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Re: Jung and Plato

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  • jensav55
    Tim, This is somewhat off-topic, but I wanted to take the opportunity to say that I m reading your Seven Myths of the Soul right now and I really wanted to
    Message 1 of 25 , Mar 13, 2009
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      Tim,

      This is somewhat off-topic, but I wanted to take the opportunity to say that I'm reading your "Seven Myths of the Soul" right now and I really wanted to congratulate you on it. It is a superb book that, at a minimum, everyone participating in this thread certainly ought to read.

      Edward Butler


      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Tim Addey <tim@...> wrote:
      >
      > ** Robert Wallace wrote:
      >
      > The archetype theory is not a
      > 'recollection theory' in Plato's sense and does not guarantee moral
      > order. [The archetypes] represent something that _befalls_ man as a
      > living, autonomous force. ...
      > [According to Jung] Consciousness is our only hope of getting out of
      > the maze of archetypal projections.
      >
      > If this is correct, then the filiation between Plato's Forms and
      > Jung's Archetypes is far from straightforward! **
      >
      >
      > Robert, you're telling me!
      >
      > The whole notion that Jung's doctrine of Archetypes has anything to do
      > with Platonic forms let alone Gods, is very questionable. I'm not an
      > expert on Jung, but the identification of archetypes with a collective
      > unconscious and with instincts means that we're going in a very
      > different direction to the Platonists.
      >
      > Jung wrote of archetypes, "their origin can only be explained by
      > assuming them to be the /deposits of the constantly/ repeated experience
      > of humanity . . ." Now if this means what it seems to mean we must say
      > that it cannot be referring to the Ideas of Platonism, let alone the
      > Gods, for as Proclus says in his Commentary on the Parmenides (732)
      > "Ideas are at once the demiurgic and intelligent causes of all things
      > that naturally come into existence - being established as unchangable
      > and prior to the changing, simple and prior to compounds, separable and
      > prior to the things that are inseparable from Matter." It makes no
      > sense to suggest that the "effects of experience" of humanity are prior
      > to the changing since effects are posterior to experience, and the
      > experience is posterior to the existence of humanity, and the very
      > essence of the human soul is self-motive (i.e subject to self change) -
      > in other words at least three degrees below the unchanging; and since
      > the Gods in themselves are above being and ideas, the postulated Jungian
      > archetypes are several more degrees below the level of the Gods.
      >
      > We may find something like these so-called archetypes in that level of
      > reality governed by the Liberated Gods, in which we find natural forces
      > immediately above material manifestation - that is to say things which
      > are both moved and move, and which, while not themselves material, are
      > inseparable from material manifestation. But this is below the order of
      > soul and, therefore, below the level of intellect and intellectual
      > ideas. (And, of course, we are not going to mix the Gods who rule this
      > natural order with the order itself, nor with the things found within
      > the order.)
      >
      > Jung also claims that archetypes are "spontaneous products of the
      > psyche" - so if we make archetypes to be the creations of the psyche,
      > what creates the psyche? We will have to junk the Platonists' notion
      > that the psyche was created as a result of Zeus' intellectual
      > contemplation of the paradigm (or, if you like, the Platonic archetype)
      > of Animal Itself, since no archetype could have existed prior to the psyche.
      >
      > Or we will have to abandon the claim that Jungian archetypes are
      > Platonic paradigms under another name.
      >
      > Tim Addey
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • Bruce MacLennan
      Hi Bob, ... I think this is a correct characterization of the archetypes, although it might be an overstatement to call the archetypes bipolar. Is rain
      Message 2 of 25 , Mar 13, 2009
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        Hi Bob,

        On Mar 12, 2009, at 11:16 AM, Robert Wallace wrote:

        > Suzanne Gieser, _The Innermost Kernel: Depth Psychology and Quantum
        > Physics. W Pauli's Dialogue with CG Jung_ (Springer, 2005), pp.
        > 213-214:
        >
        > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the clear and
        > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as bipolar,
        > irrational, and beyond good and evil. The archetype theory is not a
        > 'recollection theory' in Plato's sense and does not guarantee moral
        > order. [The archetypes] represent something that _befalls_ man as a
        > living, autonomous force. ...
        > [According to Jung] Consciousness is our only hope of getting out of
        > the maze of archetypal projections." (213-214)
        >
        > If this is correct, then the filiation between Plato's Forms and
        > Jung's Archetypes is far from straightforward!

        I think this is a correct characterization of the archetypes,
        although it might be an overstatement to call the archetypes
        "bipolar." Is rain bipolar because it both fertilizes the soil and
        causes destructive floods? "Beyond good and evil" is a more accurate
        description, I think. However, there is a sense in which the
        archetypes are good and "rational," for they provide the guidance
        that has allowed Homo sapiens to survive and thrive for hundreds of
        thousands of years, and still guide us in many ways. In biological
        terms they are adaptive and functional; they are good for our
        species, and they are not irrational in the sense of being foolish,
        senseless, or pointless. They are nonrational in that they are noera,
        which reside above the level of dianoia. Also the *Unspeakable* One
        (to arrheton hen) is above Being and thus transcends such polarities
        as good/bad.

        Jung stresses that the archetypes behave as autonomous personalities,
        and so it is more accurate to compare them to the gods in Neoplatonic
        theology, the *living* ideas in the World Nous. The Neoplatonists
        were obliged to maintain apparent consistency between their own ideas
        and the Platonic corpus, and I think this caused them to overstress
        the goodness of the gods and daimones; nevertheless, as I noted
        above, there is an important sense in which the archetypes are
        providential. Thus, I see Jung's work as contributing to an important
        further development of Neoplatonism, a refined understanding of the
        providential nature of the gods.

        > It looks to me as though Jung probably shared Freud's ignorance
        > regarding Plato's conception of the the role of reason and Forms in
        > the tripartite soul. And so he adopted (as Bruce tells us) the term
        > "archetype" with the intention of referring to Platonic "Forms," but
        > actually had something quite different in mind.

        It's hard to imagine that he was unfamiliar with the tripartite soul,
        since it is pretty elementary Platonism and Jung had the rigorous
        education common in his time. I don't know of a thorough intellectual
        biography, which would trace the origins and development of his
        ideas; the biographies with which I'm familiar neglect this.
        Hopefully someone with access to his unpublished papers will
        eventually do the job. In any case, in _Memories, Dreams,
        Reflections_ (68) Jung says that between is 16th and 19th years:

        "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously framed.
        I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in this
        way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought in
        this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
        had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought of
        Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the long-
        windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful and
        academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
        Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I understood
        him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian intellectualism
        of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a desert. I thought,
        'They all want me to force something to come out by tricks of logic,
        something they have not been granted and do not really know about.
        They want to prove a belief to themselves, whereas actually it is a
        matter of experience.'"

        For what it's worth, Jung regularly cites Plato, Plotinus, Proclus,
        and other Neoplatonists from both primary and secondary sources. On
        the other hand, Jung was not trying to do (Neo)Platonic philosophy,
        so I don't think he felt any particular need to try to be consistent
        with Platonic scripture. In some sense this makes the correspondence
        between Neoplatonism and his ideas more compelling, since they result
        from somewhat independent phenomenological investigations.

        Best,
        Bruce

        P.S. Jung says that before his 15th year he had been studying Latin
        for eight hours per week and Greek as well. One biographer (Bair,
        663) says this gave him the thorough grounding in Latin that
        supported his lifelong habit of reading Latin for relaxation and
        pleasure. How I envy him! If I have any visions of retirement, it is
        not on the golf course, but curling up with comfortable (preferably
        old) volumes of Greek and Latin!

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Bruce MacLennan
        Hi Bob, I was just poking around on my bookshelves and encountered Sean Kelly s _Individuation and the Absolute: Hegel, Jung and the Path Toward Wholeness_
        Message 3 of 25 , Mar 13, 2009
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          Hi Bob,

          I was just poking around on my bookshelves and encountered Sean
          Kelly's _Individuation and the Absolute: Hegel, Jung and the Path
          Toward Wholeness_ (Paulist Press, 1993). It seems like something you
          might find interesting, in case you haven't seen it. I haven't read
          it, but the back of the book says:

          "Sean Kelly offers an original and compelling vision of human
          selfhood as guided by the quest for meaning and wholeness, a quest
          which extends beyond the individual to encompass the sweep of world
          history itself. _Individuation and the Absolute_ is a creative
          synthesis of the core ideas of two of the modern west's greatest
          creative minds, Jung and Hegel. Informed throughout by his notion of
          'complex holism', Kelly explores the dialectical relations between
          ego and unconscious, self and other, the individual and the absolute."

          "Sean Kelly demonstrates convincingly that Hegel is Jung's
          philosopher and that Jung is Hegel's psychologist. Kelly's
          comparative and synthetic efforts unveil the common origin of
          philosophy, psychology, and religious experience in the deeper psyche."

