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ancient secret societies

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posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 05:54 PM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


It is fine if you dont remember the place where Plato says that about initiations, I am sure it is there somewhere, like you say perhaps just in a different work, and if it isnt easily accessible, it isnt that big a deal. No need to do a research project for it.


I think that it is a HUGE mistake to think of Plato as "elitist." Although TONS of philosophy teachers in modern times take great pains to leave their students with that idea of Plato. Socrates did not turn anyone away who wanted to learn from him and dialogue with him. AND he charged no fee. The charging of a fee is "elitist" as well, remember. Not everyone makes the money required to spend on "luxuries" like education. Trust me, I know. I had to perform years of hard labor, (literally) earning the money to pay for my degree.

And if you are female, there is a very good chance in ancient Greece that your family would not see any point in paying a fee for you to be educated, regardless whether or not the Sophist would accept you as a student. Plato was very much in the minority for his time in allowing women the same opportunities as men, assuming they had the ability to utilize those opportunities. It always amazes me how people turn Plato into an elitist, when in fact he was groundbreakingly liberal. In fact in ancient Greece, your gender, your class, determined EVERYTHING. Only in the Republic (for the times) was it proposed that your talents and abilities should dictate your limits, not your birth. How is that elitist? I am not scolding you, but I am thinking you probably got your idea of what Plato stood for from anothers opinion, not your own careful reading of his text. Greece was a democracy, but not the democracy you know. It was a democracy for freeborn, male, Greek citizens only.

Ability or character limits who can learn the Mysteries because they do, not because someone says they do. It isnt someone choosing you, like "yes I will take you," and "no you beat it." It isnt like that. Think more like Koans in eastern philosophy. You either "see" whats there, and move forward, or you dont, and you stay where you are. It isnt prejudice, or meaness. The mysteries literally cannot be spoken, cannot be instructed that way. They can be "helped along" by nurturing from another, but you have to have the faculty of "sight" to even play the game. No one would ask you to describe a field of flowers in great detail to see if you had "sight" that would be harsh. But they point and see if you are looking at the finger or the moon. If you are looking at the finger, you arent ready. It isnt mean. It is just that in a tradition that must in large require you to "look," you have to be able to "see." All allegorical references, sight and looking are common analogies because of all the capacitites they are the closest. It is not literal.

Edit: I looked for further information about the loss of Protagoras' written works, and found no mention of a "loss" of them. Usually if someone has written works others have found important, they will mention them in their own writings that survive, regardless of whether or not the text of the first person survives. We know about lots of "lost" works in this way. Sometimes writings are just lost. It isnt always a matter of suppression. Plato's works survived because he took great pains to make them "work" only for those properly inclined. Had he written the "exposition" of his ideology that so many moderns complain about him not writing, I assure you the church would have destroyed them. He left them. They are hidden in plain sight. You just have to have eyes to see them. (And be willing to read them, not just the Cliffs notes.) They ARE slow going. They are not meant to be zipped through. Perserverence pays off.



[edit on 21-1-2008 by Illusionsaregrander]




posted on Jan, 22 2008 @ 05:18 AM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


Thank you for that post, highly educational (my favourite kind). As I said I have a very literal mind, allegory often goes over my head. Not the best mind I think for the classics. You have corrected many misconception that I obviously had about Plato - I just picked it up and read it as a book, no preconceptions etc, but obviously I needed a better understanding of the background before I tackled it and didn't give it justice. I'll try it again - however, your passion though contagious doesn't detract from the fact that I did find it a difficult read - so no immediate hurry, some day
(or perhaps there is a Plato for Dummies :lol



posted on Jan, 22 2008 @ 10:00 AM
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I finally got around to reading your sources Illusionsofgrandeur, and I thank you personally for taking the time to enlighten me. If any questions arise I will post them here.



posted on Jan, 22 2008 @ 05:19 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


I just picked it up and read it as a book, no preconceptions etc, but obviously I needed a better understanding of the background before I tackled it and didn't give it justice. I'll try it again - however, your passion though contagious doesn't detract from the fact that I did find it a difficult read - so no immediate hurry, some day
(or perhaps there is a Plato for Dummies :lol




As I said, it is meant to be difficult. It really doesnt read like a novel, his writing is geared in such a way that you become a participant in the dialogue with him, and in your mind you are meant to be considering and constructing images of what is being discussed, and coming to conclusions on your own. He gives you no answers, he is trying to guide the process of your reasoning so that you come up with your own. It IS a slow difficult process, because he is "showing" you how to use abstraction to "see" (image, in your mind) alternate views. The texts can change you, not just inform you, and that is why they are such slow going.

