

You say that you’re making an interpretation. But, what is knowledge but an interpretation? A translation from the concrete and the objective to the abstract and subjective, just as we translate a work of literature from one language to another? By interpreting Nietzsche to yourself, you gain a rational understanding of him, and by interpreting him to others, you share that understanding.

I think an important distinction should be made between a) the belief in the existence of Absolute Truth” and b) the belief of one’s monopoly of the Absolute Truth. You seem to be passionately rejecting b), which is quite understandable. But Platonism is not b) but a). It does not claim monopoly of the Absolute Truth, but instead, Plato and Socrates both exhort their listeners to pursue Beauty, Goodness and Truth, to pursue virtue, to be the lover of wisdom, which is the literal meaning of “philosophy”,

According to Einstein, this pursuit of the Absolute Truth is also the guiding principle of the scientists. Without this passionate pursuit of the truth, we would never discover that the earth is not flat. Now think about this: Can you still insist that it is uncertain whether or not the earth is flat, that it is impossible to have a rational understanding of the shape of the earth?

You argue that uncertainty makes people less likely to kill. But most people who kill are not driven by belief in the Absolute, but by their lust for pleasure, wealth and power. Some may kill in the name of Truth as a disguise for their ulterior motives, but it would be unfair and irrational to blame the Truth for their acts.

I’ll refrain from discussing the Catholic Church, partly because to me this discussion is about Platonism, and Christianity is not Platonism (though they share many similar aspects), and partly because I’m not associated with the Catholic Church and frankly don’t know enough about it to say anything useful

 

 
first of all let me raise a glass to our conversation,
a toast that it might live long
 
and thank you for your continued respectful and
penetrating participation, I will endeavour to as
assiduously hold up
  
 
that said, we get into, as I see it, the question
posed by Wittgenstein, an obstacle of the
most impenetrable sort, the egregious
unreliability of language, what do you mean
when you say something, and how does that
synch with the other guy’s interpretation of it,
or, indeed, girl’s 
 
your meat could be my poison, my Plato,
your Proust   
 
indeed which one of us is right about this,
is Plato a saint or a sinner, a boon or a
blight
 
though Proust, of course, would remain 
unquestionably and irreversibly here,
ever, surely, for both of us, benefactor
of positively Promethean, natch, 
proportions   
 
what has become here then of the
Absolute, gone up in a whiff of, just
as insubstantial, smoke, the exhalations,
note, of a fully material mens sana,
sound mind, which can be nothing
without the enveloping corpore sano,
sound body   
 
should there, in the instance, however, 
be a One, an Absolute, we would not, nor
can anyway ever, from our intrinsically
divergent perspectives, be able to, in
any meaningful way, know It
 
 
more practically and topically, when
my mother had her living room walls 
painted, my blue was her green, or vice
versa, in either case adamantly, trying
both of us to eke out from each other
concessions to a position, undyingly,
each, though ever politely, both, held, 
a model accommodation, which is to say,
without the often attendant bombs 
 
we remained puzzled, however, each,
ever, by insidious, and inescapable,
doubt, who saw the right colour 
  
 
there is a technical solution to my mother’s
wall, I know, but only after great psychological
adjustment, even torment, will the blue think
his or her visual impression another colour  
 
and who is mistaken 
 
or can some people be ever right, 
and ever wrong
 
this, incidentally, is the central problem
of philosophy, not just our own central
topic
 
and its resolution the central problem
of politics
 
 
in this instance when her cataracts were
removed, her blue became green, or vice
versa, I’d have to be in her apartment, I
can’t remember which colour, right now,
it was I saw, another philosophical
conundrum, but surely, you get the
picture, interpretation is highly
subjective, and porous 
 
which is why Science requires absolutely
unanimous approval, if you’ll forgive this
metaphorical only use of that prickly
adverb here, to determine Its still 
fundamentally ever tenuous theories
 
we’ve even only recently deconstructed
even time,
 
or Time
 
now there’s a God for you, Giver of context
 
however, even there, It would appear arbitrary,
there may be another Reality beyond our
particular three-dimensional Plato’s cave
 
