Search Results for Meno
The Meno is Plato‘s celebrated dialogue in which his theory of knowledge as “recollection” is forwarded.
Plato believed in reincarnation and the idea that individuals possess an all-knowing, immortal soul. According to Plato, the trauma of being born causes amnesia and we forget all that we knew prior to a given birth.
Plato says learning is “remembering” things we already know about, at the level of the soul if not at the level of immediate consciousness.
In the Meno, Socrates is a literary figure who represents Plato’s perspective. Plato’s Socrates does not necessarily say what Socrates, himself, would have said.
Plato’s Socrates asks a slave boy a series of geometrical questions without telling him the final answer. Because the slave boy eventually gets the correct answer without Socrates giving it away, Socrates concludes that the slave boy must have already known the answer in his own soul.
Some philosophical commentators object that Socrates essentially lead the slave boy down the proverbial garden path, prodding the boy toward the desired answer with leading questions.
Would the slave boy have found the correct answer without Socrates (a) knowing what it was and (b) leading him towards it? If we answer “no” to (a) and (b), then knowledge arguably cannot be mere recollection because it depends on someone else, who already knows, to lead another person toward that knowledge.
This leads to a kind of chicken and egg problem. How could the very first person to exist, assuming there was a single first being, attain knowledge without a guide?
Others say that Socrates didn’t have knowledge of the answer, but simply a correct belief because he begins the dialogue by saying that the only thing he knows is that he doesn’t know anything for certain. But to this one could reply that Socrates (i.e. Plato) still had a definite philosophical bias at the outset of the dialogue.
Related to these issues, Plato makes the useful distinction between:
- Having a belief that happens to be true
- Definitely knowing that one has gained the truth
Another objection to the Meno‘s theory of knowledge is that knowledge of geometry differs from other types of knowledge, such as knowledge of ethics. Can we generalize a specific example from geometry to claim that all forms of knowledge are instances of recollection?
- Socrates and His Method (sandwalk.blogspot.com)
- COLUMN: Finding the life of the mind (usustatesman.com)
- COLUMN: Finding the life of the mind – The Statesman (news.google.com)
- The Philosophy of Socrates: Life and Death (socyberty.com)
- How to Utilize Socratic Seminar in Your Classroom (brighthub.com)
- The Republic – Books I to V, a Summary (socyberty.com)
- Achieving Happiness: More Advice from Plato (psychologytoday.com)
- Mark Morris Dance Group at Cal Performances (sfgate.com)
Add more, report errors or voice your opinion by posting a comment
Phenomenology is a branch of philosophy dealing with individual experience, although the term has related applications in psychology, religion, archaeology, architecture and several other disciplines.
For the philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), phenomenology would include a thorough analysis of all aspects of consciousness and immediate experience, not to preclude a metaphysical component.
Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) differs from Husserl in that he believes existence (i.e. being) is primary, with consciousness being a secondary effect of being.
It seems that any sincere attempt to understand ultimate questions will likely involve phenomenology.
And we’re compelled to ask if it’s possible for an individual, a given culture or, for that matter, communally-minded scientists to overcome the social and historical biases that can color the quest for knowledge.
Add to this, report errors, suggest edits or voice your opinion by leaving a comment
Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) was a French social thinker who built on ideas popularized by postmoderns such as Michel Foucault and the semiologist Roland Barthes. Like Foucault, Bourdieu was critical of Marxism, Existentialism and Structuralism and he tried to understand the practice of Sociology within its own cultural context.
Michael Payne says Bourdieu also argued that theories, beliefs and dispositions influence cultural practice, often “unconsciously and uncritically.”¹
So any good theory, including scientific theory, should be “reflexive”—that is, it should seek to identify and overcome its own biases. This sounds sensible but, at the same time, scientists are just people, with all the flaws, limitations, pride and ambition that we all share. These personal biases usually interfere, in varying degrees, with the reflexive aspect of science. In other words, the ego gets in the way. This is, perhaps, most obvious in so-called “soft science” disciplines like psychology and psychiatry, but it’s present in all aspects of science. Whenever a worldview becomes an entrenched form of belief, its reflexive aspects usually diminish. For a while, anyhow.