          Best,
          Bruce

          P.S. Unfortunately the books.google page for the book is hash
          (excessively seasoned with onions, leeks, and garlic).
        • John Uebersax
          ... Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn t mention it earlier (I meant to, but can t see the post), Jung was influenced by Nietzsche, and may have
          Message 4 of 25 , Mar 14, 2009
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            Bob wrote:

            > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the clear and
            > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as bipolar,
            > irrational, and beyond good and evil.

            Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier (I meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by Nietzsche, and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards Platonism.

            Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:

            "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously framed. I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in this way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought in this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the long-windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful and academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come out by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do not really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves, whereas actually it is a matter of
            experience.' "

            Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere abstractions.

            It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight associated with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His system is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.

            Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran minister who all but abandoned the faith.

            Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs -- and it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.

            Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which should be considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too far.

            In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which he sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.

            John Uebersax
          • Bruce MacLennan
            ... I think that is correct. He obviously saw a connection (as he himself says), but I think that if he were talking about Platonic Ideas pure and simple he
            Message 5 of 25 , Mar 14, 2009
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              On Mar 12, 2009, at 6:08 PM, vaeringjar wrote:

              > Again, it's been a very long time since I studied Jung at all, but
              > reflecting on this thread, perhaps we could say he chose
              > "archetype" because it is not a term for Platonic Idea, but similar
              > in general meaning and so useful for his specific psychological
              > purposes.

              I think that is correct. He obviously saw a connection (as he himself
              says), but I think that if he were talking about Platonic Ideas pure
              and simple he would have used Eidos, Idea, or something similar. On
              the other hand, the correspondence between the archetypes and
              polytheistic deities has been explored at length by Jung and many
              others, and so the connection with Platonic Ideas comes by way of the
              gods. There are, however, nonpersonified archetypes, such as the
              archetypal numbers, and these also correspond with Forms, and even
              with the Monad and Indefinite Dyad.

              > Jung obviously was a modern, so I don't think we can expect him to
              > maintain the ancient Platonic notions of the Demiurge and World
              > Soul and probably not even the Forms or archetypes as thoughts in
              > the mind of God.

              I don't think Jung would have disagreed with the notion that
              archetypes are thoughts in the mind of God, but I don't think he
              would make a scientific claim to that effect. Jacobi (Way of
              Individuation, 51) says, "But psychology can make no statements about
              the nature of God. On the other hand, it can very well observe and
              describe the phenomenology of his 'reflection' in the human psyche,
              and explore it scientifically." But the existence of the God-image in
              us has no bearing on the existence of God. She quotes Jung: "Nothing
              positive or negative has thereby been asserted about the possible
              existence of God, any more than the archetype of the 'hero' posits
              the actual existence of a hero." (CW12, par. 15). Based on his own
              experience, however, Jung asserted that he knew God exists.

              My own view is that, since the archetypes are psychical structures
              common to all humans, they are in effect ideas in the mind of
              archetypal human (the Archanthropos or Protanthropos), which is
              perhaps not quite the same as saying that they reside in the mind of
              God, but it is at least an image of it.

              > But the archetypes are still similar to Forms in that they are
              > generic constants shared across the instances of many individual
              > human psyches. Their origin I assume he would see rather in human
              > evolutionary biology, though I admit I have never read that he
              > viewed them that way, and I suppose now that I have included the
              > word "evolutionary" I raise a potential conflict and inconsistency
              > with my earlier definition of them as constant, since obviously
              > evolution by definition produces differences. That raises the
              > question in fact, did Jung view archetypes as stable over time or
              > subject to change? Universal more or less among individuals
              > synchronically, but subject to gradual - or not so gradual? -
              > diachronic development?

              I think this is a very important idea, and perhaps a contribution
              that modern thought can make to Neoplatonism. From the standpoint of
              direct experience we do not observe changes in the archetypal
              structure (the divine order) in our own lives or even between our
              lives and those of the immediately preceding generations. Thus, in
              the first stage of phenomenological analysis (which is primarily
              observational and descriptive) it is reasonable to describe the
              archetypes as unchanging and eternal. Thus I am not surprised that
              Plato, and his predecessors and successors, said the Forms are
              unchanging; on the human scale, they are.

              On the other hand, there has been a widespread intuition manifest in
              the mythology of many cultures that there have been successive epochs
              or aeons (the ages of man, successive generations of gods, etc.); in
              astrology there is the notion of successive ages brought about by the
              precession of equinoxes, Taurus, Aries, Pisces, etc. These may be
              evidence of an awareness of archetypal change over thousands of
              years. Therefore, phenomenology does not stop with experiences and
              their description, but proceeds to amplification, by comparison
              across individuals, cultures, and times. (This is what puts the logos
              into phenomenology.) It might even be considered a kind of dialectic.

              The modern contribution comes with the recognition that the
              archetypes are grounded in the genome and that the genome evolves (a
              consequence of further analysis and of the dialogue with evolutionary
              psychology). On the one hand, this explains the permanence of the
              archetypes, for modern humans evolved about 200,000 years ago, and we
              have changed very little since then. On the other hand, it tells us
              that the archetypes must change, and evolutionary psychologists tell
              us that subtle, but noticeable changes can appear within a couple
              thousand years (about the length of an astrological age). Therefore
              (if you buy this whole line of argument) the Platonic Ideas are
              slightly different from what they were in Plato's day. I see this as
              an important refinement in Platonism, much as the Neoplatonists
              viewed their innovations as refinements. It changes very little about
              living the bios philosophikos (except perhaps to make us more
              positive toward embodiment; see next).

              But how do the Ideas evolve? They are rooted in the human genome, but
              at any given time the genome is a sort of mathematical average (a
              form, an abstraction) of all the individual genotypes of living
              humans. As each individual human develops in accord with their
              genotype, and then is born, lives, and dies, so also the human genome
              changes minutely, and with it the archetypes. Thus:

              The gods can evolve only by means of our incarnation.

              This implies a reason why souls incarnate, why there is a purpose to
              each of our processions from and returns to that which abides
              (although we see it is not completely changeless, but slowly
              evolves). To put it somewhat abstractly, this is the importance of
              individuation (and of spiritual practices that serve it), for it
              allows us participate consciously in our essential role in divine
              evolution. To put it more anthropomorphically, the gods have placed
              us here so that we can play our necessary parts in their continuing
              evolution.

              All that said, I have to add that the foregoing applies primarily to
              the personified archetypes, which are rooted in the human genome.
              Beyond them are the unpersonified archetypes, such as the archetypal
              numbers and forms (recognized by Jungians as well as Pythagoreans)
              that are not subject to evolution (because they are physical but not
              biological). They are indeed eternal (atemporal), based in a Platonic
              philosophy of mathematics. They are also psychical because they
              manifest in consciousness by affecting perception, motivation, and
              behavior. Indeed, they are at the primal level Jung called psychoid,
              where mind and matter are inseparable.

              So, I think we must conclude that there is a little more movement in
              the divine precincts than Plato has led us to believe. But, not to
              worry, the Monad, Dyad, et al. are still eternal!

              Thanks for some stimulating comments (to which I've responded at too
              great length),
              Bruce

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Robert Wallace
              Dear John (Uebersax), Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won t mind if I take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both
              Message 6 of 25 , Mar 14, 2009
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                Dear John (Uebersax),

                Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't mind if I
                take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both of
                Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical philosophy.

                Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that

                > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that
                > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung
                > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of
                > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                > mere abstractions.


                But Jung said in the same paragraph that

                > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                > understood him.


                Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents but for
                many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the philosophers
                don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to take
                with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For in
                Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about; whereas
                in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.

                So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's paragraph
                that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search for the
                Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a search--but
                mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.

                It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was because he
                "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might well
                have been because, in the traditional religion that he was exposed to
                (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he perceived no
                credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth remembering that
                _Nietzsche_'s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't mean to
                pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and Jung
                and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted something more
                genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage. And they
                went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As many of
                _us_ have also done.

                You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps Jung as
                well are simply amoralists ("antinomian"). Of course Nietzsche courts
                this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil." But
                it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he just
                wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are ones that
                he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its enemies,
                and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche means
                is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he delights
                in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him (IMO) a
                genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about value
                at all.

                So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it look
                like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But Nietzsche and
                his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main reasons
                they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer, who
                simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel wrote,
                and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical writings
                either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part soul;
                but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul was to
                enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-determining,
                or (as we would say) free.

                I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche and Jung
                just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're very
                interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's genuine,
                not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper attention
                to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening themselves,
                like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about these
                issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine value, and
                what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn a lot
                from Jesus on the same subject.

                Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that Nietzsche,
                Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are) pursuing
                something quite different from what Plato and his followers pursue, we
                are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea of
                freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show how
                Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of freedom_. We
                must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of freedom, or
                we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education for its
                emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able to
                gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the connection
                between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme of the
                Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's associated
                with "existentialism": the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                appreciate.

                Best, Bob



                On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:

                >
                > Bob wrote:
                >
                > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the clear and
                > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as bipolar,
                > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                >
                > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier (I
                > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by Nietzsche,
                > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards Platonism.
                >
                > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                >
                > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously framed.
                > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in this
                > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought in
                > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
                > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought
                > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the long-
                > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful and
                > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
                > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian
                > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a
                > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come out
                > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do not
                > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                > whereas actually it is a matter of
                > experience.' "
                >
                > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that
                > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident
                > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's
                > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least
                > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search
                > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                > abstractions.
                >
                > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight associated
                > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His system
                > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                >
                > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                >
                > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs -- and
                > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian
                > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                >
                > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which should be
                > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached
                > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack
                > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too far.
                >
                > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes
                > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which he
                > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                >
                > John Uebersax
                >
                >
                >

                Robert Wallace
                website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                Freedom)
                email: bob@...
                phone: 414-617-3914









                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • harveycmd
                Bob, I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism, Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With this in mind, is it
                Message 7 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Bob,

                  I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism, Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective assertion not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good is firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure, Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than one), take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams Plato's idea of the Good is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root of their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more efficacious.

                  best,
                  harveycmd


                  --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Dear John (Uebersax),
                  >
                  > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't mind if I
                  > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both of
                  > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical philosophy.
                  >
                  > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                  >
                  > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that
                  > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung
                  > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of
                  > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                  > > mere abstractions.
                  >
                  >
                  > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                  >
                  > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                  > > understood him.
                  >
                  >
                  > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents but for
                  > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                  > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the philosophers
                  > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                  > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to take
                  > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For in
                  > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about; whereas
                  > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                  >
                  > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's paragraph
                  > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search for the
                  > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a search--but
                  > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                  > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                  >
                  > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                  > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was because he
                  > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might well
                  > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was exposed to
                  > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he perceived no
                  > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth remembering that
                  > _Nietzsche_'s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't mean to
                  > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                  > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and Jung
                  > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted something more
                  > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage. And they
                  > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As many of
                  > _us_ have also done.
                  >
                  > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps Jung as
                  > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian"). Of course Nietzsche courts
                  > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil." But
                  > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he just
                  > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are ones that
                  > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                  > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its enemies,
                  > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche means
                  > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he delights
                  > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                  > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him (IMO) a
                  > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about value
                  > at all.
                  >
                  > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                  > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                  > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it look
                  > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                  > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But Nietzsche and
                  > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main reasons
                  > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                  > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer, who
                  > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel wrote,
                  > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical writings
                  > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                  > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                  > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part soul;
                  > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul was to
                  > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-determining,
                  > or (as we would say) free.
                  >
                  > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche and Jung
                  > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're very
                  > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's genuine,
                  > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper attention
                  > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening themselves,
                  > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about these
                  > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine value, and
                  > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn a lot
                  > from Jesus on the same subject.
                  >
                  > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that Nietzsche,
                  > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are) pursuing
                  > something quite different from what Plato and his followers pursue, we
                  > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                  > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea of
                  > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show how
                  > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of freedom_. We
                  > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of freedom, or
                  > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education for its
                  > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able to
                  > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the connection
                  > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme of the
                  > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's associated
                  > with "existentialism": the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                  > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                  > appreciate.
                  >
                  > Best, Bob
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  > > Bob wrote:
                  > >
                  > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the clear and
                  > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as bipolar,
                  > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                  > >
                  > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier (I
                  > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by Nietzsche,
                  > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards Platonism.
                  > >
                  > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                  > >
                  > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously framed.
                  > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in this
                  > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought in
                  > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
                  > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought
                  > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the long-
                  > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful and
                  > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
                  > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                  > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian
                  > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a
                  > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come out
                  > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do not
                  > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                  > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                  > > experience.' "
                  > >
                  > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that
                  > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident
                  > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's
                  > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                  > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least
                  > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search
                  > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                  > > abstractions.
                  > >
                  > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight associated
                  > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His system
                  > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                  > >
                  > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                  > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                  > >
                  > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs -- and
                  > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian
                  > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                  > >
                  > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which should be
                  > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached
                  > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack
                  > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too far.
                  > >
                  > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes
                  > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which he
                  > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                  > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                  > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                  > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                  > >
                  > > John Uebersax
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > Robert Wallace
                  > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                  > Freedom)
                  > email: bob@...
                  > phone: 414-617-3914
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • Thomas Mether
                  If you look at the historical origins of our modern concept(s) of the will, you find they have a very old Platonic root in opposition to Aristotle s thought.
                  Message 8 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    If you look at the historical origins of our modern concept(s) of the will, you find they have a very old Platonic root in opposition to Aristotle's thought.
                     
                    I think the "non-Aristotlian" roots of our modern concept(s) of will have their developmental roots in the Roman Stoics -- Cicero and Seneca -- and Philo of Alexamdria. The next developmental phase draws on Platonist resources in Augustine, Marius Victorinus, and Anselm in the west; the Cappadocians, Maximos the Confessor, and John Damascene in the East (and through Franciscan contact with the Byzantine East, some portion of these eastern concepts get imported into Franciscan Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard -- Bonaventure is using these imported concepts).
                     
                    The next big step is Duns Scotus. Scotus challenges the idea that the Good, if fully and completely known, exerts sort of a "fatal attraction" so that the full contemplative infusion of the vision of the Good both creates the will and fully determines the fully actualized will into this "fatal attraction". In terms of the first idea, humans have free-choice but no real will as one passion after another becomes the choice of the moment or we choice one good over another and over our impulses in a process of developing virtues as lasting dispositions or habits of free choice. In terms of the second idea, the potency for will is only fully actualized when it has a full vision of the good. Since this actualization of will is also the process of giving its potency (as conative matter) its fully determinate form (as conative form), the will is not free but is fully determined as a conation towards the good. Part of the basis of this view was to see the will
                    as an appetite. Scotus challenges this "fatal attraction" view that he finds even in Aquinas. He posits will as a rational potency (not an appetite) that always, in whatever action, retains the power to have done otherwise. As such, in relation to the good, it is no longer "fatal attraction" but a repeated freely willed choice/commitment; yet, the will retains the power even in relation to the good, to have done and to do otherwise. Satan is his prime example that what I'm dubbing the "fatal attraction" view of will is false. It is the mainly the Scotist view of the will the modern era has inherited via the later Franciscan tradition through the Radical Reformation and Boehme (one route) to Kant and on....
                     
                    Scotus's re-working of the concept of the will, he realized, had metaphysical implications
                    that put him in the Platonist camp as opposed to the Aristotelian camp. The Aristotelian camp held to a metaphysical principle that shaped its concept of will. According to this camp, for all things, even the will, quidquid movetur ab alio movetur or whatever is moved is moved by another (the ultimate unmoved mover being, eventually, the Good). Scotus criticizes this principle and resurrects the Platonist notion that there can be self-movers. The soul and will are self-moving. 
                     
                    Thomas Mether

                    --- On Sun, 3/15/09, harveycmd <harveycmd@...> wrote:

                    From: harveycmd <harveycmd@...>
                    Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                    To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 10:29 AM






                    Bob,

                    I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism, Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective assertion not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good is firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure, Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than one), take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams
                    Plato's idea of the Good is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root of their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more efficacious.

