Subscribe to "A Daily Spiritual Seed" eNewsletter.
ShalomPlace.com    Shalom Place Community    Shalom Place Discussion Groups  Hop To Forum Categories  General Discussion Forums  Hop To Forums  Transformative Experiences    Plato, Heraclitus, and Plotinus on Transformation
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Plato, Heraclitus, and Plotinus on Transformation Login/Join
 
posted
Welcome, John U, and this thread is for you! Smiler

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclitus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plotinus

Any other Great ones of the Pantheon and Parthenon?

Plotinus interests me since David Hawkins and Ken Wilber hold them in such high regard. Hawkins sees Plotinus as equal to Theresa of Avila, Gandhi and Mother Theresa of Calcutta. Wilber places him at the tippy-top along with Nisargadatta, Ramana Maharshi and Ramakrishna.

I made it about half way through the Enneads and the text is very powerful, but I do not claim to understand it. Perhaps you could help me out, John U?

philosophos@rootsofwesterncivilization.net
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Thanks, Michael!

> Any other Great ones of the Pantheon and Parthenon?

Don't forget

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoras

My experience with the Enneads of Plotinus is much like yours. They seemed to require considerable dedicated attention to read. I'll keep your question in mind in case I run across anything helpful.

Maybe you've seen these:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plotinus/

http://www.iep.utm.edu/p/plotinus.htm

People seem to agree that St. Augustine was influenced by Plotinus, perhaps through an intermediate Latin translation. But in any case it's suggested that in Augustine's work we have at least some elements of a Christianized Plotinus.

Plotinus' ideas also probably influenced the Kabbalah.
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Europe | Registered: 08 January 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I thought I'd mention an excellent book:

Louth, Andrew
The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys. 2nd ed.
New York: Oxford University Press, 2007 (orig. vers. 1981) ISBN: 0199291403.

The first chapter is about Plato. You can read a substantial excerpt of the chapter at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Origins-...Plato/dp/0199291403/
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Europe | Registered: 08 January 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
John U,

Augustine's Platonic influence, as well as Aristotle's influence on Aquinas and almost every Christian theologian thereafter, and onto Miamonides
in the Jewish world, have been blamed for everything
from imperialism, authoritarianism, mysogyny, fear of sexuality, perversion, destruction of the environment and aboriginal peoples, mad scientists and human experimentation, and an overall paradigm
of controling nature rather than conforming to it.

Kaballah, Enneagram, Plotinus, Ken Wilber's Theory
of Everything on All Quadrants, All Levels, as well as systems theory and the second tier of consciousness in spiral dynamics, the integral and
holistic and psychic levels, are all coming forth at this time with some force. Secrets of the Toltecs and Tibet and the Findhorn experiment point toward this.

Plotinus appeals to me more, since the rational intellectual level, the level of reason and science (for the most part) and the university (for the most part) are not a true Symposium of Human Potentiality, since the intellect unaided by intuition and "gnosis" or "noesis" or "mystical" and "transrational" perceptual abilties, and in the Christian tradition I am thinking of Hidegarde Von Bingen and Mechtilde of Magdeburg as prototypical and exemplary, cannot sense the world
as "Zoe" (as God posesses it). This has not yet become a possibility, since the rational level so often confuses symbols with what the symbols represent.

The orgaization of weblog sites is an excellent example of the limitations of a degree in B.S., followed by an M.S.(More of Same), followed by a P.H.D. (Piled on Higher and Deeper) leading to an endless categorization and catalogue of abstractions, disconnected from the essential reality or holon which they attempt to desribe and thereby seek to control.

See now even I am foolishly doing it... Wink
Alan Watts goes a long way toward messing with this all to common brand of arrogant smugness afflicting fully 20% of the population, the people in the corridors of power, with all of the tools of the court jester who mocketh the emperor and king. Intellect is king, until Wisdom pulls it off the throne.


Zen Buddhism is altogether designed to frustrate this endless process. Solomon said the of the making of books (or blogs), there is no end. In the Testament these people are described as forever learning and never able to come to knowledge of the truth, or professing themselves wise they became fools.

The first man who showed me the twelve steps let me know right off the bat that this knowledge would be more valuable than a master's degree.