As a sociologist, Bourdieu developed seminal concepts such as “habitus,” “fields,” “cultural capital” and social “reproduction” to better illustrate his ideas about societal discrimination, inequity and domination. With regard to domination, he introduced the term “symbolic violence” to describe ways of seeing that are subtly imposed on groups and individuals. Along these lines, Bourdieu made important contributions toward the deconstruction of language, scholarship and science. Without the deconstruction of ideas and practices, those with social power seek to impose their particular view of the “natural” or “just” on those who lack the power to shape the understanding of these concepts within society. Whether or not this dynamic occurs willfully or unreflectively is a matter of debate.
Again, it would be wrong to say that Bourdieu was the first to come up with the idea of symbolic violence. Sociologists have been thinking out of the box ever since Max Weber argued that the Protestant work ethic played a central role in the development of Capitalism. As such, the related concepts of work and laziness have taken a definite shape and form in so-called developed societies. And Emile Durkheim looked at the phenomenon of suicide from a statistical perspective, trying to link social conditions to this tragic activity. So for Durkheim, suicide isn’t just a personal choice. It’s linked to the norms and expectations of a given culture.
¹ Michael Payne, ed. A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory, Oxford: Blackwell, 1997, p. 73.
- A philosopher’s guide to Pierre Bourdieu (syntheticzero.net)
- Darwin, Bourdieu and today’s scientific culture (lutzid.wordpress.com)
- Picturing Algeria (jadaliyya.com)
- Social Theory and Education Research Understanding Foucault, Habermas,Bourdieu and Derrida (2013) (foucaultnews.com)
- To “Commit Sociology” (everydaysociologyblog.com)
- Habitus (thoughtsinmyheart.wordpress.com)
- Soziologie und Radsport- ein gastkommentar (crispinus.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Social Work and Social Theory- Making Connections by Paul Michael Garrett (irishleftreview.org)
- Golf as a phenomena of tasteless class? Part One (jamesblogventures.wordpress.com)
Beatnik is a slightly derogatory, superficial or amusing (depending on how one looks at it) term for those belonging to the 1950s youth subculture called the Beat Generation. In the 1960s the term also described listeners of rock and roll, hippies and those advocating anti-authoritarian lifestyles and social arrangements.
Wikipedia puts it this way:
Beatnik was a media stereotype of the 1950s to mid-1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s and violent film images, along with a cartoonish depiction of the real-life people and the spiritual quest in Jack Kerouac‘s autobiographical fiction.
The beatniks wore unconventional dress, hairstyles, imbibed in psychotropic drugs and listened to jazz and bebop. Among Beat writers Jack Kerouac (On the Road, Dharma Bums), William S. Burroughs‘s Naked Lunch (1959) and poet Allen Ginsberg reigned supreme.
The first line from Ginsberg’s “Howl” (1955) epitomizes the dark side of the Beat Generation:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters, burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.
From this, it seems a bit simplistic to suggest the Beatnik culture was an entirely positive spiritual quest. From a Catholic perspective, illegal drug use rarely, if ever, culminates in genuine spirituality. It might represent a stage a seeker passes through before coming to a place where he or she can appreciate an experience of true grace and holiness later in life. But drug use, itself, arguably messes with the mind (and brain) and obscures the pure spirituality of the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, it would be equally simplistic to entirely dismiss the insights and societal benefits that came out of the movement. Like anything, one has to sift through the entire phenomenon to discern the good from the bad.
I Feel Like Saying A Beatnik Poem 1950′s B Movie Style
On the World Wide Web:
The Beatniks (video, 1960)
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The Beatles were a British pop group founded in Liverpool in 1960. The original members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best, replaced by Ringo Starr in 1962 (originally Richard Starkey).
“Love Me Do” was their first UK hit. This was followed by a string of hits, creating the international phenomenon of Beatlemania in 1964.
Most of the Beatles’ repertoire was officially penned by Lennon and McCartney, although their respective influence on individual songs varied considerably.
The band stopped giving public performances in 1966, turning its energy to the studio–specifically to the rock and roll classic, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Their producer at the time, George Martin, says he had a significant impact on the outcome of this record.
The group split, bitterly, around 1970. Their last studio album, Abbey Road, was recorded with separate sessions being held for each member of the band. This was unprecedented and, to fans, seemed to indicate growing tensions among band members. George Harrison once said that McCartney told him how to play his guitar, which the guitarist resented. And issues over the growing presence of Yoko Ono were splashed over the tabloids and rock media, as was Lennon and McCartney’s growing acrimony.