As for not expending the effort, (again, not a lecture, just tranmission of a little fact) Plato does mention in the Republic that that unwillingness to make the pursuit of wisdom the overarching DRIVE of your being is a self selecting "exclusionary" device. HE would not exclude you. He left his works in writing to allow ANYONE who had access to them the opportunity to gain from them. However his understanding of human nature, and of the nature required to comprehend the "mysteries" was so complete, and so profound that he knew that only those inclined by nature would be willing, or able to glean the magic from those texts. Understand that at the highest levels no "master" would exclude ANYONE able and willing to comprehend the "mysteries." What ends up happening is that WE exclude ourselves.

All of that said, I am passionate about the ancient Greeks, and my love of Plato is clear. However, that said, he is only one of many who left the "mysteries" in writing. Eastern philosophy also abounds with it. As do many other sources. That source YOU posted, the masonic document, contains many of exactly the same elements, in different word choices. There is no "one right way." The right way is the way that calls you, period. So if Plato isnt your way, there is no shame in that at all. There is a right way for your mind, for your being, and you are already on it. What YOU need will come along when you need it to, and all you have to do is be open, be "looking" (allegorical) and not sell yourself short.

I have enjoyed your posts also.



posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 08:24 AM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander

It is fine if you dont remember the place where Plato says that about initiations, I am sure it is there somewhere, like you say perhaps just in a different work, and if it isnt easily accessible, it isnt that big a deal. No need to do a research project for it.


In the Timeaus, Socrates and Timeaus are discussing virtue. They finally map out a few solid doctrines when, towards the end of the dialogue, Socrates tells Timeaus that if he *really* wants to learn virtue, he should accompany him to the Mysteries and be initiated.


I think that it is a HUGE mistake to think of Plato as "elitist." Although TONS of philosophy teachers in modern times take great pains to leave their students with that idea of Plato. Socrates did not turn anyone away who wanted to learn from him and dialogue with him. AND he charged no fee. The charging of a fee is "elitist" as well, remember. Not everyone makes the money required to spend on "luxuries" like education. Trust me, I know. I had to perform years of hard labor, (literally) earning the money to pay for my degree.


Amen, I agree completely. Plato espoused meritocracy. This can be considered "elitist", but in a good sort of way. It has nothing to do with money or influence. Plato's "elite" were those who sought justice, truth, knowledge, and virtue, and who lived by the principles they learned.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Plato on the other hand is widely read,

You mention later that Plato took great pains to ensure that his work was preserved...can you tell me if there was continuity in its scholarship in the west - I had believed that much of Greek knowledge migrated east rather than west... If so, was there a point at which the study of Plato was rediscovered/revitalized in the west?


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander

classics.mit.edu...


I like this a lot. I can see very many similarities with the little that I have read of Freemasonry, and now understand better why I was struck by the similarity with the Regius Manuscript. It is most interesting. I was particularly struck by the following three passages….


If she should appear to him to be following a policy which is not a good one, he should say so, provided that his words are not likely either to fall on deaf ears or to lead to the loss of his own life. But force against his native land he should not use in order to bring about a change of constitution, when it is not possible for the best constitution to be introduced without driving men into exile or putting them to death; he should keep quiet and offer up prayers for his own welfare and for that of his country.



For the one thing which is wholly right and noble is to strive for that which is most honourable for a man's self and for his country, and to face the consequences whatever they may be. For none of us can escape death, nor, if a man could do so, would it, as the vulgar suppose, make him happy. For nothing evil or good, which is worth mentioning at all, belongs to things soulless; but good or evil will be the portion of every soul, either while attached to the body or when separated from it.



Therefore also we should consider it a lesser evil to suffer great wrongs and outrages than to do them. The covetous man, impoverished as he is in the soul, turns a deaf ear to this teaching; or if he hears it, he laughs it to scorn with fancied superiority, and shamelessly snatches for himself from every source whatever his bestial fancy supposes will provide for him the means of eating or drinking or glutting himself with that slavish and gross pleasure which is falsely called after the goddess of love. He is blind and cannot see in those acts of plunder which are accompanied by impiety what heinous guilt is attached to each wrongful deed, and that the offender must drag with him the burden of this impiety while he moves about on earth, and when he has travelled beneath the earth on a journey which has every circumstance of shame and misery.



Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Where the actual "source" country for this mystic truth is, we may never know. I think it is actually more likely that there are born those who discern it in every time and place. We only have the recorded words of some very few of them.


You’re more of a poet than I am, I see loss and rediscovery as a possible explanation. A more cynical eye. Humans were so very widely traveled, trade routes intersected and information was traded. As population waned and repaired information was lost and forgotten, then later discovered via the scholarship that accompanied the Ottomans, Sephardic Jews and Latinisation. With that order it was late arriving in western Europe and the forms that had survived were eradicated by the European crusades – Cathars, Bogomils etc. IMO. The second paragraph that I linked above is very in keeping with the dualism that is so prominent in the Cathar’s structure of belief.

