Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
- Many thanks, Prof. Dillon, for the information on D. O'Meara's paper.
--- On Sat, 5/17/08, John Dilon <jmdillon@...> wrote:
From: John Dilon <jmdillon@...>
Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
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
- --- In email@example.com, John Dilon <jmdillon@...> wrote:
> > Hi ~
> > I've run across the following statement on a website concerning
> > medical knowledge:one would
> > '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
> need to check. JMDDear Leonard
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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.)
- 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.
--- On Fri, 5/16/08, Leonard George <lgeorge@...> wrote:
From: Leonard George <lgeorge@...>
Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Iamblichus 'eye of wisdom' alleged reference
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.