It worked, since I can now see essences, as essence of propaganda, essence of fascism, essence
of genocide, essence of greed, etc, where many chickenhawks and Christian soldiers who play master of the universe in their pajamas are completely clueless and confused about these essences, wheras those who have been through a transformative process, whether Jungian, Integral,
Transpersonal, Meditative, Recovery Model, Holistic, Mystic, Gestalt or even a good Peyote trip in the Sweat Lodge frequently demonstrate an ability to see through the symbols to the essence.

This save time, and a stitch in time saves nine.
Unfortunatley, the level of reason and intellect gives one a sense of Godlike powers and becomes very addictive, and consequently is very hard to let go of, but nevertheless the difficult step in a requirement for transrational thought.

How can we tell if we are there? Do we have a Wise
God or a Loving God? If it's a mixture of both a Wise and a Loving God, then we may be close to making the leap.

Does Plato in fact say that God is Love or that God is wise? I'm asking since you might help me with this. When Plotinus speaks of the Good, the True and the Beautiful, or the One, I believe that
he is speaking of a level of a Loving God and perhaps even beyond that, to the Source.

Thank you and shalom, mm <*))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
We cross-posted, which sometimes indicates synchronicity. I am a tad-bit superstitious, perhaps
overly so at times, but John U. shows us when John U. is called for. My world works this way if I am connected. When synchronicity does not occur, I am concerned.

A spooky thing happened today. I laid hands on a house where I knew that criminal activity was taking place. I said, "clean it up", and returning from the store I noticed two of the occupants were sitting out front in a squad car. How does this happen? It just does.

Anyways, I have been pulling out some books about the Church Fathers is anticipation of our conversation. It will be good for me, as I have been straying from the Rock and Foundation a bit.

The Orthodox rely less on Aristotle and Aquinas. Does that make them more Pure? More Eastern? Better? I'm not sure. Merton had doubts, and they have their doubts about him.

Tomorrow. (Which of course, never comes) -mm
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
We cross-posted, which sometimes indicates synchronicity. I am a tad-bit superstitious, perhaps
overly so at times, but John U. shows us when John U. is called for. My world works this way if I am connected. When synchronicity does not occur, I am concerned.

A spooky thing happened today. I laid hands on a house where I knew that criminal activity was taking place. I said, "clean it up", and returning from the store I noticed two of the occupants were sitting out front in a squad car. How does this happen? It just does.

Anyways, I have been pulling out some books about the Church Fathers is anticipation of our conversation. It will be good for me, as I have been straying from the Rock and Foundation a bit.

The Orthodox rely less on Aristotle and Aquinas. Does that make them more Pure? More Eastern? Better? I'm not sure. Merton had doubts, and they have their doubts about him.

Tomorrow. (Which of course, never comes) -mm
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
MM wrote:

> When synchronicity does not occur, I am concerned.

That's a good way to put it Smiler

> Anyways, I have been pulling out some books about the Church Fathers

Redisovery of the Patristic heritage--a great thing waiting to happen for Western civilization. Do you realize that all of St. Augustine's works haven't been yet translated to English? Perhaps computers will change that soon.

>The Orthodox rely less on Aristotle and Aquinas

Perhaps it was God's will, and part of the mysterious unfolding of His plan in history, that Plato would be lost to the West until the Renassaince.

This fits generally to my half-baked idea about something I call the "alchemical paradigm". Briefly, that means that things evolve by means of a three-step process of separation, purification, and conjunction.

> Does that make them more Pure?

In particular, the Western tradition benefited, up through present times, by a dissociation of Rationalism and Mysticism. That was the separation phase, during which Rationalism, free from dogmatism and mysticism, was allowed to become more fully developed and elaborated.

Actually, this makes me think there is a sub-phase here. First, say around the time of Scholasticism, Rationalism separated from Mysticism. Then, later, like in the 1600s, Rationalism and Empiricism separated. Rationalism had been separate from Mysticism, but not dogmatism. Empiricism became distinct from both Rationalism and dogmatism.

Now we are in the purification phase--whereby we extract the conjoinable portions of each. Then we can marry the purified elements, to help achieve the Unus Mundus, or nondualistic worldview.
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Europe | Registered: 08 January 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
mm,

quote:
Originally posted by mysticalmichael9:
[qb]Intellect is king, until Wisdom pulls it off the throne.[/qb]
That's an excellent quote. Where does it come from?

quote:
[qb]Does Plato in fact say that God is Love or that God is wise?[/qb]
Perhaps Plato is too wise to try to pin things down that specifically.

There is no question that he makes a strong connection between God and Love. And Beauty, too--which is something we don't seem to hear a great deal about in today's Christianity.