The last paragraph makes me think of Ephesus and the burial practices of the early Jews…the Cathar confession…the crucifixion…much to think about. Very surprising.

Christ must indeed be the word and the word is god.

You have been most helpful in opening my eyes to Plato. I had so obviously missed the point and missed much as a result. Maturity has many rewards and I found this piece most illuminating. Thank you.



posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout

You mention later that Plato took great pains to ensure that his work was preserved...can you tell me if there was continuity in its scholarship in the west - I had believed that much of Greek knowledge migrated east rather than west... If so, was there a point at which the study of Plato was rediscovered/revitalized in the west?


I wish I had the sort of mind that recorded dates and times and places with unfailing accuracy, but I dont. I am more a student of Philosophy itself than of history, and so the concepts are what stick with me with with the greatest degree of completness. However, you are right in that Plato's works were for a time during the middle ages preserved primarily in the Arabic world. His view was not entirely popular with the Christian Church of the day, and it was "lost" to the mainstream "West" during that time, though there are some Philosophers even during that time in the West who had some access to his work, we can see this in their writing. Aristotle was far more popular than he with the Church, though he also was not completely acceptable. Part of the problem is knowing what specifically to call the "west." Greece is much closer to the "middle east" geographically than it is to the UK for instance, but we seem to consider it "western." My own personal opinion is that "western" as we use it refers more to a frame of mind than to an actual location. Ironically, my take on the heart of Plato's work, and that of Parmenides and Hereclitus, etc., would place their "mindset" much closer to the mindset of the ancient "Eastern" philosophers. I would and do argue, that "Western" philosophy, (of which Plato and Parmenides, et al, are presumably the "fathers,") is actually a bastard child bearing little resemblance as it is interpreted by many past and current philosophers and taught in institutions of higher learning to the actual philosophy of those "fathers." That said, I would and do argue the same thing about "Christianity." I believe it would be virtually unrecognizable as taught and practiced to Jesus himself.

Also, I dont know that Plato took great pains to "preserve" his work, as in he actively thought "Now how can I make this last for posterity." I do believe that Plato took great pains to construct his work in such a way that the core teaching, or heart of his philosophy was only "visible" to the person whos character was already inclining in that direction. He says so in "The Seventh Letter" of which the following is an excerpt;



I did not, however, give a complete exposition, nor did Dionysios ask for one. For he professed to know many, and those the most important, points, and to have a sufficient hold of them through instruction given by others. I hear also that he has since written about what he heard from me, composing what professes to be his own handbook, very different, so he says, from the doctrines which he heard from me; but of its contents I know nothing; I know indeed that others have written on the same subjects; but who they are, is more than they know themselves. Thus much at least, I can say about all writers, past or future, who say they know the things to which I devote myself, whether by hearing the teaching of me or of others, or by their own discoveries-that according to my view it is not possible for them to have any real skill in the matter. There neither is nor ever will be a treatise of mine on the subject. For it does not admit of exposition like other branches of knowledge; but after much converse about the matter itself and a life lived together, suddenly a light, as it were, is kindled in one soul by a flame that leaps to it from another, and thereafter sustains itself. Yet this much I know-that if the things were written or put into words, it would be done best by me, and that, if they were written badly, I should be the person most pained. "


continued below.

[edit on 27-1-2008 by Illusionsaregrander]



posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 07:28 PM
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continuation of the quote in the previous post. From Plato's "The Seventh Letter"


"Again, if they had appeared to me to admit adequately of writing and exposition, what task in life could I have performed nobler than this, to write what is of great service to mankind and to bring the nature of things into the light for all to see? But I do not think it a good thing for men that there should be a disquisition, as it is called, on this topic-except for some few, who are able with a little teaching to find it out for themselves. As for the rest, it would fill some of them quite illogically with a mistaken feeling of contempt, and others with lofty and vain-glorious expectations, as though they had learnt something high and mighty."



Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
You’re more of a poet than I am, I see loss and rediscovery as a possible explanation. A more cynical eye.


I feel Plato is dead on in that quote from the "Seventh Letter." It doesnt matter if the text or work survives or is passed down, take the Bible for instance. There must be some part of the reader that is aligned with the work already or no understanding is transmitted. Some people are already "primed" but not "realized" and so reading a specific work in a specific tradition may be the thing that "kick them over the top." Some, and here I will stand my ground on the basis of personal knowledge, have the "realization" independantly of study or any specific instruction in the mysteries.