                    best,
                    harveycmd

                    --- In neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Dear John (Uebersax),
                    >
                    > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't mind if I
                    > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both of
                    > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical philosophy.
                    >
                    > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                    >
                    > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that
                    > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung
                    > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of
                    > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                    > > mere abstractions.
                    >
                    >
                    > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                    >
                    > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                    > > understood him.
                    >
                    >
                    > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents but for
                    > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                    > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the philosophers
                    > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                    > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to take
                    > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For in
                    > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about; whereas
                    > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                    >
                    > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's paragraph
                    > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search for the
                    > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a search--but
                    > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                    > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                    >
                    > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                    > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was because he
                    > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might well
                    > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was exposed to
                    > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he perceived no
                    > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth remembering that
                    > _Nietzsche_' s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't mean to
                    > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                    > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and Jung
                    > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted something more
                    > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage. And they
                    > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As many of
                    > _us_ have also done.
                    >
                    > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps Jung as
                    > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian" ). Of course Nietzsche courts
                    > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil." But
                    > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he just
                    > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are ones that
                    > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                    > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its enemies,
                    > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche means
                    > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he delights
                    > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                    > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him (IMO) a
                    > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about value
                    > at all.
                    >
                    > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                    > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                    > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it look
                    > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                    > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But Nietzsche and
                    > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main reasons
                    > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                    > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer, who
                    > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel wrote,
                    > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical writings
                    > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                    > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                    > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part soul;
                    > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul was to
                    > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-determining,
                    > or (as we would say) free.
                    >
                    > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche and Jung
                    > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're very
                    > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's genuine,
                    > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper attention
                    > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening themselves,
                    > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about these
                    > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine value, and
                    > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn a lot
                    > from Jesus on the same subject.
                    >
                    > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that Nietzsche,
                    > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are) pursuing
                    > something quite different from what Plato and his followers pursue, we
                    > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                    > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea of
                    > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show how
                    > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of freedom_. We
                    > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of freedom, or
                    > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education for its
                    > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able to
                    > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the connection
                    > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme of the
                    > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's associated
                    > with "existentialism" : the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                    > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                    > appreciate.
                    >
                    > Best, Bob
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                    >
                    > >
                    > > Bob wrote:
                    > >
                    > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the clear and
                    > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as bipolar,
                    > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                    > >
                    > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier (I
                    > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by Nietzsche,
                    > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards Platonism.
                    > >
                    > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                    > >
                    > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously framed.
                    > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in this
                    > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought in
                    > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
                    > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought
                    > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the long-
                    > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful and
                    > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
                    > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                    > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian
                    > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a
                    > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come out
                    > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do not
                    > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                    > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                    > > experience.' "
                    > >
                    > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that
                    > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident
                    > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's
                    > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                    > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least
                    > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search
                    > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                    > > abstractions.
                    > >
                    > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight associated
                    > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His system
                    > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                    > >
                    > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                    > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                    > >
                    > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs -- and
                    > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian
                    > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                    > >
                    > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which should be
                    > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached
                    > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack
                    > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too far.
                    > >
                    > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes
                    > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which he
                    > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                    > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                    > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                    > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                    > >
                    > > John Uebersax
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    > Robert Wallace
                    > website: www.robertmwallace. com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                    > Freedom)
                    > email: bob@...
                    > phone: 414-617-3914
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >



















                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • c d
                    Thomas,   I would agree that the modern concept of will has been strongly influenced by Scotus (and modern epistemology has been strongly influenced by his
                    Message 9 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Thomas,
                       
                      I would agree that the modern concept of will has been strongly influenced by Scotus (and modern epistemology has been strongly influenced by his empirical nominalism). This is perhaps most clearly seen in the anti-Aristotelian theory of the passions developed by Descartes, whose theory of the soul in Meditations makes possible the disembodied thinking substance on which is based the purely discursive and propositional theory of human cognition found in Western modernity. This is in fact the basis of Kant’s separation of thing-in-itself from mere phenomena, despite the current popularity of “dual aspect” interpretations among Kant’s apologists. Hegel’s response to Kant’s thing-in-itself is Platonic-Aristotelian, i.e. he re-integrates metaphysics and epistemology.
                       
                      My question is this: Where is Scotus’ concept of will to be found in Plato? Plato’s doctrine of the soul, notwithstanding differences of emphasis and presentation, is in my view not in the end at odds with that of Aristotle.
                       
                      best,
                      harveycmd


                      --- On Sun, 3/15/09, Thomas Mether <t_mether@...> wrote:


                      From: Thomas Mether <t_mether@...>
                      Subject: Will and Freedom Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                      To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 11:43 AM






                      If you look at the historical origins of our modern concept(s) of the will, you find they have a very old Platonic root in opposition to Aristotle's thought.
                       
                      I think the "non-Aristotlian" roots of our modern concept(s) of will have their developmental roots in the Roman Stoics -- Cicero and Seneca -- and Philo of Alexamdria. The next developmental phase draws on Platonist resources in Augustine, Marius Victorinus, and Anselm in the west; the Cappadocians, Maximos the Confessor, and John Damascene in the East (and through Franciscan contact with the Byzantine East, some portion of these eastern concepts get imported into Franciscan Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard -- Bonaventure is using these imported concepts).
                       
                      The next big step is Duns Scotus. Scotus challenges the idea that the Good, if fully and completely known, exerts sort of a "fatal attraction" so that the full contemplative infusion of the vision of the Good both creates the will and fully determines the fully actualized will into this "fatal attraction". In terms of the first idea, humans have free-choice but no real will as one passion after another becomes the choice of the moment or we choice one good over another and over our impulses in a process of developing virtues as lasting dispositions or habits of free choice. In terms of the second idea, the potency for will is only fully actualized when it has a full vision of the good. Since this actualization of will is also the process of giving its potency (as conative matter) its fully determinate form (as conative form), the will is not free but is fully determined as a conation towards the good. Part of the basis of this view was to see the will
                      as an appetite. Scotus challenges this "fatal attraction" view that he finds even in Aquinas. He posits will as a rational potency (not an appetite) that always, in whatever action, retains the power to have done otherwise. As such, in relation to the good, it is no longer "fatal attraction" but a repeated freely willed choice/commitment; yet, the will retains the power even in relation to the good, to have done and to do otherwise. Satan is his prime example that what I'm dubbing the "fatal attraction" view of will is false. It is the mainly the Scotist view of the will the modern era has inherited via the later Franciscan tradition through the Radical Reformation and Boehme (one route) to Kant and on....
                       
                      Scotus's re-working of the concept of the will, he realized, had metaphysical implications
                      that put him in the Platonist camp as opposed to the Aristotelian camp. The Aristotelian camp held to a metaphysical principle that shaped its concept of will. According to this camp, for all things, even the will, quidquid movetur ab alio movetur or whatever is moved is moved by another (the ultimate unmoved mover being, eventually, the Good). Scotus criticizes this principle and resurrects the Platonist notion that there can be self-movers. The soul and will are self-moving. 
                       
                      Thomas Mether

                      --- On Sun, 3/15/09, harveycmd <harveycmd@yahoo. com> wrote:

                      From: harveycmd <harveycmd@yahoo. com>
                      Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                      To: neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com
                      Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 10:29 AM

                      Bob,

                      I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism, Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective assertion not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good is firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure, Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than one), take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams
                      Plato's idea of the Good is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root of their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more efficacious.

                      best,
                      harveycmd

                      --- In neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Dear John (Uebersax),
                      >
                      > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't mind if I
                      > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both of
                      > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical philosophy.
                      >
                      > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                      >
                      > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that
                      > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung
                      > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of
                      > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                      > > mere abstractions.
                      >
                      >
                      > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                      >
                      > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                      > > understood him.
                      >
                      >
                      > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents but for
                      > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                      > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the philosophers
                      > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                      > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to take
                      > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For in
                      > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about; whereas
                      > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                      >
                      > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's paragraph
                      > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search for the
                      > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a search--but
                      > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                      > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                      >
                      > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                      > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was because he
                      > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might well
                      > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was exposed to
                      > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he perceived no
                      > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth remembering that
                      > _Nietzsche_' s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't mean to
                      > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                      > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and Jung
                      > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted something more
                      > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage. And they
                      > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As many of
                      > _us_ have also done.
                      >
                      > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps Jung as
                      > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian" ). Of course Nietzsche courts
                      > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil." But
                      > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he just
                      > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are ones that
                      > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                      > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its enemies,
                      > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche means
                      > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he delights
                      > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                      > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him (IMO) a
                      > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about value
                      > at all.
                      >
                      > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                      > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                      > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it look
                      > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                      > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But Nietzsche and
                      > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main reasons
                      > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                      > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer, who
                      > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel wrote,
                      > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical writings
                      > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                      > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                      > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part soul;
                      > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul was to
                      > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-determining,
                      > or (as we would say) free.
                      >
                      > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche and Jung
                      > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're very
                      > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's genuine,
                      > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper attention
                      > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening themselves,
                      > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about these
                      > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine value, and
                      > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn a lot
                      > from Jesus on the same subject.
                      >
                      > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that Nietzsche,
                      > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are) pursuing
                      > something quite different from what Plato and his followers pursue, we
                      > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                      > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea of
                      > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show how
                      > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of freedom_. We
                      > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of freedom, or
                      > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education for its
                      > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able to
                      > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the connection
                      > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme of the
                      > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's associated
                      > with "existentialism" : the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                      > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                      > appreciate.
                      >
                      > Best, Bob
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                      >
                      > >
                      > > Bob wrote:
                      > >
                      > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the clear and
                      > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as bipolar,
                      > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                      > >
                      > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier (I
                      > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by Nietzsche,
                      > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards Platonism.
                      > >
                      > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                      > >
                      > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously framed.
                      > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in this
                      > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought in
                      > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
                      > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought
                      > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the long-
                      > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful and
                      > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
                      > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                      > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian
                      > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a
                      > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come out
                      > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do not
                      > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                      > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                      > > experience.' "
                      > >
                      > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that
                      > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident
                      > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's
                      > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                      > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least
                      > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search
                      > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                      > > abstractions.
                      > >
                      > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight associated
                      > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His system
                      > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                      > >
                      > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                      > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                      > >
                      > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs -- and
                      > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian
                      > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                      > >
                      > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which should be
                      > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached
                      > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack
                      > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too far.
                      > >
                      > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes
                      > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which he
                      > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                      > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                      > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                      > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                      > >
                      > > John Uebersax
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
                      > Robert Wallace
                      > website: www.robertmwallace. com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                      > Freedom)
                      > email: bob@...
                      > phone: 414-617-3914
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



















