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Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference

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  • Leonard George
    Hi ~ I ve run across the following statement on a website concerning ancient medical knowledge: Iamblichus repeats the statement of Plato that the study of
    Message 1 of 22 , May 8, 2008
      Hi ~

      I've run across the following statement on a website concerning ancient
      medical knowledge:

      'Iamblichus repeats the statement of Plato that the study of the
      science of Numbers tends to awaken that organ in the brain which the
      ancients described as the "eye of wisdom", the organ now known to
      physiology as the pineal gland.'

      I imagine the Plato reference is to Republic VII. Could anyone point
      me toward the specific passage in Iamblichus to which this might be
      referring?

      Thanks very much,

      Leonard George
    • John Uebersax
      Hi Leonard, ... Probably the Life of Pythagoras. This, found online, agrees with what you read: In his Life of Pythagoras, Iamblichus repeats the statement of
      Message 2 of 22 , May 9, 2008
        Hi Leonard,

        > Could anyone point me toward the specific passage in Iamblichus to which this
        > might be referring?

        Probably the Life of Pythagoras.

        This, found online, agrees with what you read:

        "In his Life of Pythagoras, Iamblichus repeats the statement of Plato that the study of
        the science of Numbers tends to awaken that organ in the brain which the ancients
        described as the "eye of wisdom", the organ now known to physiology as the pineal gland.
        Speaking of the mathematical disciplines, Plato says in the Republic (Book VII), "the
        soul through these disciplines has an organ purified and enlightened, an organ better
        worth saving than ten thousand corporeal eyes, since truth becomes visible through this
        alone."
        http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/PythagorasStar.htm

        In the Life of Pythagoras:

        "He [Pythagoras] was the cause to his disciples of the most appropriate converse with the
        Gods, both when they were awake and when asleep; a thing which never takes place in a
        soul disturbed by anger, pain, pleasure or any other base desire, or defiled by
        ignorance, which is more unholy and noxious than all these. By all these inventions he
        divinely healed and purified the soul, resuscitated and saved its divine part and
        conducted to the intelligible its divine eye, which, as Plato says, is better worth
        saving than ten thousand corporeal eyes; for by looking through this alone, when it is
        strengthened and clarified by appropriate aids, the truth pertaining to all things is
        perceived. Referring therefore to this, Pythagoras purified the dianoetic power of the
        soul."
        - Iamblichus, Life of Pythagoras (Thomas Taylor, tr;, p. 56)

        Note that Iamblichus only refers to a "divine eye", and not the "eye of wisdom"; and he
        doesn't call it an "organ in the brain."

        Looking at Plato's Republic:

        Socrates:
        I am amused, I said, at your fear of the world, which makes you guard against the
        appearance of insisting upon useless studies; and I quite admit the difficulty of
        believing that in every man there is an eye of the soul which, when by other pursuits
        lost and dimmed, is by these purified and re-illumined; and is more precious far than ten
        thousand bodily eyes, for by it alone is truth seen.
        - Rep. 7.527d-e (Jowett, tr.)

        Compare with:

        "I am amused," said I, "at your apparent fear lest the multitude may suppose you to be
        recommending useless studies. It is indeed no trifling task, but very difficult to
        realize that there is in every soul an organ or instrument of knowledge that is purified
        and kindled afresh by such studies when it has been destroyed and blinded by our ordinary
        pursuits, a faculty whose preservation outweighs ten thousand eyes; for by it only is
        reality beheld.
        - Rep. 7.527d-e (Shorey, tr.)

        Don't ask me about the Greek, but the operative terms here seem to be, organon ti psuchês
        -- suggesting Shorey is more accurate here.

        In any case, this this article describes some interesting views on the pineal gland in
        antiquity and late antiquity:

        Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
        "Descartes and the Pineal Gland"
        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pineal-gland/

        Hope this helps.

        John Uebersax
        Brussels
        http://satyagraha.wordpress.com



        --
        John Uebersax, PhD
        Brussels, Belgium
        tel +32 2 221 1438
        fax +32 2 221 1599
        email: jsuebersax@...
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        psychology: members.aol.com/spiritualpsych
        statistics: ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jsuebersax/agree.htm


        ____________________________________________________________________________________
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      • vladmarilena
        Dear Leonard, You could also see Iamblichus Protreptikos, 4, p.50, 14-15 (in the Bude edition), where wisdom is considered the eye of the intellective things
        Message 3 of 22 , May 9, 2008
          Dear Leonard,
          You could also see Iamblichus' Protreptikos, 4, p.50, 14-15 (in the
          Bude edition), where wisdom is considered "the eye of the intellective
          things (ophthalmos ton noeron)", just as the sun is the "eye of
          natural phenomena". As such, the function of wisdom is "to contemplate
          the ideas", first by reducing all things to a single principle, and
          then, by unfolding all things â€" "according to a certain number" â€",
          starting from those who are closer to the One (see the rest of chapter
          4 of Protreptikos). It ascends from the multiple to the One and then
          descends from the One to the multiple, very much in the way in which
          Plato describes dialectics (Rep., 511 b).
          Best regards
          Marilena Vlad