If you think about it, that would make sense if the "mysteries" were describing something "true." There are certain conditions in which this "truth" (and I wont go into it in detail atm, but "truth" in these mysteries is NOT what we think of as "truth" ie: opposed to an opposite, but rather a more "whole" view of "what is") becomes apparent to someone. I believe that every one of us brushes up against this "truth" several times in the course of our lives, but ones habitual thinking often discounts it, dismisses it, and it is overlooked or forgotten. Sometimes, either by accident or design, (as in the case of meditation practice) the "habitual mind" (the persona constructed of memories and thought patterns, "ego") is weakened, and this "truth" is "visible" long enough to impact the consciousness and actual change the "habitual mind."

Perhaps this "brushing up against the mystery" several times in the course of ones life is why, as you point out, maturity counts in Philosophy. (Although I am not an age-ist. Many quite young people experience things beyond their years and so have the maturity that sometimes escapes the eldest of us.) Plato firmly believed that there was a time in a persons life for learning certain types of things, which he outlines in great detail in the "Republic." Philosophy, in his mind was best learned later, though the field of a persons soul was to be tended and cared for throughout life in order to ensure the soil was fertile when it was time for the seeds to be sown.

And I appreciate your comments about getting a different feel for Plato from me. At the same time, I thank you for posting the Masonic texts. I had never seen them, nor likely would have looked for them on my own. I think that is why philosophers are as famous often for their correspondance with other philosophers as they are for their books. There is so much to be read and learn it is far more efficient to specialize in an area and then share the "gems" we find with one another than for all of us to slog through every single work on our own.



posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 08:28 PM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light

In the Timeaus, Socrates and Timeaus are discussing virtue. They finally map out a few solid doctrines when, towards the end of the dialogue, Socrates tells Timeaus that if he *really* wants to learn virtue, he should accompany him to the Mysteries and be initiated.


Thank you for that.
Plato wrote so much and the way my memory works is so, hmmmm, "odd" at times, it may have taken me forever to find that on my own.


Originally posted by Masonic Light
Amen, I agree completely. Plato espoused meritocracy. This can be considered "elitist", but in a good sort of way. It has nothing to do with money or influence. Plato's "elite" were those who sought justice, truth, knowledge, and virtue, and who lived by the principles they learned.


I agree. In considering why so many people get this mistaken idea of Plato as an "elitist" the "Myth of the Metals" came to my mind. (Not surprisingly since in class when we would come to that myth in the Republic that is when the hostile comments from classmates would REALLY start to fly.) If you recall, he basically divides the citizens into classes, Gold, the rulers, Silver, the guardians, and Bronze, the working class. Because today we associate these metals with monetary value, this creates a very strong reaction to someone who may worry they would end up in the "bronze" category.

Two things completely slip the minds of most readers, (and teachers sometimes.) One, you were not BORN into a "class." He makes it very clear that while it is more likely that Bronze parents will have a Bronze child, it was entirely possible that a Gold or Silver child could be born to Bronze parents, and a Bronze child born to Silver or Gold parents. It is evaluated on a case by case basis and your birth does not dictate your class. As you state it is a TRUE meritocracy, unlike here in the US where we espouse the IDEA that anyone can become anything, but in fact this does not actually reflect how things play out. Your class at birth does indeed often limit your ability to move through life in the US, regardless what we like to say or think about that.

Secondly, I love science. Always have. And not all modern philosophers do, though science and philosophy have gone hand in hand since the term was coined. So, it really struck me that what Plato was describing with his myth of the metals was NOT a statement on the relative value of people as we in the money focused modern world may assume. He is describing the "nobility" of the metals. The relative natural affinity for or resistance to "corruption." Gold is considered a "noble" metal in that it is very hard to "corrupt" or tarnish. Bronze, on the opposite end, tarnishes or "corrupts" quite easily. Silver is between the two. His was a statement on the proper sort of soul to be entrusted with power, the ultimate corrupter, not some value laden statement on the WORTH of an individual. He states over and over again that the parts must work in harmony, in their naturally suited places, where they "fit" not where some one randomly decided they should go. They had to work together as each served a purpose and each was valuable to the whole. Everyone seems to forget that his Philosopher kings/queens had very little "luxury" or personal freedom. There was no benefit to power, except the benefit of a justly ruled society for all. His "lowest" class had the greatest material benefit AND the greatest degree of personal freedom.