                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Robert Wallace
                      Dear Harveycmd, Very appropriate questions. Your final sentences anticipate my answer. The conception of freedom as willfulness is, if you think about it, not
                      Message 10 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Dear Harveycmd,

                        Very appropriate questions. Your final sentences anticipate my answer.
                        The conception of freedom as willfulness is, if you think about it,
                        not a conception of freedom. Because what is this "will," that wants
                        "its own" way? What makes it _my_ will as opposed to something that
                        merely happens in the world (and very likely reflects biological
                        instincts or other externally-ingrained stuff)? If you think about
                        "willful" people, do they seem free? Far from it, I would suggest.
                        They seem driven, by something that they probably haven't examined and
                        might well not want to endorse if they could examine it.

                        So when Plato projects a "reasoning part" of the soul that is able to
                        get some perspective on this behavior and ask whether the person as a
                        whole actually benefits from it, I say Amen!! Now there's a
                        possibility that something the person might think of as her genuine
                        self, might emerge. But this question of "benefit" is, of course, the
                        question What's truly Good? --the immortal Platonic question. If you
                        aren't asking yourself that question on a regular basis--not as an
                        "academic" question, but as the vital question of how you're going to
                        live your life--it's hard to see how you could call yourself truly
                        free. This is why the Republic, which begins with questions about
                        "action" (why act justly toward others)--turns into an investigation
                        of "knowledge" (of the Good). It's not because Plato's really
                        interested in knowledge (contemplation) rather than action, but
                        because no action--whether it's political action or philosophical
                        inquiry--is either rational or free if it's not "examined."

                        It's outrageously sad that Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger were able
                        to go through their careers without being effectively confronted with
                        this point. Ernst Cassirer in his Davos debate with Heidegger was
                        either too polite or too preoccupied with "epistemology" to make this
                        point effectively. Everybody's so _academic_, when what the issue
                        calls for is the kind of vital sense that Plato (for me) conjures up
                        with his debates between Socrates and Callicles and Thrasymachus. In
                        those, you can _see_ who's free and who isn't.

                        Best, Bob

                        On Mar 15, 2009, at 10:29 AM, harveycmd wrote:

                        > Bob,
                        >
                        > I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism,
                        > Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With
                        > this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is
                        > different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my
                        > view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective assertion
                        > not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good is
                        > firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified
                        > theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom
                        > consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure,
                        > Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view
                        > of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-
                        > Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than one),
                        > take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate
                        > freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern
                        > lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams Plato's idea of the Good
                        > is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the
                        > understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root of
                        > their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more efficacious.
                        >
                        > best,
                        > harveycmd
                        >
                        > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Dear John (Uebersax),
                        > >
                        > > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't mind
                        > if I
                        > > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both of
                        > > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical
                        > philosophy.
                        > >
                        > > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                        > >
                        > > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that
                        > > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on
                        > Jung
                        > > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a
                        > vision of
                        > > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                        > > > mere abstractions.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                        > >
                        > > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                        > > > understood him.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents but for
                        > > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                        > > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the philosophers
                        > > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                        > > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to
                        > take
                        > > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For in
                        > > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about;
                        > whereas
                        > > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                        > >
                        > > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's paragraph
                        > > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search for
                        > the
                        > > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a search--but
                        > > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                        > > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                        > >
                        > > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                        > > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was because he
                        > > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might
                        > well
                        > > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was exposed
                        > to
                        > > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he
                        > perceived no
                        > > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth remembering
                        > that
                        > > _Nietzsche_'s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't mean to
                        > > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                        > > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and
                        > Jung
                        > > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted something
                        > more
                        > > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage. And
                        > they
                        > > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As many of
                        > > _us_ have also done.
                        > >
                        > > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps Jung as
                        > > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian"). Of course Nietzsche
                        > courts
                        > > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil." But
                        > > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he just
                        > > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are ones that
                        > > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                        > > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its
                        > enemies,
                        > > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche means
                        > > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he delights
                        > > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                        > > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him
                        > (IMO) a
                        > > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about
                        > value
                        > > at all.
                        > >
                        > > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                        > > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                        > > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it look
                        > > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                        > > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But Nietzsche
                        > and
                        > > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main reasons
                        > > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                        > > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer, who
                        > > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel
                        > wrote,
                        > > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical writings
                        > > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                        > > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                        > > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part soul;
                        > > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul was to
                        > > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-
                        > determining,
                        > > or (as we would say) free.
                        > >
                        > > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche and Jung
                        > > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're very
                        > > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's genuine,
                        > > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper
                        > attention
                        > > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening themselves,
                        > > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about
                        > these
                        > > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine value, and
                        > > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn a lot
                        > > from Jesus on the same subject.
                        > >
                        > > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that Nietzsche,
                        > > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are) pursuing
                        > > something quite different from what Plato and his followers
                        > pursue, we
                        > > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                        > > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea of
                        > > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show how
                        > > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of freedom_. We
                        > > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of
                        > freedom, or
                        > > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education for
                        > its
                        > > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able to
                        > > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the
                        > connection
                        > > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme of the
                        > > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's associated
                        > > with "existentialism": the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                        > > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                        > > appreciate.
                        > >
                        > > Best, Bob
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                        > >
                        > > >
                        > > > Bob wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the
                        > clear and
                        > > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as
                        > bipolar,
                        > > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                        > > >
                        > > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier
                        > (I
                        > > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by
                        > Nietzsche,
                        > > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards
                        > Platonism.
                        > > >
                        > > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                        > > >
                        > > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously
                        > framed.
                        > > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in
                        > this
                        > > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought
                        > in
                        > > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
                        > > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought
                        > > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the
                        > long-
                        > > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful
                        > and
                        > > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
                        > > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                        > > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian
                        > > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a
                        > > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come
                        > out
                        > > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do
                        > not
                        > > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                        > > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                        > > > experience.' "
                        > > >
                        > > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that
                        > > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident
                        > > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's
                        > > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                        > > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least
                        > > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search
                        > > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                        > > > abstractions.
                        > > >
                        > > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight
                        > associated
                        > > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His
                        > system
                        > > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                        > > >
                        > > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                        > > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                        > > >
                        > > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs --
                        > and
                        > > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian
                        > > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                        > > >
                        > > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which
                        > should be
                        > > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached
                        > > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack
                        > > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too
                        > far.
                        > > >
                        > > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes
                        > > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which
                        > he
                        > > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                        > > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                        > > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                        > > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                        > > >
                        > > > John Uebersax
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > > Robert Wallace
                        > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                        > > Freedom)
                        > > email: bob@...
                        > > phone: 414-617-3914
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        > >
                        >
                        >
                        >

                        Robert Wallace
                        website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                        Freedom)
                        email: bob@...
                        phone: 414-617-3914









                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • harveycmd
                        Bob, Thanks for the clarification. To be sure I understand you correctly, please allow me a couple of more questions. Are you saying that the modern notion of
                        Message 11 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
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                          Bob,

                          Thanks for the clarification. To be sure I understand you correctly, please allow me a couple of more questions. Are you saying that the modern notion of "free will" is something of a contradiction of terms and that real freedom according to Plato consists in the proper order of cognition which allows one to, as it were, transcend the will? Secondly, would you then say that in Hegel absolute knowing consists in the transcendence of subject/object duality of purely dianoetic cognition found in Kant's concept of the individual, subjectively "free will"?