but I digress
 
 
my misuse of the word “know” in citing
my apparently contradictory statements,
is at fault, I can never know, I can only
interpret, with custom we have come to
accept our suppositions as fact, and hope
that everyone else will do the same, which
we mostly do, except when we have wars
because of some intractable position,
where someone has set a price on his, her 
incontrovertible, but still fundamentally
arbitrary, opinion, even of ownership,
family structure, interpersonal affairs,
like this one 
 
but we are talking with only air, no
concrete certainty    
 
I believe Nietzsche, in other words, to
have thought my thoughts, or I, rather,  
to have incorporated his, but that is only
my understanding of it, which surely I
propound, though I might quite possibly
be wrong, but, Nemo, I can’t remember
the last time I was, I could check, I keep
a tally
 
 
scientists, I believe, are indeed seeking
always to know, perfecting their idea of
Reality, but Truth can only be the sum
of all things we think It is, nothing else,
nothing more, after all what other entity
that we know knows anything at all
about It, about Truth
 
we can only think there is a Real out
there, and make the best of It, the rest
is, Shakespeare again,  
 
           “…………………………………. such stuff
           As dreams are made on; and our little life
            Is rounded with a sleep.”
 
                                             The Tempest – act 4, scene 1
                                                                            lines 156 -158
 
 
cheers ever
 
Richard 
 
 
 

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (6)‏

 
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2013 20:54:23 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
From: comment-reply@wordpress.com
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus
 

Hi Richard,

Actually Plotinus posited a memory model that might be quite similar to yours if I understand you correctly. There are three components in this model, the object stored in our memory, our act of remembering as if retrieving an object from storage, and the activated/retrieved image of the object in our mind. To answer your friend’s retort, we are all three components combined, though most prominent in the second component.

You object to the idea of thoughts having their object existence outside our consciousness, but you agree that we’re aware of our thoughts at the same time as we’re aware of our own existence. Is that a fair representation of your position?

If so, thoughts have just as valid an existence in our consciousness as ourselves. Ergo, there are thoughts. 🙂

P.S. People who speculate on this stuff have way too much time on their hands

if I haven’t replied forthwith, Nemo, to your
comment, it is that I found myself with too
little time on my hands to do other things
that required my more immediate, in my
opinion, attention, though I believe time
spent speculating is never a waste of
way too much time on [one’s} hands“,
where would Plato be, or Descartes, or
Russell, Nietzsche, Proust, yes, Proust,
my most revered lingerer, and the answer
to all my philosophical prayers, but that’s
another story I’m sure we’ll get to, if they
hadn’t dawdled around profundities 
 
and who’s to say we’re not up to the
mark, and who could say we are, but
for conversations that test the waters,
like this one
 
so I, for one, will deliberate when I get
the chance, which, incidentally, is not a
lot of the time, despite objections that I
might be nevertheless still wasting it 
 
and I return to the fray like a kid to a
very candy shop
 
thanks
 
 
let me point out that Plato would be
proud of us, would’ve been proud of
us, to whose time frame should we
here, do you think, refer, I think Plato
this time could take prominence, if
you’ll allow this playful speculative
divergence
  
 
this, our talk, is his Socrates discussing
with his Euthyphro, or his other acolytes,
ephebes, describing the Socratic Method,
Nemo, we’re carrying on the tradition,
which 2500 years later still vigorously
applies
 
Plato, incidentally, c. 428 BC – c. 347 BC
 
 
there are a few problems in your argument,
from my perspective, you say “you agree that
we’re aware of our thoughts at the same time as
we’re aware of our own existence”, but that’s an
extrapolation, I am at the most aware of only
one thought, that thought being that
something is thinking, no more, no less
 
but reason interjects, applies itself to
consciousness, and concludes that
something has just thought, the element
of time and memory enters the fray here,
but not yet explicitly, they are the
handmaidens of consciousness 
 
if something is thinking, which by the very
act of thinking this I am doing, something
must be doing it, I’ve already conceived of
this consciousness as, for me, irrefutably
real, having had already an impression
of it 
 
whatever other impression I might add to
this composite, however, is arbitrary and
therefore moot with respect to what might
actually philosophically be real
 
the world and everything in it is in the eye
of the beholder 
 
think about it
 
 
thoughts are an extrapolation from all
that we can be sure we know, but all
of it is nothing more than a dream
 
see Shakespeare
 
          “………………………..We are such stuff
           As dreams are made on; and our little life
            Is rounded with a sleep.”
 