[edit on 27-1-2008 by Illusionsaregrander]



posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 09:58 PM
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Since the New Testament tells us "There is nothing hidden that won't be made manifest" I personally doubt that secret societies and mystery rites were sanctioned by the Biblical Hebrews. However, other ancient tribes practiced goddess worship which involved secret cults and weird rituals (such as human sacrifice). And for this reason Abraham was called out from amongst them to be the father of a separate nation with Yahweh as their only Supreme Deity. This was a Win-Win situation for the Hebrews!



posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 07:26 AM
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Originally posted by bonijean
Since the New Testament tells us "There is nothing hidden that won't be made manifest" I personally doubt that secret societies and mystery rites were sanctioned by the Biblical Hebrews. However, other ancient tribes practiced goddess worship which involved secret cults and weird rituals (such as human sacrifice). And for this reason Abraham was called out from amongst them to be the father of a separate nation with Yahweh as their only Supreme Deity. This was a Win-Win situation for the Hebrews!


The Bible also says "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." For the most part one has to search actively to have a spiritual experience, I would think that very few have a spiritual awakening without at least some part of searching and making themselves open and receptive to it.It is unfair to lump any and all forms of paganism and shamanism in with human sacrifice.Also the old testament has its share of "weird rituals" , for example burnt offerings and blood sacrifices for remission of sin.

Also don't forget Abraham and Issac, and Yahweh testing Abraham's faith by seeing if he was willing to put his son on the altar.I would say the vast majority of ancient religions if involved in sacrifice used animals, making them no different than Judaism (with the exception of Mezoamericans , Aztecs,Mayans,Toltecs, etc).Also let us not forget that for a very long time in history, Christianity was the predominant religion, and history is always written by the winners.As Christianity spread (often at sword point) anyone whose views were not aligned with the Church's dogma was demonized and converted or burned as a heretic. Meanwhile in order to make a transition to Christianity easier for peasants major Christian holidays coincided with the times of seasonal rites ( Christmas, Easter).



posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 04:59 PM
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It also says: It is given unto you to know the Mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

The admission of Jesus, that the true teachings were hidden (occult) in nature and were always intended to be.

And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying read this, I pray thee: And he saith I cannot for it is sealed.

Christian Mysteries........If they only had a clue.


Good info on Greece and the others. Thanks.



posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 05:05 PM
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People don't talk much about Vodoo and Santeria and those religions

The Orishi's seem to have some similarities to other known myths but are rarely mentioned.



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 05:09 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
… the further from the core "mystery" or "truth" you get, the more elaborate the rituals become. When you get back to the source, you should expect to find none.


I am struggling here, but I feel that what you are implying is that the mystery cannot be ‘taught’ by any system or ritual presentation. It cannot be taught, it cannot be preached and it cannot be learnt by rote. If this is the case why is it that “initiation” is talked of by Plato…does this not suggest ritual? The two companions of Dion, fellow initiates of the mysteries, are shown to be lesser men…initiation is shown by Plato to be no indicator of good character and therefore they’re not in possession of the mystery itself. Am I missing something?

I am not sure I even grasp what the mysteries are, I am assuming they were ‘plays’..? Can you help me with this – when Plato discusses initiation into the mysteries (in the context I mention above) – to what is he referring to? Commencement on the path to understanding the truth or a version of the truth that has been developed into ritual?


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Two things completely slip the minds of most readers, (and teachers sometimes.) One, you were not BORN into a "class." He makes it very clear that while it is more likely that Bronze parents will have a Bronze child, it was entirely possible that a Gold or Silver child could be born to Bronze parents, and a Bronze child born to Silver or Gold parents. It is evaluated on a case by case basis and your birth does not dictate your class…a TRUE meritocracy,…

He is describing the "nobility" of the metals. The relative natural affinity for or resistance to "corruption." Gold is considered a "noble" metal in that it is very hard to "corrupt" or tarnish. Bronze, on the opposite end, tarnishes or "corrupts" quite easily. Silver is between the two. His was a statement on the proper sort of soul to be entrusted with power, the ultimate corrupter, not some value laden statement on the WORTH of an individual. He states over and over again that the parts must work in harmony, in their naturally suited places, where they "fit" not where some one randomly decided they should go. They had to work together as each served a purpose and each was valuable to the whole. Everyone seems to forget that his Philosopher kings/queens had very little "luxury" or personal freedom. There was no benefit to power, except the benefit of a justly ruled society for all. His "lowest" class had the greatest material benefit AND the greatest degree of personal freedom.


It is quite breathtaking in its simplicity. The failing of (almost) every society and civilization has been (and for the foreseeable future will be) corruption, therefore success (for the many) depends upon placing the greatest value on those that cannot or will not be corrupted. Service as its own reward, as opposed to reward for service. It seems that we have been fighting the same demons for centuries, if not millennia…


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Sometimes, either by accident or design, (as in the case of meditation practice) the "habitual mind" (the persona constructed of memories and thought patterns, "ego") is weakened, and this "truth" is "visible" long enough to impact the consciousness and actual change the "habitual mind."