                          best,
                          harveycmd

                          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Dear Harveycmd,
                          >
                          > Very appropriate questions. Your final sentences anticipate my answer.
                          > The conception of freedom as willfulness is, if you think about it,
                          > not a conception of freedom. Because what is this "will," that wants
                          > "its own" way? What makes it _my_ will as opposed to something that
                          > merely happens in the world (and very likely reflects biological
                          > instincts or other externally-ingrained stuff)? If you think about
                          > "willful" people, do they seem free? Far from it, I would suggest.
                          > They seem driven, by something that they probably haven't examined and
                          > might well not want to endorse if they could examine it.
                          >
                          > So when Plato projects a "reasoning part" of the soul that is able to
                          > get some perspective on this behavior and ask whether the person as a
                          > whole actually benefits from it, I say Amen!! Now there's a
                          > possibility that something the person might think of as her genuine
                          > self, might emerge. But this question of "benefit" is, of course, the
                          > question What's truly Good? --the immortal Platonic question. If you
                          > aren't asking yourself that question on a regular basis--not as an
                          > "academic" question, but as the vital question of how you're going to
                          > live your life--it's hard to see how you could call yourself truly
                          > free. This is why the Republic, which begins with questions about
                          > "action" (why act justly toward others)--turns into an investigation
                          > of "knowledge" (of the Good). It's not because Plato's really
                          > interested in knowledge (contemplation) rather than action, but
                          > because no action--whether it's political action or philosophical
                          > inquiry--is either rational or free if it's not "examined."
                          >
                          > It's outrageously sad that Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger were able
                          > to go through their careers without being effectively confronted with
                          > this point. Ernst Cassirer in his Davos debate with Heidegger was
                          > either too polite or too preoccupied with "epistemology" to make this
                          > point effectively. Everybody's so _academic_, when what the issue
                          > calls for is the kind of vital sense that Plato (for me) conjures up
                          > with his debates between Socrates and Callicles and Thrasymachus. In
                          > those, you can _see_ who's free and who isn't.
                          >
                          > Best, Bob
                          >
                          > On Mar 15, 2009, at 10:29 AM, harveycmd wrote:
                          >
                          > > Bob,
                          > >
                          > > I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism,
                          > > Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With
                          > > this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is
                          > > different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my
                          > > view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective assertion
                          > > not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good is
                          > > firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified
                          > > theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom
                          > > consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure,
                          > > Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view
                          > > of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-
                          > > Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than one),
                          > > take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate
                          > > freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern
                          > > lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams Plato's idea of the Good
                          > > is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the
                          > > understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root of
                          > > their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more efficacious.
                          > >
                          > > best,
                          > > harveycmd
                          > >
                          > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@> wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > Dear John (Uebersax),
                          > > >
                          > > > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't mind
                          > > if I
                          > > > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both of
                          > > > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical
                          > > philosophy.
                          > > >
                          > > > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                          > > >
                          > > > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that
                          > > > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on
                          > > Jung
                          > > > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a
                          > > vision of
                          > > > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                          > > > > mere abstractions.
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                          > > >
                          > > > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                          > > > > understood him.
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents but for
                          > > > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                          > > > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the philosophers
                          > > > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                          > > > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to
                          > > take
                          > > > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For in
                          > > > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about;
                          > > whereas
                          > > > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                          > > >
                          > > > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's paragraph
                          > > > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search for
                          > > the
                          > > > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a search--but
                          > > > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                          > > > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                          > > >
                          > > > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                          > > > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was because he
                          > > > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might
                          > > well
                          > > > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was exposed
                          > > to
                          > > > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he
                          > > perceived no
                          > > > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth remembering
                          > > that
                          > > > _Nietzsche_'s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't mean to
                          > > > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                          > > > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and
                          > > Jung
                          > > > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted something
                          > > more
                          > > > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage. And
                          > > they
                          > > > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As many of
                          > > > _us_ have also done.
                          > > >
                          > > > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps Jung as
                          > > > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian"). Of course Nietzsche
                          > > courts
                          > > > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil." But
                          > > > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he just
                          > > > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are ones that
                          > > > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                          > > > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its
                          > > enemies,
                          > > > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche means
                          > > > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he delights
                          > > > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                          > > > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him
                          > > (IMO) a
                          > > > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about
                          > > value
                          > > > at all.
                          > > >
                          > > > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                          > > > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                          > > > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it look
                          > > > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                          > > > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But Nietzsche
                          > > and
                          > > > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main reasons
                          > > > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                          > > > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer, who
                          > > > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel
                          > > wrote,
                          > > > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical writings
                          > > > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                          > > > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                          > > > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part soul;
                          > > > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul was to
                          > > > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-
                          > > determining,
                          > > > or (as we would say) free.
                          > > >
                          > > > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche and Jung
                          > > > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're very
                          > > > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's genuine,
                          > > > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper
                          > > attention
                          > > > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening themselves,
                          > > > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about
                          > > these
                          > > > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine value, and
                          > > > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn a lot
                          > > > from Jesus on the same subject.
                          > > >
                          > > > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that Nietzsche,
                          > > > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are) pursuing
                          > > > something quite different from what Plato and his followers
                          > > pursue, we
                          > > > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                          > > > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea of
                          > > > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show how
                          > > > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of freedom_. We
                          > > > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of
                          > > freedom, or
                          > > > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education for
                          > > its
                          > > > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able to
                          > > > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the
                          > > connection
                          > > > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme of the
                          > > > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's associated
                          > > > with "existentialism": the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                          > > > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                          > > > appreciate.
                          > > >
                          > > > Best, Bob
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Bob wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the
                          > > clear and
                          > > > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as
                          > > bipolar,
                          > > > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier
                          > > (I
                          > > > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by
                          > > Nietzsche,
                          > > > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards
                          > > Platonism.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously
                          > > framed.
                          > > > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in
                          > > this
                          > > > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought
                          > > in
                          > > > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
                          > > > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought
                          > > > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the
                          > > long-
                          > > > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful
                          > > and
                          > > > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
                          > > > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                          > > > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian
                          > > > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a
                          > > > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come
                          > > out
                          > > > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do
                          > > not
                          > > > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                          > > > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                          > > > > experience.' "
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that
                          > > > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident
                          > > > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's
                          > > > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                          > > > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least
                          > > > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search
                          > > > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                          > > > > abstractions.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight
                          > > associated
                          > > > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His
                          > > system
                          > > > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                          > > > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs --
                          > > and
                          > > > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian
                          > > > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which
                          > > should be
                          > > > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached
                          > > > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack
                          > > > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too
                          > > far.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes
                          > > > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which
                          > > he
                          > > > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                          > > > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                          > > > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                          > > > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > John Uebersax
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > Robert Wallace
                          > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                          > > > Freedom)
                          > > > email: bob@
                          > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                          > Robert Wallace
                          > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                          > Freedom)
                          > email: bob@...
                          > phone: 414-617-3914
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                        • Tim Addey
                          Bruce MacLennan wrote: *** From the standpoint of direct experience we do not observe changes in the archetypal structure (the divine order) in our own lives
                          Message 12 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
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                            Bruce MacLennan wrote:

                            *** "From the standpoint of direct experience we do not observe changes
                            in the archetypal structure (the divine order) in our own lives or even
                            between our lives and those of the immediately preceding generations.
                            Thus, in the first stage of phenomenological analysis (which is
                            primarily observational and descriptive) it is reasonable to describe
                            the archetypes as unchanging and eternal. Thus I am not surprised that
                            Plato, and his predecessors and successors, said the Forms are
                            unchanging; on the human scale, they are. . . Therefore (if you buy this
                            whole line of argument) the Platonic Ideas are slightly different from
                            what they were in Plato's day. . . But how do the Ideas evolve? They are
                            rooted in the human genome, but at any given time the genome is a sort
                            of mathematical average (a form, an abstraction) of all the individual
                            genotypes of living humans. As each individual human develops in accord
                            with their genotype, and then is born, lives, and dies, so also the
                            human genome changes minutely, and with it the archetypes. Thus:

                            "The gods can evolve only by means of our incarnation. . . To put it
                            more anthropomorphically, the gods have placed us here so that we can
                            play our necessary parts in /their/ continuing evolution. . .


                            "All that said, I have to add that the foregoing applies primarily to
                            the personified archetypes, which are rooted in the human genome." ***

                            I'm glad, Bruce that you added this late qualification because the
                            suggestion that Platonic Ideas are changing -- albeit slowly -- cannot
                            be said to be either Platonic or (if we are going to make a distinction)
                            Neoplatonic : Ideas reside in the eternal realm, so the passage of time
                            whether great or small cannot make any difference whatsoever to them.
                            And since Gods are super-eternal, the same is true of them. The Gods,
                            as Proclus tells us, are the first offspring of the Good -- so how could
                            Their participation of the good depend upon the activities or
                            consciousness of human beings? How could they evolve from one condition
                            to another when they are unlimited by condition?

                            No, if these various views on archetypes are true, then we must accept
                            that they are not Platonic Ideas, and not the Gods as understood by
                            Plato and his tradition. And if Platonism/Neoplatonism has anything to
                            contribute to the modern understanding of psychology then we must start
                            by stating clearly our most fundamental truths -- that no metaphysical
                            system is trustworthy if it has no starting point in that which is
                            unchanging, and that a reductionist basis for understanding the truth
                            cannot work. This, surely, is one of primary lessons we are expected to
                            draw from the /Theaetetus/ -- man (or his genome) is not the measure of
                            all things.


