A Classic Recording: The Sacred Myths of Plato–Plato’s Republic

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A great lecture from Pierre Grimes…

Upcoming Seminar/Workshop: The Practice of the Dialectic.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 through Sunday evening April 28, 2013. For details, click here.

Philosophical Midwifery and the Struggle for Excellence in Homer

This paper was first presented at The First World Olympic Congress of Philosophy in Athens-Spetses, from June 27th to July 4th, 2004.

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By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D. 
Revised for the web by Sean P. Orfila

The shadows on the wall in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and the Upper World are the man-made icons of man that we have been led to believe are our ideals, but they are merely shadows of justice flickering on the wall of the cave.

The mystery we will explore is why we accepted images for our reality and why they have the power to transform our lives. The craft that fashions and supports these images are the work of sophistry.

The issue before us is to discover how we were persuaded to believe as true what is manifestly false and how we can learn to be free of such sophistry.

Challenging such sophistry is the time-honored goal of Platonic philosophy and it is this that makes Philosophical Midwifery a major part of a philosophy whose goals are at once spiritual and rational.

The good life is open to all through the participation in mind for this is what illumines our struggle to achieve our highest and most profound excellence, arete.

Continue reading Philosophical Midwifery and the Struggle for Excellence in Homer

50 Questions for Mastering the Art of Philosophical Midwifery:

By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.

The following questions are challenges to both the philosophical community and the wider intellectual community and can be considered as central to a mode of philosophical counseling called philosophical midwifery.

Continue reading 50 Questions for Mastering the Art of Philosophical Midwifery:

The Dialectic in Plato’s Republic

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By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.
Adapted and edited for the web by Sean P. Orfila

Philosophical Midwifery as a mode of psychotherapy is based, in part, upon Plato’s rationalism and his dialectic, both of which are explored in depth in his Republic. In the Republic, he builds an imaginary city-state as a contemplative model for the philosopher’s “ascension to reality” (521D), producing in him “the image and likeness of God” (501C).

It is this ascent that is called true philosophy. Whether the political reality of that city-state exists now or in the future is of no concern to the philosopher (592B).

To achieve that end, Plato outlines a threefold goal:

  • To gain an understanding of the mind (533B; 534B);
  • To understand and experience the Idea of the Good (508E; 526E) and
  • To achieve a vision of the Good itself (519D; 540A).

While they are all achieved through the dialectic, this article will only examine an aspect of the first: understanding the mind.

Continue reading The Dialectic in Plato’s Republic

A new paradigm shift to a Platonic world is gathering force

Among the ideas that moderns are taught to belittle and dismiss off hand are the ideas of the soul’s survival after death and the claim that when the soul is separated from the body it encounters a vivid and intelligible reality that is compassionate and just.  While these old Platonic ideas are given a artful and dramatic presentation in Plato’s Republic, in the Tale of Er, they are not part of our cultural view.  Obviously it runs counter to the scientific paradigm of knowledge that dominates our education and culture. Well, things are changing in a fundamental way.
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We have a new book to recommend:  Proof of Heaven, which is a scientist’s case for the afterlife  based upon his own Er-like experience, authored by Dr. Eben Alexander.  He clearly outlines his case and in doing so he discusses the weaknesses of the scientific hypotheses he had been taught. He realizes the far reaching implications of maintaining that the after-world is truly real and has its own integrity.  Not only has he come to realize that our everyday world is a reflection, but, indeed, it is a reflection of a higher, vital, compassionate multifaceted intelligible reality.

Saturdays at the Park with Pierre

So today, March 9th I arrived at the park late and there was a discussion already taking place. I was posed several questions.

One of which was if the Apology, or more correctly Defense of the Fables of Homer which Proclus wrote would be acceptable if it were effective, although it may not be exhaustive of all points of attack—since for example it leaves out completely the points against imitation that are argued in Book 10.

I didn’t think so at that moment although later I agreed. The other question was about one of those points that Proclus hadn’t defended—Helen’s hatred of Zeus and decision to “beguile” or “deceive” him.

Nobuya had raised that question and I also had added to the argument thatthe Gods are not to deceive in word or deed—one of the norms in Book 2 following which tales are to be written towards the education of the guardian youth.

Pierre made a comparison with the model of Eve seducing or “beguiling” Adam and leading him to his downfall, the proximate cause of evil. And here is Hera apparently in the same role. But there is good evidence in Homer’s Iliad  that both Zeus and Hera grew following the lovemaking on Mount Ida.

Proclus gives an account in his “Apology” that cites their assimilation and conversion upon the higher, Cronos and Rhea as models. It is said to lead to their perfection. So, the archetype for seduction leading to lovemaking in the Iliad is the cause of perfection, yet the seduction in the Bible and especially in the understanding of it the many have of it is viewed as the downfall of man.

In this exploration a rather curious question was asked, is the practice of courage necessary for lovemaking and Ingmar gave a precise and, to my mind at the time, complete account of it from Book 4. Yet I was troubled and said he was leaving two things out—the relationship with what had been said about Zeus and Hera and the way the parts of the soul came together.

What I ended up haltingly recalling though was the definition of Justice at the end of Book 4 where Plato sets the excellences, Wisdom, Courage, Justice and Sophosune or soundmindedness together. The model was so clear to my mind, it was almost shining, yet my recall was lame.

Ingmar, I think you left out the “power” and began your account of courage with faith. And the united power resulting from the soul as one makesthe state as I described it at the time, a tantric love state, in which the powers of the soul of each part of the soul are united and there is a vertical impulse toward the radiant light of Being and beyond to the Good, the One.

Hmmm . . . any thoughts?

Dreams and the Philosopher

By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.

It is generally agreed among philosophers and those in the social science that in Plato’s Republic, the training of the philosopher king includes such topics as arithmetic, geometry, harmony, astronomy, and the dialectic, but only a few know that there is another necessary study that Plato says reaches truth.

The truth he refers to is not a general kind of knowledge as with those other studies but a knowledge personal and particular to the individual. Those studies of the philosopher, even the dialectic, do not bring him any closer to the Delphic “know thyself”. Thus, after these general studies are mastered there is still the need to learn personal things about oneself the ignorance of which can have tragic consequences.

Continue reading Dreams and the Philosopher