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Remembering Who We Are (06/26/2020)
The Pythagoreans were a group of Ancient Greek philosophers, of which Plato may or may not have been a part of. Their teachings have had a huge influence on nearly all aspects of our modern culture both scientific and spiritual, but the full extent of what these teachings were is often left to conjecture. Here is some more conjecture...
The "psyche" (or "soul") is said to be that which animates the physical body. For Plato, the soul was "tripartite" (i.e.: composed of three aspects). From the top-down, they are:
1. The "logos" (or "logical" part) - this is the aspect of us that reasons
2. The "thymos" (or "emotional" part) - this is the aspect of us that feels
3. The "eros" (or "desiring" part) - this is the aspect concerned with bodily appetites
Generally, they are all important because they all work together to sustain our body.
In Plato's dialogue "Meno", he describes how Socrates, another Greek philosopher, tries to prove to someone that there is knowledge that is inherent to one's soul, and that by asking ourselves good questions, we can draw it out. If "amnesia" is the act of forgetting, then "anamnesis" would be the act of recalling what was once forgotten.
In short, learning is an act of remembering.
The school of the Pythagoreans probably had a structure that facilitated this process. For example, one would first learn how to learn through a set of three subjects called "The Trivium". These three subjects are "Grammar", "Logic", and "Rhetoric", although the meanings of these terms were probably quite different from how they are used now. I interpret them more like this:
• "Grammar" - How to define symbols in a manner that is constructive
• "Logic" - How to keep the relationship between symbols, and between the symbol and symbolized, consistent
• "Rhetoric" - How to effectively communicate the previous two to another person, as learning is a collaborative activity
Once they knew how to learn, they studied another set of four subjects called "The Quadrivium". These are "Arithmetic", "Geometry", "Music", and "Astronomy". Again, the meanings of these terms were probably quite different from how they are used now. A clever way of defining them that I once came across is this:
• "Arithmetic" - the study of number itself
• "Geometry" - the study of number in space
• "Music" - the study of number in time
• "Astronomy" - the study of number in space and time
In particular, they would focus in on those things which are scalable. In other words, the things that do not change with size were considered the most important (e.g.: numerical ratios, geometric proportions, musical intervals, orbital resonances).
Together, the Trivium and Quadrivium make up the seven "Liberal Arts" whose sole purpose is to liberate the knowledge inherent to the soul and to help one to understand the "Cosmos", or the coherence and beauty of the Universe as a whole.
All of this study would eventually culminate in the experience of "henosis" (from the Greek prefix "hen-" meaning "one" and the root "gnosis" meaning "knowing"; therefore, "knowing One" or "Oneness"). This is when the knower, the act of knowing, and the thing which is to be known, all experientially merge together as ONE.
From this, we come to know that All things emanate from a single transcendent source that is simultaneously immanent throughout All things in the form of a perfect order.
By bringing all aspects of our individual soul into harmony, we get a glimpse into the psyche of the Cosmos itself.
• Gábor Szabó - Galatea's Guitar
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