The Beatles were no doubt fantastic musicians. But was there more to their success? The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung developed a psychological classification system based on four main types. For Jung, the whole and healthy mind strove to integrate the four types of thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. Could part of the Beatles’ unparalleled popularity be a result their collectively representing Jung’s four archetypal types? Following this idea, Lennon would be the thinking type, Paul McCartney the feeling type, George Harrison the intuition type and Ringo Starr the sensation type.
The Beatles’ contribution to music will be forever etched in the history of mankind. The so-called Fab Four combined Rock and Roll, simple blues and complex jazz, as well as ‘lounge lizard,’ orchestral and international music forms. Even begrudging or, perhaps, sarcastically tinged respect is implied, for instance, in “Afraid” from David Bowie’s record Heathen (2002):
I believe in Beatles
I believe my little soul has grown
And I’m still so afraid…
After the Beatles’ breakup, Lennon released several records while residing in New York with his wife Yoko Ono. He continued to enjoy commercial success with songs like “Imagine,” “Mind Games,” “Whatever Gets you Through the Night,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “So this is Christmas,” and “Just Like Starting Over.” But Lennon became more than a mere rock star; he became an icon representing worldwide harmony and peace.
McCartney released a critically acclaimed solo album (where he played all the instruments) and formed the highly successful band Wings, continuing to be a prominent musical force in the 1970′s.
Harrison released the commercially successful All Things Must Pass in 1970 (including “My Sweet Lord” and “Isn’t it a Pity”) followed by several other albums. “Isn’t it a Pity” epitomizes the sense of loss over Beatles’ breakup and laments the end of an era. Sadly, pity turned into acrimony, as witnessed in Harrison’s 1973 tune, “Sue Me, Sue You Blues.” Starr has been in films and recorded singles and albums. His 1974 cover of the Sherman Brothers’ “You’re Sixteen” hit number one in the charts.
In 1995 the single “Free as a Bird” was released. This song was written and hastily recorded by Lennon in 1977. After Lennon’s passing McCartney asked Ono if the remaining Beatles could collectively add to any of Lennon’s unreleased material. Ono gave permission for this single but it arguably isn’t a true Beatles song because Lennon, himself, didn’t agree to its release.
More recently, many Beatles songs have been remixed and re-released, with debatable results. Myself, I prefer the original analog mixes sent to CD (AAD), although others might prefer the digital remixes (ADD).
- The break-up of The Beatles: An event that called a halt to an epoch (woodstockremains.wordpress.com)
- Interview: Historian says there was no Brando link to naming of the Beatles (examiner.com)
- Ringo Starr To Finally Get That Museum Exhibit We’ve All Been Waiting For (beatcrave.com)
- 12 Questions Google Assumes You Have About The Beatles (wxrt.cbslocal.com)
- John Lennon (chasepage.net)
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- Life of Beatle becomes subject of comic (bigpondnews.com)
- Former Beatles Frontman Dies At 72 (huffingtonpost.com)
A Baptist is a member of a Protestant Christian Church or denomination with roots in England and Wales from the beginning of the 17th century. In the late 19th century, Baptists quickly became an important part of the American Christian landscape.
Today’s Baptist Church is a global phenomenon, the Baptist World Alliance having been established in 1905.
Baptists generally reject infant baptism, believing that sacred scripture points to the necessity of consciously choosing to embrace Christian belief. So for Baptists, a newborn who cannot choose is not ready to accept Baptism.
However, not all Baptists agree on every theological issue as, say, Catholics seem to when professing their common faith in the Mass. In fact, Baptists belief varies considerably. And this divergence of belief isn’t just a private matter, kept under wraps for fear of repercussions or to preserve the Church’s unity. Rather, it’s public. ¹
Not surprisingly, Baptist congregations tend to be run independently. And they’re quite active in organizing missions, schools and youth camps.
- Where Have All the Choirs Gone? (Part I) (jasonklanier.com)
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- 54 – Feb. 23 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST (james1948.wordpress.com)
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Controlled dreaming (also called conscious or lucid dreaming)¹ is a controversial technique based on shamanic traditions in which one allegedly creates or has a conscious effect on the content of a dream.
This apparently requires a degree of consciousness not readily available to most. Some say they control their dreams simply as a pleasurable or novel activity. Others believe they enter into a Jungian-style collective unconscious in a systematic manner, hoping to influence conditions in the everyday, observable world with which the collective unconscious, they argue, is intimately connected.²
There is some debate as to whether controlled dreaming is just another term for the alleged phenomenon of astral projection. Richard Craze suggest that the two differ, not just conceptually but physiologically.
