Sunday, December 13, 2009

Emerson says that Plato is the epitome of the European mind

the greatest Platonic dialogue?
from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman) Having been on a renewed Plato kick lately,

However, if someone were to use the same standard and ask: “who are the two greatest philosophers of all time?”, I wouldn’t hesitate to answer Plato and Aristotle. Though I’m obviously not one of those “ancients vs. moderns” antiquarians who views all of modernity as a degeneration, total mastery of the complete works of Plato and Aristotle would be a better philosophical training than anything else I can imagine.

Heidegger’s view (though I guess it’s really Nietzsche’s view) that Plato marks a step down from the pre-Socratics strikes me as one of the most fateful errors one could make in assessing the history of Western philosophy. I love the pre-Socratics, but none of them is in Plato’s league. [...]

While reserving the right to change my mind later (and I mean that), my instincts still lead me to choose the Meno. It’s certainly not his greatest literary masterpiece (that would probably be the Phaedrus). But I can’t think of another dialogue where all of the most powerful Platonic weaponry is deployed so successfully, and so economically, against anti-philosophy.

A note on Orientalism from The Joyful Knowing by Mike Johnduff

Harman has actually been pretty good about trying to historicize his own concepts, at least on the personal level (I've never heard a person so frankly admit exactly when they really figured out Husserl before, as he does in Prince of Networks)--and philosophy, as history of philosophy as an area of study grows, is no doubt getting better in general in this area. 2:29 PM

Re: Social Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and the New Age by Kishor Gandhi—an Appraisal by RY Deshpande Mirror of Tomorrow
by auroman on Fri 11 Dec 2009 07:46 PM IST Profile Permanent Link
Of course, the Greeks did not link their division of society to the four divine powers. These are discussions from the Evening talks.

"Disciple : Plato says that each form has its own "Idea" that is, behind the form is a fixed Idea of the type a and it is that which persists while it is the individual that varies. The genus remains the same on the plane of Idea ?

Sri Aurobindo : But where is the Idea ?

Disciple : In Plato. (Laughter)

Disciple : I do not suppose Plato meant a mental abstrac­tion by his "Idea". It may mean "creative conception"

Sri Aurobindo : Plato had very mathematical ideas about these things. If he meant by it the creative conception then there are several things in it. First of all, it is not a mental idea but what I call the Real-Idea : that is Idea with a Reality and a Power. Now, corresponding to every form there is what may be called the "archetype" ;the type-form, and it already exists in the Idea – the ; Real-Idea – before it exists in matter. Everything exists first in consciousness and then in matter.

Disciple : Could that be the Mahat-Brahma of which the Gita speaks ?

Sri Aurobindo : I do not know if Plato had some dim inti­mation of the Supramental; but as his mind was mathematical he cast it into rigid rational and mental forms. That was the Greek mind.


Disciple : Writing about Plato, Emerson says that he is the epitome of the European mind for the last 2000 years.

Sri Aurobindo : It is true; – the European mind got every- thing and owes everything to the Greeks. Every branch of knowledge in which human curiosity could be interested has been given to Europe by the; Greeks. The Roman could fight and legislate, he could keep the states together, but he made the Greek think for him. Of course, the Greeks also could fight but not always so well. The Roman thinkers, Cicero, Seneca, Horace, all owe their philosophy to the Greeks. That, again, is another illustration of what I was speaking of as the inrush of forces. Consider a small race like the Greeks living on the small projecting tongue of land : this race was able to build up a culture that has given everything essential to your modern European culture and that in a span of 200 to 300 years only !

Disciple : And the number of artists they produced was remarkable.

Sri Aurobindo : They had the sense of beauty. The one thing that modern Europe has not assimilated from the Greeks is the sense of beauty. One can't say the modern European culture is beautiful. The same can be said of ancient India, it had beauty, much of which it has since lost. And now we are fast losing more and more of it under the European influence. It is true that the Greeks did not create everything, they received many elements from Egypt, Crete and Asia."

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