          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Leonard George" <lgeorge@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi ~
          >
          > I've run across the following statement on a website concerning ancient
          > medical knowledge:
          >
          > 'Iamblichus repeats the statement of Plato that the study of the
          > science of Numbers tends to awaken that organ in the brain which the
          > ancients described as the "eye of wisdom", the organ now known to
          > physiology as the pineal gland.'
          >
          > I imagine the Plato reference is to Republic VII. Could anyone point
          > me toward the specific passage in Iamblichus to which this might be
          > referring?
          >
          > Thanks very much,
          >
          > Leonard George
          >
        • vaeringjar
          ... the pineal gland in ... Somehow I made it this far in life without ever having the slightest notion of even where the pineal gland is, and now thanks to
          Message 4 of 22 , May 9, 2008
            >
            > In any case, this this article describes some interesting views on
            the pineal gland in
            > antiquity and late antiquity:
            >
            > Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
            > "Descartes and the Pineal Gland"
            > http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pineal-gland/
            >
            > Hope this helps.
            >
            > John Uebersax
            > Brussels
            > http://satyagraha.wordpress.com
            >
            >
            >
            >

            Somehow I made it this far in life without ever having the slightest
            notion of even where the pineal gland is, and now thanks to your
            pointing out this fascinating article at the Stanford site I see how
            important it once was considered. Thanks. I really liked this bit in
            particular:

            "In a treatise called On the difference between spirit and soul,
            Qusta ibn Luqa (864-923) combined Nemesius' ventricular localization
            doctrine with Galen's account of a worm-like part of the brain that
            controls the flow of animal spirit between the middle and posterior
            ventricles. He wrote that people who want to remember look upwards
            because this raises the worm-like particle, opens the passage, and
            enables the retrieval of memories from the posterior ventricle.
            People who want to think, on the other hand, look down because this
            lowers the particle, closes the passage, and protects the spirit in
            the middle ventricle from being disturbed by memories stored in the
            posterior ventricle (Constantinus Africanus 1536, p. 310) (Figure 2,
            Figure 3). Qusta's treatise was very influential in thirteenth-
            century scholastic Europe (Wilcox 1985)."

            Especially curious is the looking up and looking down!

            There is also an interesting little code about Madame Blavatsky and
            the pineal gland as a vestigial Third Eye, the sad denouement of the
            pinealis philosophica, I suppose. Now of course it would be a great
            irony if in the future some evolutionary scientist turned up evidence
            that the pineal was actually somehow crucial in the development of
            consciousness or some such.

            The comments there about Descartes being a Platonist rather eluded
            me. I didn't get a chance to follow up on those in detail, but how
            was Descartes a Platonist, I wonder? I should know already, but I
            haven't read anything about him in over 20 years.

            Dennis Clark
          • vaeringjar
            ... on ... slightest ... how ... in ... localization ... 2, ... the ... evidence ... Correction on the Blavatsky - read please coda . Dennis
            Message 5 of 22 , May 9, 2008
              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...>
              wrote:
              >
              >
              > >
              > > In any case, this this article describes some interesting views
              on
              > the pineal gland in
              > > antiquity and late antiquity:
              > >
              > > Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
              > > "Descartes and the Pineal Gland"
              > > http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pineal-gland/
              > >
              > > Hope this helps.
              > >
              > > John Uebersax
              > > Brussels
              > > http://satyagraha.wordpress.com
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              > Somehow I made it this far in life without ever having the
              slightest
              > notion of even where the pineal gland is, and now thanks to your
              > pointing out this fascinating article at the Stanford site I see
              how
              > important it once was considered. Thanks. I really liked this bit
              in
              > particular:
              >
              > "In a treatise called On the difference between spirit and soul,
              > Qusta ibn Luqa (864-923) combined Nemesius' ventricular
              localization
              > doctrine with Galen's account of a worm-like part of the brain that
              > controls the flow of animal spirit between the middle and posterior
              > ventricles. He wrote that people who want to remember look upwards
              > because this raises the worm-like particle, opens the passage, and
              > enables the retrieval of memories from the posterior ventricle.
              > People who want to think, on the other hand, look down because this
              > lowers the particle, closes the passage, and protects the spirit in
              > the middle ventricle from being disturbed by memories stored in the
              > posterior ventricle (Constantinus Africanus 1536, p. 310) (Figure
              2,
              > Figure 3). Qusta's treatise was very influential in thirteenth-
              > century scholastic Europe (Wilcox 1985)."
              >
              > Especially curious is the looking up and looking down!
              >
              > There is also an interesting little code about Madame Blavatsky and
              > the pineal gland as a vestigial Third Eye, the sad denouement of
              the
              > pinealis philosophica, I suppose. Now of course it would be a great
              > irony if in the future some evolutionary scientist turned up
              evidence
              > that the pineal was actually somehow crucial in the development of
              > consciousness or some such.
              >
              > The comments there about Descartes being a Platonist rather eluded
              > me. I didn't get a chance to follow up on those in detail, but how
              > was Descartes a Platonist, I wonder? I should know already, but I
              > haven't read anything about him in over 20 years.
              >
              > Dennis Clark
              >

              Correction on the Blavatsky - read please "coda".

              Dennis
            • Marilynn Lawrence Moore
              ... Ugh. Some analytic philosophers call every sort of dualism Platonism .
              Message 6 of 22 , May 9, 2008
                > The comments there about Descartes being a Platonist rather eluded
                > me. I didn't get a chance to follow up on those in detail, but how
                > was Descartes a Platonist, I wonder? I should know already, but I
                > haven't read anything about him in over 20 years.
                >
                > Dennis Clark
                >

                Ugh. Some analytic philosophers call every sort of dualism 'Platonism'.
              • John Uebersax
                ... Yes. Not mentioned is looking to the left and the right, which each also seem correlated with specific mental operations. ... Concerning Plato s reference
                Message 7 of 22 , May 10, 2008
                  Dennis Clark wrote:

                  > Especially curious is the looking up and looking down!