The evidence, fragmentary as it is, from EEG readings seems to indicate that the two experiences are different. Lucid dreaming is usually accompanied by REM, delta waves and slowed heart beat and respiratory rates identical with normal paradoxical sleep. OOBEs [out of body experiences] are usually accompanied by NREM, an absence of delta waves indicating that the subject is not asleep, an increase in beta waves indicating that the subject is awake, increased pulse and respiratory rates indicating arousal of some sort, and bodily activity. Physiologically the two effects are quite different.³
¹ Lucid dreaming minimally means you are simply aware that you are dreaming. It may or may not involve some degree of control over the dream content.
² Adam DreamHealer claims there’s scientific evidence that “sending healing intentions changes the physiology of someone at a distance.” Although he is not talking about healing others while dreaming, per se, he does postulate the same kind of interconnectedness that would be required for healing at a distance. http://www.dreamhealer.com
³ Richard Craze, Astral Projection, London: Headway – Hodder & Stoughton, 1996, p. 26.
- Meaning of Dreams (legendofanomad.com)
- Did You Know?! 7 Cool Facts About Dreams (jtm71.wordpress.com)
- Take a Trip Outside of Yourself with Astral Projection (jtm71.wordpress.com)
- I Had A Dream… (Omniverse Part 2) (rjnielsen.wordpress.com)
- DVD Ultimate Secrets of Astral Travel (paneandov2012.com)
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- Lucid Dreaming: The Barrier (thesoloist1.wordpress.com)
- Modifying an EEG headset for lucid dreaming (hackaday.com)
- Lucid Dreams (picturesinlivingcolor.wordpress.com)
Clairaudience is the alleged inner hearing of sound different from, or beyond the range of, normal human hearing. Rosemary Ellen Guiley notes that the term comes from the French, “clear-hearing.”¹
The spiritually inclined see clairaudience as a phenomenon common to saints, mystics and seers throughout the ages.
The recently canonized Catholic Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-38) writes in her Divine Mercy Diary that she often heard a quiet inner voice, accompanied with a feeling of grace. This synchrony lead her to believe that the voice was from God.²
St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431) heard voices which prompted her to masquerade as a man and enlist in the French army. She was eventually declared a heretic by the Catholic Church and burned at the stake at age 19 under a politically predetermined trial. Not until almost 500 years later did the Church canonize her in 1920.
St. Teresa of Ávila provides a more intellectual assessment of hearing voices, which she calls “locutions.” In her spiritual classic, Interior Castle, she says one must learn to discriminate among locutions that are from God, from the devil, and from the imagination. Locutions from God, she adds, are usually quite simple and accompanied with a strong and undeniable feeling of peace.³
In the Biblical Old Testament the voice of God tells King Solomon of his great wisdom. In the New Testament Christ beseeches Paul from the heavens, “Why do you persecute me?” Both of these example could be interpreted as instances of clairaudience.
Other possible examples of clairaudience are found in the religious and even philosophical literature. Plato’s Socrates, for instance, has a daimon hovering about him, forever cautioning him what not to say.
The Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo writes of a voice which lead him to establish an ashram in the French settlement at Pondicherry, India. Aurobindo also speaks of “false voices.” These, he says, come from dark beings, called asuras, which forever try to distract and deceive spiritual seekers.4
The Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung writes of a “ghost guru,” whom he called Philemon. Philemon apparently guided Jung via clairaudience until Jung got tired of his direction and stopped listening, at which point Philemon went away.5
The British scholar of religion Evelyn Underhill writes that mystics must apply rigorous logic and sincere self-analysis to ensure that inner voices are not products of the imagination or evil spiritual entities.6
With regard to the possibility of auditory hallucinations, contemporary psychiatry distinguishes between unhealthy hallucinations and healthy beliefs that are in keeping with one’s religious tradition. Psychiatry, however, still cannot fully explain how the brain creates hallucinations, leaving room for hypotheses concerning an interplay of biological, developmental and evil spiritual influences.
Concerning the notion of evil spiritual influences, practically every religious tradition in the world suggests that evil spirits actively deceive (or impart partial truths cleverly combined with lies), while Godly spiritual beings always tell the truth.
Along these lines the gospel writer of Matthew says that one may judge alleged prophets by their deeds—that is, by their fruit.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew NIV 7:15-20).
