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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

April 4th, 2008

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08:57 am - I thought for years that Socrates had a guy named "Playdough" on the payroll
I have been reading an interesting argument that Plato's work doesn't fit with Indo-European religious worldviews (or, using a term I prefer, "cosmovision"), and that they are a complete 180° turn from the basis of IE religions.

I find this freakin' hilarious, for a variety of reasons. Later work based off Plato doesn't really fit with IE religious norms, anyway: theurgy, for instance, leaves behind many IE norms and stops making sense pretty quickly in IE religious contexts, and his cosmological understandings affect add to the speed at which later theories take off (anyone who has suffered through the cave metaphor in his Republic will know what I mean).

I think I like this most because getting out from under the burden of Greek philosophers is pretty darn tough, and it really does help make sense of why we do ritual when we sort of step away from them and reconsider things more objectively.
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(9 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)


I have an urge now to create one of those 3D pictures using fire, well, and tree, and holding a ritual where "aligning the cosmos" involves putting on red and green glasses. Just to drive home the point that we're not, IMHO, reordering the cosmos *itself* when we do ritual, but rather that we're reordering our *perception* of the cosmos.
[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)

Re: cosmovision

Ooh! Ooh! Do it! Please!
[User Picture]
Date:April 4th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
I am just getting into the philosophers, especially the stoics, I know next to nothing about Plato however.
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
What is that interesting argument? Link me!

P.S. Your parrot is too cute. We used to have a blue and gold macaw as I was growing up.
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2008 04:52 am (UTC)
The basic argument (from A Persian Offering: The Yasna: A Zoroastrian High Liturgy) is summed up in this quote, I think:
"The realm of the material world visible to the physical senses and made of particular, changing things, is called in Pahlavi the getig realm. It derives its existence, order and meaning from the archetypal menog world of Wisdom. But unlike the Platonic vision, the finite world of humans, animals, earth, water, plants, metals, and fire (the seven creations), is understood as a positive manifestation and completion of the menog realm rather than a shadowy, imperfect reflection of it. The Zoroastrian theological vision tends to erase the Platonic dividing line between the particular material world, in its pure state, is a manifestation and exemplification of the archetypal forms. To translate the word getig by the term "physical" and menog as "spiritual" is seriously misleading if these translations carry the additional connotation of a metaphysical dualism which understands the physical as different in kind from the spiritual.

The real dualism in Zoroastrian theology is not metaphysical but ethical, a dualism between good and evil. The goal in human life is not to climb out of a Platonic cave of this world up to the world of forms, but to so purify our physical and mental world that the archetypal principles and powers of the realm of wisdom can become more fully manifest, both in the internal world of human thoughts and attitudes and in the external world that sustains life."
This particular argument is dead-on in my experience of IE religions: They're about the world we live in, not about the internal world that only you can experience. As theurgy develops from Neoplatonic thought, it becomes less concerned with the world, and more concerned with the self. I think I may simply be uncomfortable with the concept of egotistical religion that doesn't better the world for all of us (which is what theurgy really is, as is the later Upanishadic tradition that becomes Classical Hinduism). It's refreshing to me to see that Zoroastrianism has retained this concern for the cosmos as a whole, rather than focusing on the self in such a way.

I've been wondering if this affects the ethics project you're working on, but I'm not sure yet. Once we pass Ethics 1, I might have a better idea for you.

P.S. I wish he were real . . .
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
>I've been wondering if this affects the ethics project you're working on, but I'm not sure yet.

It certainly will. Btw, I would tend to agree with you that I-E seems more that way than the Platonic way. Prior to Plato, the Orphic doctrine of soma sema seems headed in the Platonic direction, but they weren't typical I-E cosmologists either I don't think.

>Once we pass Ethics 1, I might have a better idea for you.

I noticed your Ethics 1 and Ethics 2 wiki pages. It looks like they are proposals for courses. By "once we pass Ethics 1", you mean pass it into the list of approved courses? Or do you mean you're taking Ethics 1 right now (as a student)? Just curious.

>P.S. I wish he were real . . .

He's fake? No way! (I thought he looked a little small, but...)
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
Ethics 1 is in "wording" (posted it yesterday for final comments before we vote on it). Once that's done, it'll be open for students. The questions will most closely resemble Raven's exit standards on that page. I can forward you the "wording" mailing tomorrow, if you'd really like to see it (it's already changed a bit).

We're moving on approving a number of additional courses right now, since Kirk, Jenni, and I are nearly finished with the ones we've already approved.
[User Picture]
Date:April 7th, 2008 07:33 am (UTC)
Yes I'd love to see it. ;-D
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC)
Right, but he's asking them to help others free themselves from this world. If anything, IE religions are world-affirming: this is a good world, a place that can be pure and real and full of awesome (to use a more modern turn of phrase). Plato is seeking to bring people out of it, to achieve perfection not attainable here, by elevating their soul away from it. Or so I think :)

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