Plato’s Cave

From Quora  Question: ‘Can we step out of Plato’s Cave?’


X  As I remember, Plato spoke of the few that escaped into the bright light of day, becoming (at least temporarily?) blinded. That, by itself, has to have some (metaphorical) meaning. But if the question is rhetorical, the answer is a conditional ‘Yes’ — by leading the life of a philosopher (‘lover of wisdom’), following the path of philosophy. That is a lifelong process or journey, in Plato’s terms.

Y  Plato mistakenly thought we could get a Truth by purely mental means and a priori principles.   Not so.  We have to look at, touch, feel, smell, taste and handle reality.

X  Sorry to disagree. First, we don’t know what were his oral doctrines to selected disciples (the 7th letter says something in that regard, while putting down the written word). Second, his ontology was non-dualist rather than a scalar one: all the lower steps or stages being incorporated stepwise in the higher ones, till getting at the Good as a first principle (supreme arché) – each step or degree of being a reflection of the one above. This would result in contemplation of a unity or oneness – one reality. When Socrates spoke of Diotima, his mentor, he did so reverently and reservedly, signifying or suggesting something secret – a spiritual transmission (one might Google: Plato’s secret doctrines, which I have not done).


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Inviation in satsang & the ‘holy sequence’ II – Philip Renard


Why the name Advaya?


This site is called Advaya. This is a Sanskrit term, which

means ‘non-duality’. This term has been used very often in

texts of both Mahayana Buddhism as well as Advaita Vedanta,

from the beginning of the Common Era. Because the

term advaya has been used by both of these non- dualistic

movements, it is highlighted on this site: as a fundamental

starting point for a possible insight in the underlying unity of

both approaches – and in fact the unity of all religious and

philosophical approaches, despite their different vocabulary. Continue reading

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Inviation in satsang & the ‘holy sequence’ – Philip Renard

Philip Renard, a Dutchman, is perhaps not so well known in the Anglo-Saxon world as other sages from India and the West, but he is a master of spirituality, that is, a sage, in his own right. He has only a few publications in English, and a book by him is forthcoming.


On the invitation in satsang,
and the ‘holy sequence’
The invitation in satsang is always the same.
It could be summarized as follows.
Recognition of your true nature is possible as soon as you are
to allow a gap between one thought and the next,
right in the middle of an inner story or perception,
Even though this gap is only the entrance,
looking from this gap you can see
that seeing itself is in fact something great:
it shows that you yourself are the knowing, seeing
principle, which continuously, from within, bestows light on
Without this self-illuminating principle you cannot know or
experience anything.
From the gap mentioned you can also see
that it is inseparable from the things which arise in it –
that in fact everything is inclusive.
There is thought as well as no-thought. Mind as well as
no-mind. Continue reading

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Appearance and reality

Can appearance itself be doubted?  (Discussion in QUORA)

The question is not about the relation between appearance (things) and noumenon (thing in itself). It concerns only the appearance ITSELF. That means, I’m not asking about whether appearance is capable to reveal the noumenon, rather whether the trueness of appearance can be doubted.

For example, while I’m licking honey, it tastes sweet to me. I’m not asking whether the honey itself is sweet, rather ‘it tastes sweet to me’ can be doubted.

Tom McFarlane. As long as there is some kind of judgment involved, no matter how subtle, there can be doubt. And, as long as there is a characterization of an appearance as being this or that, there is judgment, which can be doubted. And this will always be the case since no experience is a perfectly pure appearance, free of all interpretation or judgment. So, for example, if you lick some honey and have the experience of it tasting sweet, that involves identifying ‘it’ and ‘sweet’ and ‘tasting’ and putting those together in a judgment that can be doubted. If you strip away or suspend all interpretation and judgment, then what is left is not any appearance at all, but the simple naked fact of awareness itself, about which nothing can be affirmed or denied. Continue reading

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Consciousness and reality

Q/A in Quora  /

What is reality in the absence of consciousness?

I’m beginning to be convinced that in the absence of consciousness there is nothing. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Answer: (M) That is an impossible, or a self-defeating, question. If there were no consciousness in the world, you could not write that sentence. What is more, no communication would be possible (books, newspapers, radio, etc.). Still more, no life and no evolution of life, because life depends on communication of information (DNA, neuronal synapses, etc.), which derives itself from what is no less than a conscious universe. There is no need to believe in a personal (anthropomorphic) god to have this understanding or realization.

It is the same if we say, ‘absence of intelligence’. It is consciousness/intelligence which originates the universe and inheres in it. In Dante’s words, ‘l’Amore che muove il sole e l’altre stelle’ (The Love which moves the sun and the other stars) – and that is so because without love there is no life, Love being a synonym of Being and of Light. The supreme triad is, Being-Consciousness-Will, or Being-Consciousness-Bliss (or Beauty).

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Is metaphysics meaningful?

Is metaphysics meaningful? – Question in QUORA

Any hypothesis which predicts observations can in principle be tested scientifically.

Take “metaphysics” to be the set of hypotheses about people and the universe which does not predict any observations, or none which differ from those predicted by their null hypotheses.

Can a hypothesis be meaningful even if it does not predict any observations?

Answer. (M) The dictionary def. of ‘meaningful’ is, primarily, ‘significant’, ‘purposeful’. The answer to the question ‘Is metaphysics meaningful?’ is, ‘yes’ (otherwise there would not be such a thing or notion). But metaphysics is not empirical science, so it does not work with hypotheses or with experimentation (measurement, etc.). Once called ‘the queen of the sciences’, it is at the root of all thinking, scientific as well as philosophical, in particular the basic or fundamental ideas about what real/reality is.  Thus, the métier of metaphysics is philosophical, including the presuppositions underlying empirical science: beingness or existence, space, time, and causality, and also matter/energy, subjectivity and objectivity. Traditionally metaphysics is considered as a branch of philosophy.

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The proof of Advaita philosophy

Q&A in Advaita Vision – reproduced here.

Q. 388 – Proof of Methodology

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