Plato, disappearing Metaphysical knowledge and the lack of writing from Pagan europeans

Discussion in 'Philosophy & Metaphysics' started by JonhOliver, 1 September 2018.

  1. JonhOliver

    JonhOliver Member

    Lots of modern people, tend to look up to the final stages of ancient Greek civilization, as some kind of beacon of liberalism in the ancient world, with philosophy, materialism, democracy, among other things having their recorded origin during this period. From a traditionalist standpoint however, all of this appears as the cause of devolution, regression of the castes and an obscuring of metaphysical knowledge. This includes even profane philosophy, as it shows that knowledge stopped being based on the intellect, the budhi or direct intuition to be solely based on reason and discursive thought.

    Having said that, Plato and Aristotle, are still held looked up to by traditionalist from the 20th century, and by the traditional civilization of the middle ages, despite the fact that they could be pointed to as being the starters of some of the errors of modern philosophy, especially Aristotle. The reason why they're still valued however, is that they still have truthful metaphysical knowledge and systems, despite the fact they never mention the praxis that one should undertake in order to gain such knowledge. Obviously, they wrote about a lot of other subjects beside metaphysics, but this post is specifically focusing on that, which leads me to my next point.

    It's said that Plato was initiated into some kind of mystery school, so my theory is that they're writings on Metaphysics, along with other topics, are what constituted the doctrine of the esoteric Ancient Greek orders. Plato decided to write it down, more or less as last ditch attempt to stop this knowledge from being forgotten, since the initiative chain in these groups were beginning to be broken, and the capacity for gnosis and direct intuition was beginning to be lost. Thus, Plato never wrote about the practical side of obtaining knowledge of ideals, as that was still meant to be kept as a secret strictly meant to be passed from master to disciple, or maybe the way for obtaining gnosis wasn't know anymore which lead Plato to not be able to write about it. The fact that the capacity for intellectual knowledge diminished, is shown by the general political degeneration of the greeks in that period. The neo-Platonists show that some esoterism still survived, but most likely on a much smaller scale.

    Moving this theory into other civilizations, i think that we can actually take the fact that an Indo-European people didn't write down their spiritual knowledge and myths, as a sign that they're esoteric tradition was still alive and well. Instead of illiteracy being a sign of them being primitive and dumb, it could be interpreted as a statement of the health of their civilization that kept a thriving oral chain of tradition, not feeling the need for writing it down. The vedas and the upanishads, had also already existed for thousands of years, but sages only felt the need to write them down in the kali yuga, when the danger of them being forgotten was beginning to grow.

    This is why, in my opinion, we know nothing about the spiritual practices of Nordic pagans or the Celtic druids, and why we never hear any mention of the absolute and the monotheistic god. What was able to be passed through the generations until the time christian monks wrote them down, were simply their myths and folklore as that was known and spoken about by everyone in their societies. The sagas would be recited in festivals, allowing them to kept alive much longer. A lot of the gods were also much closer to the worries and grasp of ordinary people or warriors, like for example the gods of fertility or war, instead of the absolute that was much more distant and could only be known by the sages. Most likely, the spiritual practices of these people were kept as a strict secret between master and neophyte, which lead it to be lost when they began to degenerate or when their orders were persecuted by Christians. A slightly more flamboyant and amazing theory, is that their praxis in fact wasn't lost and became hermetism and western esoterism, being passed down under huge secrecy away from the eyes of the church. Although, i'm just putting this out there as hermetism seems to have come from Egypt, but it's still an interesting idea to ponder.

    The idea for this thread came from this very interesting passage, from the book "the fullness of god" by Schuon which deals with Christianity.



    So what do you guys thing, in my opinion this a fairly logical hypotheses on why only the myths of the Pagan survived, and on why the metaphysics of the Greek Philosophers is strictly theoretical without any practice. On the subject of literacy, i also recommend people to read the essay the bugbear of literacy by coomaraswamy.
    • Interesting Interesting x 1
  2. Arboreality

    Arboreality Member

    I highly recommend both of the books you mentioned, especially The Bugbear of Literacy because it really changes your perspective on the entire Modern worldview when it comes to education and knowledge. With it comes many revelations within the broader Traditional epistemology. Of course, The Fullness of God is undoubtedly one of my favorite books by Schuon. It's a very engaging and inspiring and has helped me cultivate much of my current worldview on esoterica, and Christianity in particular. I'd say that based on what I've experienced and know, your hypothesis is quite accurate, extremely accurate actually.

    Writing in the Traditional sense does not have an association with knowledge, more of a crutch, a medium for things not seen as worth passing down in an oral transmission, or even orating in general everytime a fact is to be known. Pretty much everything you've said is true, writing only really became useful when the alternative became outright mass amnesia. Even Islam which is a relatively young system compared to others, their Quran originally was preserved orally using numerous devout hafiz in the same way Arabs had maintained their vast oral histories and poetic epics for generations. The ancient Arabs were illiterate, but perhaps knew more than their modernized descendants today.

    Nonetheless, as Coomaraswamy has said, literature is limited even for accomplishing that.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. s3v

    s3v Member

    Your profile is a joke. I wish you would take this forum solemnly.
  4. Arboreality

    Arboreality Member

    What you're bringing up is a valid concern since, at least from what I can tell, this is meant to be a more mature forum. When I first saw it, his name and avatar struck me as somewhat facetious, especially when contrasted among others' profiles. However, based on what I've read from him so far, JonhOliver has contributed constructively to the forum, commented politely. and generally has acted in good faith. It'd be a very different matter if he were acting out a caricature, trying to agitate others in the community. and/or otherwise showing a lack of respect.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. JonhOliver

    JonhOliver Member

    If my post were stupid and off topic then your complaint might hold some ground, but i think my threads have been interesting. The only reason that i chose this avatar, was simply because i'd already used it in other forums.
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