                  Yes. Not mentioned is looking to the left and the right, which each also seem correlated
                  with specific mental operations.

                  > There is also an interesting little coda about Madame Blavatsky and
                  > the pineal gland as a vestigial Third Eye,

                  Concerning Plato's reference in Rep. 527d-e, here is the commentary from James Adam:

                  "Every human being has an organon psuchês viz. nous: it is indeed the possession of nous
                  which makes him at once truly human and therewithal divine (VI 501 B note)."
                  - The Republic of Plato. James Adam. 1902. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.
                  http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3atext%3a1999.04.0094&query=page%3d%23451

                  So he takes Plato's reference as metaphorical, and not referring to a physiological
                  organ.

                  And there is this article by Michael Allen:

                  Marsilio Ficino on Plato's Pythagorean Eye
                  Michael J. B. Allen
                  MLN, Vol. 97, No. 1, Italian Issue. (Jan., 1982), pp. 171-182.
                  (at JSTOR)

                  This relates that Ficino, in his Philebus commentary, states:

                  "Among the wisest men of Greece arose the saying that Plato had three eyes: one with
                  which he looked at human things, another at natural things, and another at divine things.
                  The last was in his forehead, while the others were under his forehead."'

                  Allen reports finding only two ancient sources for this tradition (but both likely
                  unfamiliar to Ficino).

                  The first is in an anonymous prolegomena to Platonic studies written perhaps by Elias or
                  someone else from Olympiodorus' school:

                  "It is said, in fact, that having found the theory of ideas he [Plato] dreamt that he had
                  a third eye.

                  The second is a passing reference by Origen in Contra Celsum. Celsus criticized
                  Christianity for promoting 'fantastic stories.' Origen then counters that pagans do the
                  same, listing examples, including "the third eye which Plato saw that he himself
                  possessed".
                  - Origen, Contra Celsum 6.8 (Roberts-Donaldson)
                  http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/origen166.html

                  Back to the pineal gland: the pineal gland does have cells that resemble retinal cells
                  (something probably not known by the ancients or even Descartes). This passage from a
                  1966 Atlantic Monthly article looks interesting:

                  "The physiological site of this sixth chakra, the sahasrara, is located in the center of
                  the forehead; it is symbolized by an eye--the so-called third eye, the inner eye, or the
                  eye of the mind. When this eye is opened, a new and completely other dimension of reality
                  is revealed to the practitioner of yoga. Western scholars when they first came upon this
                  literature took the third eye to be an appropriately poetic metaphor and nothing else."

                  "But in the middle of the nineteenth century, as the subcontinent of Australia and its
                  surrounding territory came to be explored, a flurry of zoological interest centered upon
                  a lizard native to the area, the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatum). This animal possessed, in
                  addition to two perfectly ordinary eyes located on either side of its head, a third eye
                  buried in the skull which was revealed through an aperture in the bone, covered by a
                  transparent membrane, and surrounded by a rosette of scales. It was unmistakably a third
                  eye, but upon dissection it proved to be nonfunctional. Though it still possessed the
                  structure of a lens and retina, these were no longer in good working order; also lacking
                  were appropriate neural connections to the brain. But the presence of this eye in the
                  tuatara still poses a puzzle to present-day evolutionists, for almost all vertebrates
                  possess a homologous structure in the center of their skulls. It is present in many fish,
                  all reptiles, birds, and mammals (including humans)."

                  http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/96may/nitrous/lsd.htm

                  John Uebersax




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                • Bruce MacLennan
                  ... The wikipedia article Pineal Gland is pretty informative: Bruce [Non-text portions of this message have been
                  Message 8 of 22 , May 10, 2008
                    On May 10, 2008, at 3:39 AM, John Uebersax wrote:

                    > Back to the pineal gland: the pineal gland does have cells that
                    > resemble retinal cells
                    > (something probably not known by the ancients or even Descartes). ...

                    The wikipedia article "Pineal Gland" is pretty informative:

                    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineal_gland>

                    Bruce



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • John Dilon
                    ... I imagine in the introduction to his commentary on Nicomachus, but one would need to check. JMD [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    Message 9 of 22 , May 11, 2008
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi ~
                      >
                      > I've run across the following statement on a website concerning ancient
                      > medical knowledge:
                      >
                      > 'Iamblichus repeats the statement of Plato that the study of the
                      > science of Numbers tends to awaken that organ in the brain which the
                      > ancients described as the "eye of wisdom", the organ now known to
                      > physiology as the pineal gland.'
                      >
                      > I imagine the Plato reference is to Republic VII. Could anyone point
                      > me toward the specific passage in Iamblichus to which this might be
                      > referring?
                      >
                      > Thanks very much,
                      >
                      > Leonard George
                      >
                      >
                      >

                      I imagine in the introduction to his commentary on Nicomachus, but one would
                      need to check. JMD


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • John Uebersax
                      ... Thanks Bruce. There s also this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_eye John Uebersax
                      Message 10 of 22 , May 12, 2008
                        Bruce MacLennan wrote:

                        > The wikipedia article "Pineal Gland" is pretty informative:
                        >
                        > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineal_gland>

                        Thanks Bruce.