While many fundamentalists uncritically latch onto this passage, for thinking people, some methodological issues do arise. For instance, how long must one wait to determine whether a prophet’s utterances are true or not? For that matter, will a prophet’s truth be realized within a given lifetime?
According to the Christian tradition, Jesus Christ, himself, spoke actual words that the people around him did not understand. And it wasn’t until after his death that the subtlety and power of his prophesying was realized. For example, Jesus’ words “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19 NIV) is often interpreted to refer to Jesus’ own death, descent to hell and resurrection, a sequence of events which, according to scripture, lasted three days. But in his day, many would have supposed that Jesus was simply talking about a physical building.
With a misunderstanding like this arising from real, spoken words, it seems that ordinary people could be even more confused by inner voices.
¹ Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, 1991, p. 109.
² Saint Maria Faustina Helena Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 2nd edition, Stockbridge Mass.: Marian Press, 1990.
³ St. Teresa of Ávila, The Interior Castle, trans. E. Allison Peers. Image Books, 1961, pp. 138-148.
4 Aurobindo Ghose, The Riddle of This World, Calcutta: Arya Publishing House, 1933, pp. 56-57.
5 See more details here: http://www.bodysoulandspirit.net/mystical_experiences/read/notables/jung.shtml
6 Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness (New York: The New American Library, 1955 ), p. 361.
- An example of my Medium, Clairaudient and Claircognizant work (kevinhunter.wordpress.com)
- A shout out to Evelyn Underhill and her wonderful book (carlmccolman.com)
- Review – The Trickster and the Paranormal (Hardcover Book) (epages.wordpress.com)
- From language games to mysticism – Allan Watts and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (stottilien.wordpress.com)
- A brief summary of the unitive state (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
- Channeling (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- St. Teresa of Avila, “a woman extraordinarily gifted, both naturally and supernaturally…” (insightscoop.typepad.com)
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- Celibacy (earthpages.wordpress.com)
In ancient India the caste system apparently was regarded as a positive, divinely based phenomenon. The hierarchical differentiation of human beings on the basis of color (varna) and birth (jati) was seen as a worldly reflection of a ritually sacrificed Divine Body (purusa).
Accordingly, the Rig Veda of the conquering northern Aryans¹ tells of the ritual dismemberment of a Primal Cosmic Man, on which the caste system is based.
The highest, fair-skinned Brahman caste (priests, thinkers) emanated from the head, the lower and darker Kshatriya caste (rajas, warriors, persons of action) from the arms, while the next lower and darker Vaisna caste (merchants) originated from the thighs.
Later, the additional fourth, lowest and darkest Sudra caste (servants) was added, believed to be the “feet” of the purusa. This caste was probably created by the Aryans to account for the indigenous Dravidians.
Like distinctions made by the apostle Paul in the New Testament, each caste had a unique social duty (dharma) to fulfill, corresponding to the particular part of the cosmic body from which it originated. Unlike Pauline Christianity, however, the Sudras were forbidden to study the sacred scripture of the Veda.²
In time, another fifth category evolved, the “untouchables” (quite literally, societal outcasts), whose members were allegedly so lowly that they didn’t belong to any caste. Deploring the caste system, Mahatma Gandhi called these people Harijans (“Children of God”).
Of the upper three castes, at age twelve the Hindu male undergoes the ritual of upanaya, receiving a sacred thread to indicate his status as ‘twice born.’ Not unlike the Christian Confirmation or Jewish Bar Mitzvah, this ceremony contains both cultural and spiritual significance.
The western equivalent to caste is the equally misguided idea of class. Both concepts tend to separate and evaluate individuals on a hierarchical scale. Caste did this exclusively by birth, whereas class includes other variables.
Despite the fact that caste was openly challenged by Gandhi in the 1930s and legally criminalized in the 1950s, both subtle and overt injustices premised on caste distinctions continue to this day, just as they do with the idea of class.
¹ It should be noted that not everyone subscribes to that version of Indian history. Click here for more.
² Human nature being what it is, similar prohibitions later arose in the Christian Church regarding the study of Latin and the reading of the Bible.
³ S. G. F. Brandon ed., Dictionary of Comparative Religion (1970: 175-177).
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- A Documentary About Anti-Caste System Activists in India (patheos.com)
- “Some people continue to feel they can get away with attacking Dalits” (thehindu.com)
- My comment to the post about caste system in India in the Hindi Language Blog (burubaxair.wordpress.com)
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