                                             The Tempest – act 4, scene 1
                                                                            lines 156 -158  
 
 
Richard
 
 
 
 

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (3)‏

 

having thrilled at the very first moment of an
apparent convergence on the Internet with
a kindred spirit, of the intellect, let me point
out, rather than of the more pressing, for
some, senses, I gurgled out a ready program 
of philosophical positions to him meant to
engage and perhaps more profoundly
together ponder   
 
to my delight the conversation took hold
and is ensuing, I thought I’d share 
 
here is the third instalment, the first two are
available on my counterpart’s impressive blog,
“Ennead”, of which to date he’s got three 
 
at the bottom in the comments section,
should you be interested 
 
how, of course, could you not      
 
 
Richard  
 
              _____________________ 
 
 
Date: Sat, 2 Mar 2013 19:19:11 +0000
To Richibi’s Weblog
From: comment-reply@wordpress.com
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus
 
Descartes did not prove the existence of “I”. To prove that something exists, you cannot presuppose its existence and say “something” does this or that. In other words, “I exist” is the condition that comes before “I think”, not after. If Descartes wanted to prove the existence of “I”, he made the mistake of circular logic, putting the cart before the horse.Even if we grant that the individual is conscious of the “I”. Does the “I” exist as a part, a mere concept, in his thoughts, just as other people exist as mere concepts of his thoughts, or is there an “I” beyond his consciousness? To borrow the imagery of Plotinus, does the Moon exist as part of the reflection in the water, or does it exist independently outside the water?

Plato’s theory encompasses both change and immutability. They are incomplete without the other, nay, they cannot exist without the other. This is proven by our own experience. We can observe changes only because we’re using something static as a reference

first of all, Nemo, thank you for this conversation,
I’m finding this exercise very stimulating, not many 
have called me on my philosophical positions, not
many, I suspect, having given these positions much
thought in the first place, you are perhaps a kindred
spirit, what a delight 
 
and as such I can only be, respectfully and humbly
ever, forthright 
 
in a Socratic, as it were, contract 
 
this part of Plato, incidentally, is the only part I accept,
his celebration of the Socratic Method, to put words
later into the greater philosopher’s mouth, to me, is
highly unethical, especially to spout with that authority
such drivel  
 
you can tell I don’t like Plato
 
 
the flurry of consciousness is the clue, in Descartes,
the moment of realization, the inkling of perception,
that allows us to know that something is behind that,
producing that, without which there would be no
actuality, that something is what we call “I”
 
interestingly, “Cogito, ergo sum”, the Latin, often used,
translation of the original French, “Je pense, donc je
suis”, doesn’t show an “I” in its very grammar, which
is an apt demonstration of the proposition we are
discussing
 
if there is conscioussness of something being
conscious, something must be being conscious,
that something Descartes called “moi”, we call
“me”, others call whatever they call it   
 
therefore I am
 
but I could not have done that without consciousness,
nebulous and indeterminate consciousness, but that’s
all we have, all we’ve ever had   
 
Plato tried to fashion an alternate, paternalistic, I might
add, conscience driven, later driven-by-Christian-fear,
reality, somewhere out there, that lasted for all of the 
Middle, did I say Middle or Dark, Ages, a good thousand,
count them, thousand, years, conservatively even
speaking  
 
Nietzsche got rid of that, finally, but still all of nearly
five hundred years later
 
oof   
 
 
where does Plato “encompass[–] both change and
immutability“, “The Republic” makes short shrift of
that, how is this “proven by our own experience
 
I like “We can observe changes only because we’re
using something static as a reference“, where did
you get that, I’ll have to ponder it
 
but “static” is my stumbling block, in a world
I cannot see as in any way static, autocratic,
unbending 
 
help   
 
 
read also Ovid 
 
 
cheers
 
Richard 
 
psst: I’m putting this thrilling conversation on my 
            blog, look out for it