                        There's also this one:

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_eye

                        John Uebersax


                        ____________________________________________________________________________________
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                        know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now. http://mobile.yahoo.com/;_ylt=Ahu06i62sR8HDtDypao8Wcj9tAcJ
                      • vaeringjar
                        ... three eyes: one with ... another at divine things. ... forehead. ... (but both likely ... written perhaps by Elias or ... [Plato] dreamt that he had ...
                        Message 11 of 22 , May 12, 2008
                          >
                          > And there is this article by Michael Allen:
                          >
                          > Marsilio Ficino on Plato's Pythagorean Eye
                          > Michael J. B. Allen
                          > MLN, Vol. 97, No. 1, Italian Issue. (Jan., 1982), pp. 171-182.
                          > (at JSTOR)
                          >
                          > This relates that Ficino, in his Philebus commentary, states:
                          >
                          > "Among the wisest men of Greece arose the saying that Plato had
                          three eyes: one with
                          > which he looked at human things, another at natural things, and
                          another at divine things.
                          > The last was in his forehead, while the others were under his
                          forehead."'
                          >
                          > Allen reports finding only two ancient sources for this tradition
                          (but both likely
                          > unfamiliar to Ficino).
                          >
                          > The first is in an anonymous prolegomena to Platonic studies
                          written perhaps by Elias or
                          > someone else from Olympiodorus' school:
                          >
                          > "It is said, in fact, that having found the theory of ideas he
                          [Plato] dreamt that he had
                          > a third eye.
                          >

                          Well, that is fascinating, especially the Ficino reference, and I
                          will try to find that article by Prof Allen, and take a look at the
                          reference in Celsus too. I don't remember reading that in the Anon.
                          proleg. however.

                          Seems odd that lizard would have a third eye since all else seems to
                          follow the symmetry of two's, right and left, but here we clearly
                          have at least vestigially a third. Not that I am up that much on
                          evolutionary biology, that there may be a third this or that
                          something else in the hundreds of millions of years of life on Earth.
                          All this is most curious.

                          Dennis Clark
                        • vaeringjar
                          ... dualism Platonism . ... Well, I was wondering along those lines myself, but Descartes is hardly someone with whom I have much acquaintance beyond the
                          Message 12 of 22 , May 12, 2008
                            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Marilynn Lawrence Moore"
                            <pronoia@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > The comments there about Descartes being a Platonist rather eluded
                            > > me. I didn't get a chance to follow up on those in detail, but how
                            > > was Descartes a Platonist, I wonder? I should know already, but I
                            > > haven't read anything about him in over 20 years.
                            > >
                            > > Dennis Clark
                            > >
                            >
                            > Ugh. Some analytic philosophers call every sort of
                            dualism 'Platonism'.
                            >

                            Well, I was wondering along those lines myself, but Descartes is hardly
                            someone with whom I have much acquaintance beyond the basics.

                            Dennis Clark
                          • Curt Steinmetz
                            Actually, tuataras, while related to lizards, are just as closely related to snakes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuatara and especially, with regard to the
                            Message 13 of 22 , May 12, 2008
                              Actually, tuataras, while related to lizards, are just as closely
                              related to snakes:
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuatara
                              and especially, with regard to the "parietal eye":
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuatara#Sensory_organs
                              and, more generally:
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parietal_eye

                              Curt Steinmetz

                              vaeringjar wrote:
                              >
                              > Seems odd that lizard would have a third eye since all else seems to
                              > follow the symmetry of two's, right and left, but here we clearly
                              > have at least vestigially a third. Not that I am up that much on
                              > evolutionary biology, that there may be a third this or that
                              > something else in the hundreds of millions of years of life on Earth.
                              > All this is most curious.
                              >
                              >
                            • Leonard George
                              Thanks to all for your very generous and valuable responses! I m intrigued by the question of how various Platonists understood the ontological status of this
                              Message 14 of 22 , May 14, 2008
                                Thanks to all for your very generous and valuable responses!

                                I'm intrigued by the question of how various Platonists understood
                                the ontological status of this 'eye of the soul'. The esteemed Dr.
                                Dillon, in his paper "Aisthesis Noete: A Doctrine of Spiritual Senses
                                in Origen and in Plotinus" (in The Golden Chain: Studies in the
                                Development of Platonism and Christianity) noted passages by those
                                two that imply a belief in spiritual sense organs that are neither
                                metaphors for Nous nor references to the faculties of the soul, but
                                *literal* though non-material organs. With this in mind, I then look
                                at a passage in De Mysteriis that has long caught my attention: "the
                                advent of the gods... shows what is not body as body to the eyes of
                                the soul by means of those of the body" (DM II.6.81-82). A few
                                modern commentators have briefly glossed this passage with rather
                                general statements about the soul's vehicle, without discussing
                                precisely what role is played by the 'eyes of the body'. I infer
                                that these bodily eyes, being contrasted to the 'eyes of the soul',
                                are the physical sense organs. So then how exactly do these two sets
                                of organs interact to give rise to the mysterious experience of
                                perceiving 'what is not body as body'? As the physical eyes are
                                involved, I assume that the perception of physical objects is part of
                                the process - we're not just talking about visionary activity in the
                                phantastikon here. If anyone feels like offering further thoughts or
                                leads on this, I'd be glad.

                                Cheers,
                                Leonard



                                --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Leonard George" <lgeorge@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > Hi ~
                                >
                                > I've run across the following statement on a website concerning
                                ancient
                                > medical knowledge:
                                >
                                > 'Iamblichus repeats the statement of Plato that the study of the
                                > science of Numbers tends to awaken that organ in the brain which
                                the
                                > ancients described as the "eye of wisdom", the organ now known to
                                > physiology as the pineal gland.'
                                >
                                > I imagine the Plato reference is to Republic VII. Could anyone
                                point
                                > me toward the specific passage in Iamblichus to which this might be
                                > referring?
                                >
                                > Thanks very much,
                                >
                                > Leonard George
                                >
                              • Sebastian Moro
                                Dear Leonard, This is an interesting topic. You could check Proclus, In Remp. II, 241.19 ff. about the myth of Er and how he and his companions can see and
                                Message 15 of 22 , May 15, 2008
                                  Dear Leonard,

                                  This is an interesting topic. You could check Proclus, In Remp. II, 241.19 ff. about the myth of Er and how he and his companions can see and hear the Moirae. There are other references of this kind of inner sense in Proclus (In Alc., etc.) in Trouillard, La mystagogie de Proclos, chapter II (revised version of "Le merveilleux dans la vie et la pensée de Proclos", Revue Philosophique 163 (1973), 439-52.