                            By all means engage in a dialogue with psychologists and
                            psychotherapists of various hues, but abandon the acropolis of Platonic
                            truth, and we will contribute nothing worthwhile, for the soul will
                            become a entirely fluxive creature in an entirely mutable universe. We
                            will be forced into treating the soul as nothing more than clever matter
                            devoid of any real stability, and therefore very far from immortal, and
                            with only a shadowy form of reason; we will join in with the pretence
                            that the soul's desire is to share in temporal pleasure, rather than
                            eternal goodness; that we are primarily consumers of mundane goods,
                            rather than contemplators of divine visions; and we will have no
                            solution to the deep dissatisfaction of human beings who are oblivious
                            of their true purpose.

                            However, if we do retain the basic Platonic view of things, then we may
                            well find that Jungian archetypes do indeed have a reality within the
                            greater framework, for all things are full of the Gods -- the world in
                            which our experiences outwork, as well as things eternal. The trick is
                            to see in _what way_ any particular thing - Platonic Idea, Jungian
                            archetype, human soul, or natural body - is a manifestation of the Gods.

                            Tim Addey




                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Robert Wallace
                            Dear harveycmd, 1. Yes, I do think that much that s described in modern times as free will is in fact not free. And Plato s description of the role of the
                            Message 13 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
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                              Dear harveycmd,

                              1. Yes, I do think that much that's described in modern times as "free
                              will" is in fact not free. And Plato's description of the role of the
                              search for knowledge of the Good, in unifying the parts of the soul
                              (Republic books iv-vii), is a description of what's needed in order
                              for the person to be "one" (443d-e), and thus to be self-determining,
                              rather than determined by what isn't really herself, as she is if she
                              merely follows her appetites or her _thumos_ ("ego"). "Cognition" of
                              this kind enables one to have a will that is one's own, as opposed to
                              a "will" that isn't really one's own.

                              2. I would probably agree with what you suggest in your second
                              question, but with the proviso that Kant doesn't _intend_ to describe
                              a merely "subjectively 'free will.'" Kant's noumenal realm is meant to
                              be a realm of genuine freedom, not merely "subjective." But Hegel of
                              course argues that if freedom ("infinity") is restricted to a special
                              "realm," it isn't fully free (infinite).

                              "Absolute knowing" isn't my favorite Hegelian terminology, coming as
                              it does from the Phenomenology of Spirit. But I guess it will do. For
                              purposes of analyzing freedom, I prefer Hegel's fully spelled-out
                              account in the Science of Logic, the Encyclopedia, and the Philosophy
                              of Right.

                              Best, Bob

                              On Mar 15, 2009, at 2:42 PM, harveycmd wrote:

                              > Bob,
                              >
                              > Thanks for the clarification. To be sure I understand you correctly,
                              > please allow me a couple of more questions. Are you saying that the
                              > modern notion of "free will" is something of a contradiction of
                              > terms and that real freedom according to Plato consists in the
                              > proper order of cognition which allows one to, as it were, transcend
                              > the will? Secondly, would you then say that in Hegel absolute
                              > knowing consists in the transcendence of subject/object duality of
                              > purely dianoetic cognition found in Kant's concept of the
                              > individual, subjectively "free will"?
                              >
                              > best,
                              > harveycmd
                              >
                              > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Dear Harveycmd,
                              > >
                              > > Very appropriate questions. Your final sentences anticipate my
                              > answer.
                              > > The conception of freedom as willfulness is, if you think about it,
                              > > not a conception of freedom. Because what is this "will," that wants
                              > > "its own" way? What makes it _my_ will as opposed to something that
                              > > merely happens in the world (and very likely reflects biological
                              > > instincts or other externally-ingrained stuff)? If you think about
                              > > "willful" people, do they seem free? Far from it, I would suggest.
                              > > They seem driven, by something that they probably haven't examined
                              > and
                              > > might well not want to endorse if they could examine it.
                              > >
                              > > So when Plato projects a "reasoning part" of the soul that is able
                              > to
                              > > get some perspective on this behavior and ask whether the person
                              > as a
                              > > whole actually benefits from it, I say Amen!! Now there's a
                              > > possibility that something the person might think of as her genuine
                              > > self, might emerge. But this question of "benefit" is, of course,
                              > the
                              > > question What's truly Good? --the immortal Platonic question. If you
                              > > aren't asking yourself that question on a regular basis--not as an
                              > > "academic" question, but as the vital question of how you're going
                              > to
                              > > live your life--it's hard to see how you could call yourself truly
                              > > free. This is why the Republic, which begins with questions about
                              > > "action" (why act justly toward others)--turns into an investigation
                              > > of "knowledge" (of the Good). It's not because Plato's really
                              > > interested in knowledge (contemplation) rather than action, but
                              > > because no action--whether it's political action or philosophical
                              > > inquiry--is either rational or free if it's not "examined."
                              > >
                              > > It's outrageously sad that Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger were
                              > able
                              > > to go through their careers without being effectively confronted
                              > with
                              > > this point. Ernst Cassirer in his Davos debate with Heidegger was
                              > > either too polite or too preoccupied with "epistemology" to make
                              > this
                              > > point effectively. Everybody's so _academic_, when what the issue
                              > > calls for is the kind of vital sense that Plato (for me) conjures up
                              > > with his debates between Socrates and Callicles and Thrasymachus. In
                              > > those, you can _see_ who's free and who isn't.
                              > >
                              > > Best, Bob
                              > >
                              > > On Mar 15, 2009, at 10:29 AM, harveycmd wrote:
                              > >
                              > > > Bob,
                              > > >
                              > > > I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism,
                              > > > Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With
                              > > > this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is
                              > > > different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my
                              > > > view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective
                              > assertion
                              > > > not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good
                              > is
                              > > > firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified
                              > > > theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom
                              > > > consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure,
                              > > > Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view
                              > > > of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-
                              > > > Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than
                              > one),
                              > > > take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate
                              > > > freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern
                              > > > lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams Plato's idea of the
                              > Good
                              > > > is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the
                              > > > understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root of
                              > > > their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more efficacious.
                              > > >
                              > > > best,
                              > > > harveycmd
                              > > >
                              > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@> wrote:
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Dear John (Uebersax),
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't
                              > mind
                              > > > if I
                              > > > > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--
                              > both of
                              > > > > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical
                              > > > philosophy.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                              > > > >
                              > > > > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is
                              > that
                              > > > > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost
                              > on
                              > > > Jung
                              > > > > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a
                              > > > vision of
                              > > > > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things
                              > seemed
                              > > > > > mere abstractions.
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                              > > > >
                              > > > > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not
                              > that I
                              > > > > > understood him.
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents
                              > but for
                              > > > > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                              > > > > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the
                              > philosophers
                              > > > > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                              > > > > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to
                              > > > take
                              > > > > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For
                              > in
                              > > > > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about;
                              > > > whereas
                              > > > > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's
                              > paragraph
                              > > > > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search
                              > for
                              > > > the
                              > > > > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a
                              > search--but
                              > > > > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                              > > > > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                              > > > > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was
                              > because he
                              > > > > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might
                              > > > well
                              > > > > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was
                              > exposed
                              > > > to
                              > > > > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he
                              > > > perceived no
                              > > > > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth
                              > remembering
                              > > > that
                              > > > > _Nietzsche_'s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't
                              > mean to
                              > > > > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                              > > > > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and
                              > > > Jung
                              > > > > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted
                              > something
                              > > > more
                              > > > > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage.
                              > And
                              > > > they
                              > > > > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As
                              > many of
                              > > > > _us_ have also done.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps
                              > Jung as
                              > > > > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian"). Of course Nietzsche
                              > > > courts
                              > > > > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil."
                              > But
                              > > > > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he
                              > just
                              > > > > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are
                              > ones that
                              > > > > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                              > > > > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its
                              > > > enemies,
                              > > > > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche
                              > means
                              > > > > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he
                              > delights
                              > > > > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                              > > > > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him
                              > > > (IMO) a
                              > > > > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about
                              > > > value
                              > > > > at all.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                              > > > > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                              > > > > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it
                              > look
                              > > > > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                              > > > > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But
                              > Nietzsche
                              > > > and
                              > > > > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main
                              > reasons
                              > > > > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                              > > > > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer,
                              > who
                              > > > > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel
                              > > > wrote,
                              > > > > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical
                              > writings
                              > > > > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                              > > > > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                              > > > > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part
                              > soul;
                              > > > > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul
                              > was to
                              > > > > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-
                              > > > determining,
                              > > > > or (as we would say) free.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche
                              > and Jung
                              > > > > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're
                              > very
                              > > > > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's
                              > genuine,
                              > > > > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper
                              > > > attention
                              > > > > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening
                              > themselves,
                              > > > > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about
                              > > > these
                              > > > > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine
                              > value, and
                              > > > > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn
                              > a lot
                              > > > > from Jesus on the same subject.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that
                              > Nietzsche,
                              > > > > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are)
                              > pursuing
                              > > > > something quite different from what Plato and his followers
                              > > > pursue, we
                              > > > > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                              > > > > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea
                              > of
                              > > > > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show
                              > how
                              > > > > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of
                              > freedom_. We
                              > > > > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of
                              > > > freedom, or
                              > > > > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education
                              > for
                              > > > its
                              > > > > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able
                              > to
                              > > > > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the
                              > > > connection
                              > > > > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme
                              > of the
                              > > > > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's
                              > associated
                              > > > > with "existentialism": the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                              > > > > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                              > > > > appreciate.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Best, Bob
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                              > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Bob wrote:
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the
                              > > > clear and
                              > > > > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as
                              > > > bipolar,
                              > > > > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it
                              > earlier
                              > > > (I
                              > > > > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by
                              > > > Nietzsche,
                              > > > > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards
                              > > > Platonism.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously
                              > > > framed.
                              > > > > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and
                              > in
                              > > > this
                              > > > > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been
                              > thought
                              > > > in
                              > > > > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my
                              > intuitions
                              > > > > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the
                              > thought
                              > > > > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the
                              > > > long-
                              > > > > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were
                              > beautiful
                              > > > and
                              > > > > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote.
                              > Only in
                              > > > > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                              > > > > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the
                              > Aristotelian
                              > > > > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless
                              > than a
                              > > > > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to
                              > come
                              > > > out
                              > > > > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and
                              > do
                              > > > not
                              > > > > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                              > > > > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                              > > > > > experience.' "
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is
                              > that
                              > > > > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths
                              > evident
                              > > > > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St.
                              > Thomas's
                              > > > > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                              > > > > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at
                              > least
                              > > > > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or
                              > search
                              > > > > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                              > > > > > abstractions.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight
                              > > > associated
                              > > > > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His
                              > > > system
                              > > > > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                              > > > > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital
                              > affairs --
                              > > > and
                              > > > > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional,
                              > antimonian
                              > > > > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which
                              > > > should be
                              > > > > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be
                              > approached
                              > > > > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a
                              > knack
                              > > > > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too
                              > > > far.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He
                              > promotes
                              > > > > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism,
                              > which
                              > > > he
                              > > > > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                              > > > > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                              > > > > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                              > > > > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > John Uebersax
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Robert Wallace
                              > > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The
                              > God of
                              > > > > Freedom)
                              > > > > email: bob@
                              > > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              > > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > >
                              > > Robert Wallace
                              > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                              > > Freedom)
                              > > email: bob@...
                              > > phone: 414-617-3914
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              > >
                              >
                              >
                              >