….Plato firmly believed that there was a time in a persons life for learning certain types of things, which he outlines in great detail in the "Republic." Philosophy, in his mind was best learned later, though the field of a persons soul was to be tended and cared for throughout life in order to ensure the soil was fertile when it was time for the seeds to be sown.


I think I understand this now, thank you. I think that Plato also refers to the boundaries set by hope and fear, I feel that is quite pertinent to the inability to see what is right in front of us.


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander

"As for the rest, it would fill some of them quite illogically with a mistaken feeling of contempt, and others with lofty and vain-glorious expectations, as though they had learnt something high and mighty."


The implication here is that those who ‘see the light’ through enquiry and self-discovery achieve humility, while those who are given the ‘light’ use the knowledge for their own ends (and therefore are blind to what they have been shown). ???

Returning to Protagoras and the Sophists, would I be right in saying that Plato’s judgement was based not on a sense of superiority but in a belief that ‘understanding’ cannot be taught, and that to try, demonstrated Protagoras lack of ‘understanding’ (especially when coupled with pupils who felt that the information could be bought)? If someone is not ready they cannot accept the truth and more over if one does not discover it themselves they cannot believe it?

Does Plato discuss the moral implications of this knowledge? For example the Cainites and Sethites both believed that the body should experience everything of the material world (more preached than practiced I believe) - we can see how these beliefs progressed towards predestination and we can see where they came from... In the extreme we have hedonistic beliefs, including satanism that fully embrace the material/physical experience... Does Plato discuss those that use the understanding that they have gained to exploit others? Or how the use of ritual can in itself prevent people from 'knowing' - ie those wishing to control knowledge?

I am attempting to get my head around a number of concepts here and I apologise if I am somewhat erratic.



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout

I am struggling here, but I feel that what you are implying is that the mystery cannot be ‘taught’ by any system or ritual presentation. It cannot be taught, it cannot be preached and it cannot be learnt by rote.


Kilgore, as an answer to this portion I am going to use the answer that was "given" to me when I asked this question of the Divine, rather than speak directly for Plato. Understand that my use of the word "Gods" is a placeholder for "that which is Divine" and does not reflect a specific belief in a particular "number" of Divinities. It is a word I enjoy using, and it is in used in my favorite relgious texts and so is comfortable, and no more. The idea of One god is no more true than the idea of Many Gods, as the Divine is neither One nor Many, but both and neither. The Divine is something other that our words and logic do not reflect or grasp. It is Beyond the whole concept of division/singularity.

The Dark Mountain
"There have been so many great souls. The Gods have blessed us with so many great voices that have given us words of wisdom and love. I have often been puzzled why with so much wisdom available, humanity still seems so lost.

So, as I often do, I asked "Why?" I asked the Gods why it is that even with such an abundance of direction we so often lose our way. In answer, I was given a dream.

In the dream, I was looking at a mountain at night. Covered in darkness, except that there were small points of light here, there and everywhere. All of these lights, from the bottom to the top were moving.

Then I "Knew" why we get so lost. Like being on a mountain at night, it is pointless to call out explicit directions to someone moving below you. You cannot see where they are, nor do you know where on the mountain they began. You cannot see their path, nor even the steps that they should take to move up towards you.

At best, you could call out to them how YOU got to the place you are. But if they followed your directions explicitly, and were not in the right place, exactly where you were when you took those steps, those directions could send them plummeting off a cliff. Or onto a ledge where they might be stuck.

The only thing left then, is to SHINE. Shine as brightly as you can, while moving towards the summit on your own, following the light of those ahead of you. Those below can then use YOUR light as a beacon as they pick their own way along the treacherous pathway. Each of us has to find our own handholds, and place our own feet. If we fall, we must find within our Self the determination to begin the journey again. But the lights moving above can give us the sense of the possible. They can give us a direction to move in, something to move towards. But that is all anyone can be, a light in the darkness. No one can tell you in detail where to place your hands, your feet, nor give you the strength to climb.

So climb. Look to the bright lights ahead of you, but look knowing the path is yours and yours alone. Dont shout to those below with too much detail, their path is also theirs and theirs alone. Just shine. "



Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
The implication here is that those who ‘see the light’ through enquiry and self-discovery achieve humility, while those who are given the ‘light’ use the knowledge for their own ends (and therefore are blind to what they have been shown). ???


It is not about humilty, at least not in the sense that we commonly use the word. They may achieve "self-less-ness," where "self" with a small "s" is equivalent to the Ego, or "that which you habitually identify as YOU," "mind" is another word for it, it is that voice in your head that talks. "I am Kilgore, I like this, I dont like that, I was here yesterday, I want this tomorrow." That is your mind, your ego, and you identify with it, but it is not YOU. YOU are the Self, that Awareness of "What Is" that would remain if your identity were erased. If you lost your memories, and your personal story or identity, via amnesia, you would still be Aware of everything that currently IS and in your experience. You might not have things to call it, you might not remember stories about your loved ones, but you could meet them, and see them, and expereince them. What you are, stripped from the "Story of you" is the Self. In that example you would immediately begin constructing a new Ego or identity, which you would then think was YOU, but who you think you are is just a "story."

