“Learning to die…” in ancient philosophy – Peter Kingsley


(Concernig Peter Kingsley’s book Reality (2004)

It is a remarkably ignored fact that Socrates’ practice of elenchos
continued a tradition that had its philosophical roots in the elenchos of Parmenides, and for both these fathers of philosophy elenchos was far more than a rational exercise. It was practised under divine command, it exposed a state of utter ignorance, and it evoked an unbearable longing for the divine. As Kingsley remarks: “For both of them, arriving at the knowledge of knowing nothing meant confronting utter helplessness” (154), and both understood philosophy as learning “to die before we die” (155). Yet, Kingsley points out, this trdition of philosophic initiation through elenchos was lost, and the existential helplessness of Socratic aporia, necessary for self-transformation, was turned into an intellectual puzzle. Philosophy became a conceptual enterprise.
(Gregory Shaw, in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.07.43).

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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