                                  I am more interested in the auditory implications of this theory. It would be interesting to find Neoplatonic texts about the "ear of the soul". Has anybody found this expression?

                                  Besides Proclus references about hearing the voices of gods, etc., there are references about Pythagoras hearing the music of the spheres, in Porphyry and Iamblichus, but I don't think they mention something like a counterpart of the eye of the soul in audition terms. I think that there is a reference in Ps.Dionysius about spiritual hearing, but I can't remember now where he says that.

                                  Best Regards,

                                  Sebastian


                                  --- On Wed, 5/14/08, Leonard George <lgeorge@...> wrote:

                                  From: Leonard George <lgeorge@...>
                                  Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
                                  To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                  Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 5:58 PM






                                  Thanks to all for your very generous and valuable responses!

                                  I'm intrigued by the question of how various Platonists understood
                                  the ontological status of this 'eye of the soul'. The esteemed Dr.
                                  Dillon, in his paper "Aisthesis Noete: A Doctrine of Spiritual Senses
                                  in Origen and in Plotinus" (in The Golden Chain: Studies in the
                                  Development of Platonism and Christianity) noted passages by those
                                  two that imply a belief in spiritual sense organs that are neither
                                  metaphors for Nous nor references to the faculties of the soul, but
                                  *literal* though non-material organs. With this in mind, I then look
                                  at a passage in De Mysteriis that has long caught my attention: "the
                                  advent of the gods... shows what is not body as body to the eyes of
                                  the soul by means of those of the body" (DM II.6.81-82). A few
                                  modern commentators have briefly glossed this passage with rather
                                  general statements about the soul's vehicle, without discussing
                                  precisely what role is played by the 'eyes of the body'. I infer
                                  that these bodily eyes, being contrasted to the 'eyes of the soul',
                                  are the physical sense organs. So then how exactly do these two sets
                                  of organs interact to give rise to the mysterious experience of
                                  perceiving 'what is not body as body'? As the physical eyes are
                                  involved, I assume that the perception of physical objects is part of
                                  the process - we're not just talking about visionary activity in the
                                  phantastikon here. If anyone feels like offering further thoughts or
                                  leads on this, I'd be glad.

                                  Cheers,
                                  Leonard
                                • vaeringjar
                                  ... Senses ... look ... attention: the ... sets ... of ... the ... or ... Does that famous Greek concept of like sensing like come into play here? I haven t
                                  Message 16 of 22 , May 16, 2008
                                    --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Leonard George" <lgeorge@...>
                                    wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Thanks to all for your very generous and valuable responses!
                                    >
                                    > I'm intrigued by the question of how various Platonists understood
                                    > the ontological status of this 'eye of the soul'. The esteemed Dr.
                                    > Dillon, in his paper "Aisthesis Noete: A Doctrine of Spiritual
                                    Senses
                                    > in Origen and in Plotinus" (in The Golden Chain: Studies in the
                                    > Development of Platonism and Christianity) noted passages by those
                                    > two that imply a belief in spiritual sense organs that are neither
                                    > metaphors for Nous nor references to the faculties of the soul, but
                                    > *literal* though non-material organs. With this in mind, I then
                                    look
                                    > at a passage in De Mysteriis that has long caught my
                                    attention: "the
                                    > advent of the gods... shows what is not body as body to the eyes of
                                    > the soul by means of those of the body" (DM II.6.81-82). A few
                                    > modern commentators have briefly glossed this passage with rather
                                    > general statements about the soul's vehicle, without discussing
                                    > precisely what role is played by the 'eyes of the body'. I infer
                                    > that these bodily eyes, being contrasted to the 'eyes of the soul',
                                    > are the physical sense organs. So then how exactly do these two
                                    sets
                                    > of organs interact to give rise to the mysterious experience of
                                    > perceiving 'what is not body as body'? As the physical eyes are
                                    > involved, I assume that the perception of physical objects is part
                                    of
                                    > the process - we're not just talking about visionary activity in
                                    the
                                    > phantastikon here. If anyone feels like offering further thoughts
                                    or
                                    > leads on this, I'd be glad.
                                    >
                                    > Cheers,
                                    > Leonard
                                    >
                                    >

                                    Does that famous Greek concept of like "sensing" like come into play
                                    here?

                                    I haven't had a chance to review that passage in DM yet, but I would
                                    wonder also perhaps about the role of light in this process. Book I
                                    is heavily concerned with the concept of ellampsis, and of course
                                    later on Iamblichus will emphasize the role of the sun as the major
                                    synthema in theurgy. And of course light at least as a metaphor if
                                    not an actual mechanism figures way back already in Plato in the
                                    allegory of the cave in the Republic and largely of course in
                                    Plotinus as well. I am currently trying to research ellampsis in Book
                                    I so thanks for this other reference which might also be relevant.

                                    Dennis Clark
                                  • Leonard George
                                    Dear Sebastian ~ Thanks for your note. Regarding spritual hearing and the ear of the soul , I don t know of an explicit reference to the latter. But (you may
                                    Message 17 of 22 , May 16, 2008
                                      Dear Sebastian ~

                                      Thanks for your note.