So far I'm working under the hypothesis--perhaps incorrectly--that everything important in Plotinus can be found in Plato. Plotinus considered himself a Platonist, not a neoplatonist. Plato's works are more artful and poetic, whereas Plotinus attempts a systematization--which is, per your other comments, perhaps not what we should be seeking.

In any case, my goal is to learn Plato before worrying much about Plotinus.

On the other hand, should synchronicity or intuition lead me to read neoplatonist works, that's okay, too.

And, as a case in point, here's a link to Iamblichus' "Life of Pythagoras", which I ran across and thought you might find interesting.

http://www.completepythagoras.net/mainframeset.html

Enjoy
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Europe | Registered: 08 January 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Hi MM and John U,

Thanks for the links and the comments.

I've tried to understand Plotinus: read some of the Enneads; studied in detail the book you mentioned, John, Andrew Louth's, The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition; studied Bernard McGinn's section on Plotinus; and enjoyed Pierre Hadot's book, What is Ancient Philosophy.

In my Protestant theological training I was taught to be suspicious of Neoplatonic influence in Christian tradition. It was seen as not incarnational enough and undermining the doctrine of bodily resurrection. I was taught to be suspicious of the notion that the soul can exist separate from a physical body.

My perspective shifted when I had an experience of separation from bodily sensation. I'd like to share about it, if I may. Warning: Here goes. Smiler

In a rush of pleasure, my body shaped luminous "soul" floated up away from my flesh (liberation from a prison is an apt metaphor). Then the pleasure faded and there was nothing but a breeze-like whisper, a sensation of ascent and my intensely alert, non-anxious witness consciousness, And I thought, "This is what the Neoplatonists were talking about." Before then, I had always thought of their teaching in dogmatic terms, it had never occurred to me that it might be an attempt to articulate the meaning of a mystical experience. That was my last thought before a gap in awareness: complete non duality with personal annihilation, deep sleep of a different order, mystical union with the Neoplatonic "One."

I remember clearly the moments of going into the "gap" and coming out. When I was going in I was ascending, when I came out I was back down in my body (as Plotinus said, "I don't know how I came down" meaning, I was conscious during ascent but not during descent) there was a perception of sparks falling and quickly, I was whole, perfectly at rest, luminous and weightless while connected with my body, my memory empowered but free of content. Unlike coming out of ordinary deep sleep, there was no groggy waking up phase.

Such "ascent of the soul to the One" happened to me only once. That was in January of '95. But it has changed my view of spiritual disciplines. It has given me a kind of experiential color palate with which to do my contemplative art. It is unforgettable. All my study of the books mentioned above was subsequent to the experience.

If anyone has the energy for it, I'm interested in conversation about the relationship between the study of the sources cited above on one hand, and on the other, mystical experience and spiritual discipline.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Hi John:
In your post you said,"In particular, the Western tradition benefited, up through present times, by a dissociation of Rationalism and Mysticism. That was the separation phase, during which Rationalism, free from dogmatism and mysticism, was allowed to become more fully developed and elaborated."

I have not studied philosophy so please excuse
my limitations is discussing this topic, and perhaps deep ignorance in what you are saying.

By rationalism are you saying rational thinking? Just curious how you see that the Western tradition has benefited being dissociated from
Mysticism. As Ryan mentioned reading and thinking about something is one thing, experiencing it is something totally different.


To me, being separted from Mysticism means to be separated from the "experience" of my journey. How could this benefit me.

Thanks
Ajoy
 
Posts: 135 | Registered: 05 August 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Ryan:
[qb]

In a rush of pleasure, my body shaped luminous "soul" floated up away from my flesh (liberation from a prison is an apt metaphor). [/qb]
I'm realizing that that comment I made might have upset Plotinus. He hated the idea, put forward by some gnostics, that the body and the world are a prison; instead, he affirmed the goodness of the creator and of life in the world.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plotinus

I'm persuaded. It was not liberation from the prison of the body per se. That is why I chose the word "flesh" -- implying, as in Pauline usage, a relationship with the body disordered by sin. In a well ordered relationship with the mortal body, spirit and body walk in harmony.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

ShalomPlace.com    Shalom Place Community    Shalom Place Discussion Groups  Hop To Forum Categories  General Discussion Forums  Hop To Forums  Transformative Experiences    Plato, Heraclitus, and Plotinus on Transformation