If there is a trick, it is NOT to "get rid of ego" as some clumsily claim. That is impossible while embodied. The mind does what it does just like the heart does what it does. Try to stop your heart from beating. That is what "silencing the mind" is like. Instead you do whatever, meditate, work with Koans, etc., the means is not of absolute importance, until you realize there is something "Watching and Listening" to what the mind is doing. It is shifting your "identity" from the chatter of the mind to the silence of the "Watcher/Listener." That is YOU. Identity does not survive physical death, that will no longer be "you." That which is Aware is what you really Are, and that is not subject to Death. It exists outside of "time." Awareness only ever IS in the present. NOW. It never is in the past or future.

So in direct response to your enquiry, those who "discover this" in a "real" experiential way, KNOW this. They KNOW that they are not the chatter of the Mind, they KNOW that they are not seperatable from All that IS, and so their actions are, of necessity, for their own benefit, ie: their actions benefit ALL, as they KNOW they are ALL.

Someone who identitfies with their mind or ego "hears" the concept, "you are in fact the Divine" thinks "yippee! I am Divine! I am special! I always knew it!"
In this case, the "knowledge" (small k for knowing that occurs in the mind only) seperates them further from Truth. Now, the "identity" with the individuality, or ego, is strengthened, and the distance from the Self, the Divine, is greater. One can undo this, but it is a time consuming sidetrack in human terms. And depending on the character, it may lead to "Delusions of Grandeur" which are irreversible. THEIR actions are are for their benefit, but who they are is a "mistake."

[edit on 30-1-2008 by Illusionsaregrander]



posted on Jan, 30 2008 @ 01:44 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
I am not sure I even grasp what the mysteries are, I am assuming they were ‘plays’..? Can you help me with this – when Plato discusses initiation into the mysteries (in the context I mention above) – to what is he referring to? Commencement on the path to understanding the truth or a version of the truth that has been developed into ritual?


In that passage I would interpret "initiation" as "beginning." Dion was introducing them to the concept of the "mysteries" via friendly and casual conversation, the companions were not serious students of Philosophy. Notice that Plato is not horrified that Dion is sharing some element of the "mysteries" with non-philosophers. He is very matter of fact about the fact that that is what is occuring. Translation from Ancient Greek is NOT an exact science. I often read several translations to see the different word choice different translators make since I myself do not know ancient Greek. I then place the differing words choices in context until one feels right in the flow, or I deviate from all the choices and use the "root" of the word via research to find one I think is more suitable. Ancient Greek was very nuanced, with one word having many meanings depending on the context, and translators are human and they carry their own baggage into translation.

The "mysteries" themselves are not plays, though they may be expressed in plays, poems, etc. The "mysteries" are those Truths about What IS that do not lend themselves to "thinking" or "speaking" alone. They are non-dualistic to use a concept you may be familar with, and ALL language is dualistic, as is thought. Read this for a feel for it. I searched and searched and this is pretty good, but realize that no one thing in words will be "perfect" for the above mentioned reason.

www.crcsite.org...



Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
It is quite breathtaking in its simplicity. The failing of (almost) every society and civilization has been (and for the foreseeable future will be) corruption, therefore success (for the many) depends upon placing the greatest value on those that cannot or will not be corrupted. Service as its own reward, as opposed to reward for service. It seems that we have been fighting the same demons for centuries, if not millennia…


Yes, but be careful with the word "value." It creates misconceptions. All are equally valuable, IF they are doing what they are by nature designed to do, they just have different functions. Let your brain try to get along without the body for instance. The brain is NOT more valuable, it performs a specific task that benefits the whole. Harmony is the key, harmony of the elements. Some parts can be lost, like a leg or an arm, and the whole can go on, but the whole is "less" harmonious for this loss. Some parts cannot be lost without the whole grinding to a halt, (like the brain) but the whole is the ideal, not one part.

A better word for what you described is "responsibility." The greatest responsibility should be given to those who can bear the burden without falling.




Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
Returning to Protagoras and the Sophists, would I be right in saying that Plato’s judgement was based not on a sense of superiority but in a belief that ‘understanding’ cannot be taught, and that to try, demonstrated Protagoras lack of ‘understanding’ (especially when coupled with pupils who felt that the information could be bought)? If someone is not ready they cannot accept the truth and more over if one does not discover it themselves they cannot believe it?


I hope the preceding post helps with this, but if not let me know.


Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
Does Plato discuss the moral implications of this knowledge? For example the Cainites and Sethites both believed that the body should experience everything of the material world (more preached than practiced I believe) - we can see how these beliefs progressed towards predestination and we can see where they came from... In the extreme we have hedonistic beliefs, including satanism that fully embrace the material/physical experience... Does Plato discuss those that use the understanding that they have gained to exploit others? Or how the use of ritual can in itself prevent people from 'knowing' - ie those wishing to control knowledge?


He does. The prededing post may help with this but if it isnt clear let me know. It can be elaborated on.


Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
I am attempting to get my head around a number of concepts here and I apologise if I am somewhat erratic.


Nothing to worry about, the mind, all minds, my mind as well, struggle with this. It is when a faculty outside of the mind as we commonly use it kicks in that "non-intellectual understanding" sort of "switches on" which is why so many traditions use the analogy of light. Despite whether this "light bulb" moment occurs, the mind still reels when asked to "handle" or "work with" this KNOWING. (Knowledge that occurs without thought, like intuitive knowing) A philosopher, and I cant remember who atm, describes an "architecture of the mind." Think of it like a computer program. It can only do what it is programmed to do, but this does not mean a "programmer" cannot go into the program and work with the code. As it is written, you may only be able to modify it so much. A complete re-write would be necessary to make it work entirely different, a new program. Our mind is the program we are operating with, and it has set bounds, abilities. However this "enlightenment" can provide clues as to how to expand or stretch those bounds. Do a little fine tuning to the program. It is NOT a complete re-write. That would be "REAL-ization" making what you have glimpsed so REAL that you no longer are subject to the original bounds of the program.

If you have seen the Matrix, think of all of the ones who "got out" of the Matrix as enlightened. Think of what Neo becomes at the end as "REAL-ized." I would argue that few if any have "Real-ized." "Enlightenment" is rare on its own, but it is only a state of BE-ing in a process. Not the "End." I use the "Matrix" not because it is a perfect example, only one you may be familiar with to illustrate in few words the difference.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 08:14 AM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout

I am not sure I even grasp what the mysteries are, I am assuming they were ‘plays’..? Can you help me with this – when Plato discusses initiation into the mysteries (in the context I mention above) – to what is he referring to? Commencement on the path to understanding the truth or a version of the truth that has been developed into ritual?


He is referring to the Eleusinian Mysteries, of which he himself was a Greater Initiate. The Mysteries were divided into the Lesser, or first degree, which accepted all citizens, and the Greater Mysteries, or second degree, which was the Grade of Adepti Mystagogue, of which only a relatively select few were admitted.

The ceremonial ritual of the Mysteries was witnessed only by the initiated, and they did indeed take the form of an allegorical drama. Modern Freemasonry has inherited much from these Ancient Mysteries.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 09:33 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
1. What are the most ancient known secret societies and fraterneties?


I don't know if they are "known" as in having names, but secret societies have existed since our earliest ancestors gained the ability to create a mythology to explain the world around them. Often, these secret societies were organized along gender lines. There were secrets only women were to know, and secrets only men were to know.



posted on Feb, 1 2008 @ 05:58 AM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander

The Dark Mountain

So climb. Look to the bright lights ahead of you, but look knowing the path is yours and yours alone. Dont shout to those below with too much detail, their path is also theirs and theirs alone. Just shine. "


Eloquence fails me, but the dark mountain hit my spot. I attended Liturgy at my son's school this morning...considering it was presented by a group of under sixes, it was surprisingly profound. I cannot find the words, it is all too intensely personal in a way. I've only just realised the mountain was there and I see now that it is ablaze with lights, I can't believe I missed it.

You're a very fine teacher and thank you for shining a little my way.



posted on Feb, 1 2008 @ 06:24 AM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light
The ceremonial ritual of the Mysteries was witnessed only by the initiated, and they did indeed take the form of an allegorical drama. Modern Freemasonry has inherited much from these Ancient Mysteries.


Thank you Masonic Light. Here in York we have Mystery Plays every four years, (they are based on the Passion of Christ) which is why I wondered whether there was any connection. I think it is interesting that the use of drama is a recurring theme in the presentation. Both the Jesuits and the Freemasons, sponsored the arts, including, theatre during the renaissance through to the enlightenment. The Jesuits utilised drama and music to convert the South American Indians. No different, except in intent, from how the Nazi Propaganda unit used the rally and the radio to convert the masses, and 'so it goes'.

I wonder how you feel the influence of ritual has been on contemporary Freemasonry...Do you sense that the point is being missed in some cases? Does Speculative Freemasonry still serve its intended purpose (or aim) do you think? (None combative and conspiratorial - more in terms of everything having a life cycle
)



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