                                      Regarding spritual hearing and the 'ear of the soul', I don't know of
                                      an explicit reference to the latter. But (you may already be aware
                                      of this) there are some interesting passages in De Mysteriis on
                                      auditory phenomena. DM III.2 discusses various inspired states
                                      according to the degree of wakefulness, the degree of involvement of
                                      nous, and sensory modalities. There he refers to hearing voices that
                                      give guidance during transitions between waking and sleeping (what
                                      psychologists call hypnagogic / hypnopompic states). Even more
                                      intriguing is the reference to a pneuma that encircles a
                                      person 'lying down'; it enters with a rushing / whistling / whooshing
                                      sound (rhoizos). And in another state of divine illumination, one can
                                      hear what the gods say. How is one understood to be hearing all
                                      these things? This 'rhoizos' points to Iamblichus' theurgical
                                      interests, as it occurs many times in the Chaldean Oracles; Sarah
                                      Iles Johnston's 'Hekate Soteira' and Greg Shaw's 'Theurgy and the
                                      Soul' explore this, and there are further references in the notes to
                                      the chapter 'The Sound of Piping' in Peter Kingsley's 'In the Dark
                                      Places of Wisdom'.

                                      Compare DM III.2 with DM III.9, where music is discussed.
                                      Consecrated sounds can lead to divine possession, but this can't be
                                      explained in a reductive fashion simply by an interaction between
                                      body, soul and physical stimulus. Rather, it's good old anamnesis -
                                      the tones remind the soul of the divine harmony it heard (with what?)
                                      prior to its incarnation. 'Rhoizos' appears in this passage too,
                                      referring to the music of the spheres, not to the sounds of
                                      consecrated tunes that evoke its reminiscence. So perhaps DM refers
                                      to two kinds of spiritual auditory phenomena - one that involves
                                      direct perception of some pneumatic stimulus by the soul, and one
                                      that involves (but is not simply caused by) physical hearing.

                                      Cheers,

                                      Leonard
                                      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Sebastian Moro <sebfm2001@...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Dear Leonard,
                                      >
                                      > This is an interesting topic. You could check Proclus, In Remp. II,
                                      241.19 ff. about the myth of Er and how he and his companions can see
                                      and hear the Moirae. There are other references of this kind of inner
                                      sense in Proclus (In Alc., etc.) in Trouillard, La mystagogie de
                                      Proclos, chapter II (revised version of "Le merveilleux dans la vie
                                      et la pensée de Proclos", Revue Philosophique 163 (1973), 439-52.
                                      >
                                      > I am more interested in the auditory implications of this theory.
                                      It would be interesting to find Neoplatonic texts about the "ear of
                                      the soul". Has anybody found this expression?
                                      >
                                      > Besides Proclus references about hearing the voices of gods, etc.,
                                      there are references about Pythagoras hearing the music of the
                                      spheres, in Porphyry and Iamblichus, but I don't think they mention
                                      something like a counterpart of the eye of the soul in audition
                                      terms. I think that there is a reference in Ps.Dionysius about
                                      spiritual hearing, but I can't remember now where he says that.
                                      >
                                      > Best Regards,
                                      >
                                      > Sebastian
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > --- On Wed, 5/14/08, Leonard George <lgeorge@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > From: Leonard George <lgeorge@...>
                                      > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged
                                      reference
                                      > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                      > Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 5:58 PM
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Thanks to all for your very generous and valuable responses!
                                      >
                                      > I'm intrigued by the question of how various Platonists understood
                                      > the ontological status of this 'eye of the soul'. The esteemed Dr.
                                      > Dillon, in his paper "Aisthesis Noete: A Doctrine of Spiritual
                                      Senses
                                      > in Origen and in Plotinus" (in The Golden Chain: Studies in the
                                      > Development of Platonism and Christianity) noted passages by those
                                      > two that imply a belief in spiritual sense organs that are neither
                                      > metaphors for Nous nor references to the faculties of the soul, but
                                      > *literal* though non-material organs. With this in mind, I then
                                      look
                                      > at a passage in De Mysteriis that has long caught my
                                      attention: "the
                                      > advent of the gods... shows what is not body as body to the eyes of
                                      > the soul by means of those of the body" (DM II.6.81-82). A few
                                      > modern commentators have briefly glossed this passage with rather
                                      > general statements about the soul's vehicle, without discussing
                                      > precisely what role is played by the 'eyes of the body'. I infer
                                      > that these bodily eyes, being contrasted to the 'eyes of the soul',
                                      > are the physical sense organs. So then how exactly do these two
                                      sets
                                      > of organs interact to give rise to the mysterious experience of
                                      > perceiving 'what is not body as body'? As the physical eyes are
                                      > involved, I assume that the perception of physical objects is part
                                      of
                                      > the process - we're not just talking about visionary activity in
                                      the
                                      > phantastikon here. If anyone feels like offering further thoughts
                                      or
                                      > leads on this, I'd be glad.
                                      >
                                      > Cheers,
                                      > Leonard
                                      >
                                    • John Dilon
                                      ... That is a nice passage from the De Mysteriis, and deserves thinking about. Actually, even Plotinus envisages spiritual senses, in Enn. VI 7, since he feels
                                      Message 18 of 22 , May 17, 2008
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Thanks to all for your very generous and valuable responses!
                                        >
                                        > I'm intrigued by the question of how various Platonists understood
                                        > the ontological status of this 'eye of the soul'. The esteemed Dr.
                                        > Dillon, in his paper "Aisthesis Noete: A Doctrine of Spiritual Senses
                                        > in Origen and in Plotinus" (in The Golden Chain: Studies in the
                                        > Development of Platonism and Christianity) noted passages by those
                                        > two that imply a belief in spiritual sense organs that are neither
                                        > metaphors for Nous nor references to the faculties of the soul, but
                                        > *literal* though non-material organs. With this in mind, I then look
                                        > at a passage in De Mysteriis that has long caught my attention: "the
                                        > advent of the gods... shows what is not body as body to the eyes of
                                        > the soul by means of those of the body" (DM II.6.81-82). A few
                                        > modern commentators have briefly glossed this passage with rather
                                        > general statements about the soul's vehicle, without discussing
                                        > precisely what role is played by the 'eyes of the body'. I infer
                                        > that these bodily eyes, being contrasted to the 'eyes of the soul',
                                        > are the physical sense organs. So then how exactly do these two sets
                                        > of organs interact to give rise to the mysterious experience of
                                        > perceiving 'what is not body as body'? As the physical eyes are
                                        > involved, I assume that the perception of physical objects is part of
                                        > the process - we're not just talking about visionary activity in the
                                        > phantastikon here. If anyone feels like offering further thoughts or
                                        > leads on this, I'd be glad.
                                        >
                                        > Cheers,
                                        > Leonard
                                        >
                                        > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> ,
                                        > "Leonard George" <lgeorge@...>
                                        > wrote:
                                        >> >
                                        >> > Hi ~
                                        >> >
                                        >> > I've run across the following statement on a website concerning
                                        > ancient
                                        >> > medical knowledge:
                                        >> >
                                        >> > 'Iamblichus repeats the statement of Plato that the study of the
                                        >> > science of Numbers tends to awaken that organ in the brain which
                                        > the
                                        >> > ancients described as the "eye of wisdom", the organ now known to
                                        >> > physiology as the pineal gland.'
                                        >> >
                                        >> > I imagine the Plato reference is to Republic VII. Could anyone
                                        > point
                                        >> > me toward the specific passage in Iamblichus to which this might be
                                        >> > referring?
                                        >> >
                                        >> > Thanks very much,
                                        >> >
                                        >> > Leonard George
                                        >> >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >

                                        That is a nice passage from the De Mysteriis, and deserves thinking about.
                                        Actually, even Plotinus envisages spiritual senses, in Enn. VI 7, since he
                                        feels that the soul should not be equipped with organs only for descent into
                                        a body ‹ it should have some analogue to them in itself. JMD


                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • John Dilon
                                        ... Dominic O¹Mears has a good paper on ŒHearing the Music of the Spheres¹ in A Platonic Pythagoras, edd. M. Bonazzi et al., Brepols 2007. JMD [Non-text
                                        Message 19 of 22 , May 17, 2008
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Dear Leonard,
                                          >
                                          > This is an interesting topic. You could check Proclus, In Remp. II, 241.19 ff.
                                          > about the myth of Er and how he and his companions can see and hear the
                                          > Moirae. There are other references of this kind of inner sense in Proclus (In
                                          > Alc., etc.) in Trouillard, La mystagogie de Proclos, chapter II (revised
                                          > version of "Le merveilleux dans la vie et la pensée de Proclos", Revue
                                          > Philosophique 163 (1973), 439-52.
                                          >
                                          > I am more interested in the auditory implications of this theory. It would be
                                          > interesting to find Neoplatonic texts about the "ear of the soul". Has anybody
                                          > found this expression?
                                          >
                                          > Besides Proclus references about hearing the voices of gods, etc., there are
                                          > references about Pythagoras hearing the music of the spheres, in Porphyry and
                                          > Iamblichus, but I don't think they mention something like a counterpart of the
                                          > eye of the soul in audition terms. I think that there is a reference in
                                          > Ps.Dionysius about spiritual hearing, but I can't remember now where he says
                                          > that.
                                          >
                                          > Best Regards,
                                          >
                                          > Sebastian
                                          >
                                          > --- On Wed, 5/14/08, Leonard George <lgeorge@...
                                          > <mailto:lgeorge%40interchange.ubc.ca> > wrote:
                                          >
                                          > From: Leonard George <lgeorge@...
                                          > <mailto:lgeorge%40interchange.ubc.ca> >
                                          > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
                                          > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
                                          > Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 5:58 PM
                                          >
                                          > Thanks to all for your very generous and valuable responses!
                                          >
                                          > I'm intrigued by the question of how various Platonists understood
                                          > the ontological status of this 'eye of the soul'. The esteemed Dr.
                                          > Dillon, in his paper "Aisthesis Noete: A Doctrine of Spiritual Senses
                                          > in Origen and in Plotinus" (in The Golden Chain: Studies in the
                                          > Development of Platonism and Christianity) noted passages by those
                                          > two that imply a belief in spiritual sense organs that are neither
                                          > metaphors for Nous nor references to the faculties of the soul, but
                                          > *literal* though non-material organs. With this in mind, I then look
                                          > at a passage in De Mysteriis that has long caught my attention: "the
                                          > advent of the gods... shows what is not body as body to the eyes of
                                          > the soul by means of those of the body" (DM II.6.81-82). A few
                                          > modern commentators have briefly glossed this passage with rather
                                          > general statements about the soul's vehicle, without discussing
                                          > precisely what role is played by the 'eyes of the body'. I infer
                                          > that these bodily eyes, being contrasted to the 'eyes of the soul',
                                          > are the physical sense organs. So then how exactly do these two sets
                                          > of organs interact to give rise to the mysterious experience of
                                          > perceiving 'what is not body as body'? As the physical eyes are
                                          > involved, I assume that the perception of physical objects is part of
                                          > the process - we're not just talking about visionary activity in the
                                          > phantastikon here. If anyone feels like offering further thoughts or
                                          > leads on this, I'd be glad.
                                          >
                                          > Cheers,
                                          > Leonard
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >

                                          Dominic O¹Mears has a good paper on ŒHearing the Music of the Spheres¹ in A
                                          Platonic Pythagoras, edd. M. Bonazzi et al., Brepols 2007. JMD


                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • Sebastian Moro
                                          Many thanks, Prof. Dillon, for the information on D. O Meara s paper. Regards ... From: John Dilon Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re:
                                          Message 20 of 22 , May 17, 2008
                                            Many thanks, Prof. Dillon, for the information on D. O'Meara's paper.
                                            Regards


                                            --- On Sat, 5/17/08, John Dilon <jmdillon@...> wrote:

                                            From: John Dilon <jmdillon@...>
                                            Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
                                            To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                            Date: Saturday, May 17, 2008, 10:05 AM






                                            Dominic O¹Mears has a good paper on ŒHearing the Music of the Spheres¹ in A
                                            Platonic Pythagoras, edd. M. Bonazzi et al., Brepols 2007. JMD
                                          • neoplatonist2000
                                            ... ancient ... one would ... Dear Leonard Re your earlier reference to numbers. This is what Plotinus has to say on the subject of mathematics. The
                                            Message 21 of 22 , May 19, 2008
                                              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Dilon <jmdillon@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > >
                                              > >
                                              > >
                                              > > Hi ~
                                              > >
                                              > > I've run across the following statement on a website concerning
                                              ancient
                                              > > medical knowledge:
                                              > >
                                              > > 'Iamblichus repeats the statement of Plato that the study of the
                                              > > science of Numbers tends to awaken that organ in the brain which the
                                              > > ancients described as the "eye of wisdom", the organ now known to
                                              > > physiology as the pineal gland.'
                                              > >
                                              > > I imagine the Plato reference is to Republic VII. Could anyone point
                                              > > me toward the specific passage in Iamblichus to which this might be
                                              > > referring?
                                              > >
                                              > > Thanks very much,
                                              > >
                                              > > Leonard George
                                              > >
                                              > >
                                              > >
                                              >
                                              > I imagine in the introduction to his commentary on Nicomachus, but
                                              one would
                                              > need to check. JMD
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                                              Dear Leonard

                                              Re your earlier reference to numbers. This is what Plotinus has to
                                              say on the subject of mathematics.

                                              "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 self-directed.

                                              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.)

                                              Les Greenhill
                                            • Sebastian Moro
                                              Dear Leonard,   Thank you very much for your message about spiritual hearing, etc. I have Gregory Shaw s book but I haven t read the other references that you
                                              Message 22 of 22 , May 26, 2008
                                                Dear Leonard,
                                                 
                                                Thank you very much for your message about spiritual hearing, etc. I have Gregory Shaw's book but I haven't read the other references that you mentioned (Sarah Iles Johnston and Peter Kingsley). Thank you also for your quotations of Iamblichus.
                                                Best Regards,
                                                Sebastian 


                                                --- On Fri, 5/16/08, Leonard George <lgeorge@...> wrote:

                                                From: Leonard George <lgeorge@...>
                                                Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
                                                To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                                Date: Friday, May 16, 2008, 11:21 PM

                                                Dear Sebastian ~

                                                Thanks for your note.

                                                Regarding spritual hearing and the 'ear of the soul', I don't know of
                                                an explicit reference to the latter. But (you may already be aware
                                                of this) there are some interesting passages in De Mysteriis on
                                                auditory phenomena. DM III.2 discusses various inspired states
                                                according to the degree of wakefulness, the degree of involvement of
                                                nous, and sensory modalities. There he refers to hearing voices that
                                                give guidance during transitions between waking and sleeping (what
                                                psychologists call hypnagogic / hypnopompic states). Even more
                                                intriguing is the reference to a pneuma that encircles a
                                                person 'lying down'; it enters with a rushing / whistling / whooshing
                                                sound (rhoizos). And in another state of divine illumination, one can
                                                hear what the gods say. How is one understood to be hearing all
                                                these things? This 'rhoizos' points to Iamblichus' theurgical
                                                interests, as it occurs many times in the Chaldean Oracles; Sarah
                                                Iles Johnston's 'Hekate Soteira' and Greg Shaw's 'Theurgy and the
                                                Soul' explore this, and there are further references in the notes to
                                                the chapter 'The Sound of Piping' in Peter Kingsley's 'In the Dark
                                                Places of Wisdom'.

                                                Compare DM III.2 with DM III.9, where music is discussed.
                                                Consecrated sounds can lead to divine possession, but this can't be
                                                explained in a reductive fashion simply by an interaction between
                                                body, soul and physical stimulus. Rather, it's good old anamnesis -
                                                the tones remind the soul of the divine harmony it heard (with what?)
                                                prior to its incarnation. 'Rhoizos' appears in this passage too,
                                                referring to the music of the spheres, not to the sounds of
                                                consecrated tunes that evoke its reminiscence. So perhaps DM refers
                                                to two kinds of spiritual auditory phenomena - one that involves
                                                direct perception of some pneumatic stimulus by the soul, and one
                                                that involves (but is not simply caused by) physical hearing.

                                                Cheers,

                                                Leonard
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