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2969Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Odysseus in the myth of Er

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  • leslie greenhill
    Jan 3, 2010
      Hi David
      Thanks for the thoughtful remarks and information.  I will try to find the Slaveva-Griffin work this week.  Some of your thoughts, though, seem to involve numerology.  That's a fairly rocky road to travel. 
      There is always something interesting to discuss about the Divided Line.  However, your reference to 511b was great.  Compare H.D.P. Lee's translation of the the sentence that ends (b) and starts (c).  "The whole procedure involves nothing in the sensible world, but moves solely through forms to forms, and finishes with forms." 
      R. Waterford translates this  as:  "It makes absolutely no use of anything perceptible by the senses:  it aims for types by means of types alone, in and of themselves, and it ends its journey with types." 
      Some of the group read Greek.  What do they think of both translations?  And what does Plato mean?  Is this his opinion or has he had some kind of expernence that does not easily translate into words.  If he has done as much work with geometry as his works suggest, then I would readily accept that he has had some kind of experience.  I can give some sort of example in this regard.  We are all familiar to a greater or lesser degree with the five Platonic solids.  An in-depth examination of certain features shows that the features can transform as they "move" from one shape to another:  angles can turn into lines (e.g. 72 degrees into 72 units).  Or angles can turn into square numbers or cubic numbers or numbers to the fourth power.  All this can be found without the aid of a computer or a calculator.  I can tell you this with absolute certainty, if you rely solely on a calculator for results you will miss the point of some of the
      marvellous formulations that can be found in some ancient works. 

      P.O. Box 314
      Mentone, Victoria 3194 Australia
      Email: neoplatonist2000@...

      --- On Mon, 4/1/10, dgallagher@... <dgallagher@...> wrote:

      From: dgallagher@... <dgallagher@...>
      Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Odysseus in the myth of Er
      To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      Received: Monday, 4 January, 2010, 6:19 AM


      In a message dated 1/3/2010 6:39:11 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
      neoplatonist2000@ yahoo.com writes:

      Hi David

      Your email of the 9th December just arrived. I understand what you are
      saying about numbers and geometry. I feel that you might feel as strongly
      about numbers and geometry as I do. However, as someone who deals in dreams
      as well, I'm not so sure that we can be so sure what numbers and geometry
      are all about anyway. In Carl Jung's "Synchonicity - an acausal connecting
      principle" he writes: "There is something peculiar, one might even say
      mysterious, about numbers...".


      Mystery and number are synonymous.

      Below is a quote from Plotinus that I have cited before:

      “The metaphysician, equipped by that very character, winged already and
      not like those others, in need of disengagement, stirring of himself towards
      the supernal but doubting of the way, needs only a guide. He must be
      shown, then, and instructed, a willing wayfarer by his very temperament, all but

      Mathematics, which as a student by nature he will take very easily, will
      be prescribed to train him to abstract thought and to faith in the
      unembodied; a moral being by native disposition, he must be led to make his virtue
      perfect; after the Mathematics he must be put through a course in Dialectic
      and made an adept in the science.” (The Six Enneads - first Ennead.)
      Indeed, I.3.3. Related, in my opinion, to Republic, VI, 511b.

      Personally, I don't take 'very easily' to quantitative mathematics.

      Now, here is a question. How many in this group have thought about what
      the "Six Enneads" may encrypt in its title? The number 54 (6 x 9) perhaps?
      If you can tell me to what it refers, we can, perhaps, start a marvellous
      You really must get/read Slaveva-Griffin, Plotinus on Number (OUP, 2009)
      [978-0-19-537719- 4], most especially pp. 17-21 and 131-140 regarding the
      number 54 and sixes and nines. I expect you'll savor the book like an
      exceptional meal or bottle of fine wine.

      A quote from Plutarch - the passage is from his essay “The E at Delphi” -
      which is published in Moralia, Volume V, immediately following the essay
      on “Isis and Osiris”. The interlocutor is Plutarch.

      “When Nicander had expounded all this, my friend Theon, whom I presume you
      know, asked Ammonius if Logical Reason had any rights in free speech,
      after being spoken of in such a very insulting manner. And when Ammonius urged
      him to speak and come to her assistance, he said, “That the god [Apollo]
      is a most logical reasoner the great majority of his oracles show clearly;
      for surely it is the function of the same person both to solve and to invent
      ambiguities. Moreover, as Plato said, when an oracle was given that they
      should double the size of the altar at Delos (a task requiring the highest
      skill in geometry), it was not this that the god was enjoining, but he was
      urging the Greeks to study geometry. And so, in the same way, when the god
      gives out ambiguous oracles, he is promoting and organizing logical
      reasoning as indispensable for those who are to apprehend his meaning aright.”
      (Babbitt, pp. 209-211/Stephanus 386)
      The pleasure and travail of philosophy.

      So, let's hear about the number 54. It's half 108. Remember Penelope's
      108 suitors?
      108/360 = thauma (irrational ratio). Also the sum of the least and most
      acute angles in a Phi triangle. Are you interested in the geometry of
      Plato's divided line (Rep. VI, 509d) and its juxtaposition with 511b, recalling
      Enneads, I.3.3?


      Five is the mean/median/ mode in 1-9. One-half root 5 is implicate in
      Plato's divided line and is essential to the generation of six. Five
      interpenetrating hexahedrons form the vertices of a dodecahedron; associated by Plato
      with the fifth and most subtle element: ether (space).

      4x9 = 36. 3+6 =9. 36 x 9 = 324 + 36 = 360. If 9 is completion, is 10
      continuous? Continuous completion? What's the distinction between complete
      and continuous?



      P.O. Box 314
      Mentone, Victoria 3194 Australia
      Email: _neoplatonist2000@ neoplaton_ (mailto:neoplatonist2000@ yahoo.com)

      --- On Wed, 9/12/09, _dgallagher@ aol.dga_ (mailto:dgallagher@aol. com)
      <_dgallagher@ aol.dga_ (mailto:dgallagher@aol. com) > wrote:

      From: _dgallagher@ aol.dga_ (mailto:dgallagher@aol. com)
      <_dgallagher@ aol.dga_ (mailto:dgallagher@aol. com) >
      Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Odysseus in the myth of Er
      To: _neoplatonism@ neoplatonismneo_ (mailto:neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com)
      Received: Wednesday, 9 December, 2009, 1:24 AM

      In a message dated 12/4/2009 7:56:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
      neoplatonist2000@ yahoo.com writes:

      P.S. I don't think that life is all about number and geometry.


      Consider the subtleties of the preposition 'about' (think spherically,
      which implicates the solids), and a possible rephrasing: Number and
      are all about life. The suggestion involves recognition of cosmos existing
      'within' soul rather than soul embodied in cosmos.


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