                              Robert Wallace
                              website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                              Freedom)
                              email: bob@...
                              phone: 414-617-3914









                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • harveycmd
                              Bob, In my view Kant gets himself into trouble because he wants to prove discursively the reality of the determinate world of Newtonian physics while at the
                              Message 14 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
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                                Bob,

                                In my view Kant gets himself into trouble because he wants to prove discursively the reality of the determinate world of Newtonian physics while at the same time maintaining the world of subjective free will of Enlightenment anthropology. He is unable to prove the existence of human freedom discursively and refuses to accept a form of intellection in line with Platonic and Aristotelian noesis, leaving him with his realm of noumenal freedom as the world of "as if" which cannot be said to actually exist or cause anything to happen in the phenomenal world. Hegel avoids this impass by refusing to presuppose a split between thinking and being that we find in Western modernity, most clearly in Descartes, but also in the British empiricists Hobbes, Locke and Hume.

                                The biggest difference between Hegel and orthodox Platonism and Neoplatonism is that Hegel admits change in the absolute, arguing that the absolute would be limited if it did not contain both the finite and the infinite. If we were to relate this to Plato's Good beyond being, we could say that for Hegel Plato's Good is the eternal process by which being unfolds into the world of becoming out of the negative. Epistemically this is related to his reworking of the law of the excluded middle in relation to identity and contradiction.

                                best,
                                harveycmd


                                --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Dear harveycmd,
                                >
                                > 1. Yes, I do think that much that's described in modern times as "free
                                > will" is in fact not free. And Plato's description of the role of the
                                > search for knowledge of the Good, in unifying the parts of the soul
                                > (Republic books iv-vii), is a description of what's needed in order
                                > for the person to be "one" (443d-e), and thus to be self-determining,
                                > rather than determined by what isn't really herself, as she is if she
                                > merely follows her appetites or her _thumos_ ("ego"). "Cognition" of
                                > this kind enables one to have a will that is one's own, as opposed to
                                > a "will" that isn't really one's own.
                                >
                                > 2. I would probably agree with what you suggest in your second
                                > question, but with the proviso that Kant doesn't _intend_ to describe
                                > a merely "subjectively 'free will.'" Kant's noumenal realm is meant to
                                > be a realm of genuine freedom, not merely "subjective." But Hegel of
                                > course argues that if freedom ("infinity") is restricted to a special
                                > "realm," it isn't fully free (infinite).
                                >
                                > "Absolute knowing" isn't my favorite Hegelian terminology, coming as
                                > it does from the Phenomenology of Spirit. But I guess it will do. For
                                > purposes of analyzing freedom, I prefer Hegel's fully spelled-out
                                > account in the Science of Logic, the Encyclopedia, and the Philosophy
                                > of Right.
                                >
                                > Best, Bob
                                >
                                > On Mar 15, 2009, at 2:42 PM, harveycmd wrote:
                                >
                                > > Bob,
                                > >
                                > > Thanks for the clarification. To be sure I understand you correctly,
                                > > please allow me a couple of more questions. Are you saying that the
                                > > modern notion of "free will" is something of a contradiction of
                                > > terms and that real freedom according to Plato consists in the
                                > > proper order of cognition which allows one to, as it were, transcend
                                > > the will? Secondly, would you then say that in Hegel absolute
                                > > knowing consists in the transcendence of subject/object duality of
                                > > purely dianoetic cognition found in Kant's concept of the
                                > > individual, subjectively "free will"?
                                > >
                                > > best,
                                > > harveycmd
                                > >
                                > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@> wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > > Dear Harveycmd,
                                > > >
                                > > > Very appropriate questions. Your final sentences anticipate my
                                > > answer.
                                > > > The conception of freedom as willfulness is, if you think about it,
                                > > > not a conception of freedom. Because what is this "will," that wants
                                > > > "its own" way? What makes it _my_ will as opposed to something that
                                > > > merely happens in the world (and very likely reflects biological
                                > > > instincts or other externally-ingrained stuff)? If you think about
                                > > > "willful" people, do they seem free? Far from it, I would suggest.
                                > > > They seem driven, by something that they probably haven't examined
                                > > and
                                > > > might well not want to endorse if they could examine it.
                                > > >
                                > > > So when Plato projects a "reasoning part" of the soul that is able
                                > > to
                                > > > get some perspective on this behavior and ask whether the person
                                > > as a
                                > > > whole actually benefits from it, I say Amen!! Now there's a
                                > > > possibility that something the person might think of as her genuine
                                > > > self, might emerge. But this question of "benefit" is, of course,
                                > > the
                                > > > question What's truly Good? --the immortal Platonic question. If you
                                > > > aren't asking yourself that question on a regular basis--not as an
                                > > > "academic" question, but as the vital question of how you're going
                                > > to
                                > > > live your life--it's hard to see how you could call yourself truly
                                > > > free. This is why the Republic, which begins with questions about
                                > > > "action" (why act justly toward others)--turns into an investigation
                                > > > of "knowledge" (of the Good). It's not because Plato's really
                                > > > interested in knowledge (contemplation) rather than action, but
                                > > > because no action--whether it's political action or philosophical
                                > > > inquiry--is either rational or free if it's not "examined."
                                > > >
                                > > > It's outrageously sad that Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger were
                                > > able
                                > > > to go through their careers without being effectively confronted
                                > > with
                                > > > this point. Ernst Cassirer in his Davos debate with Heidegger was
                                > > > either too polite or too preoccupied with "epistemology" to make
                                > > this
                                > > > point effectively. Everybody's so _academic_, when what the issue
                                > > > calls for is the kind of vital sense that Plato (for me) conjures up
                                > > > with his debates between Socrates and Callicles and Thrasymachus. In
                                > > > those, you can _see_ who's free and who isn't.
                                > > >
                                > > > Best, Bob
                                > > >
                                > > > On Mar 15, 2009, at 10:29 AM, harveycmd wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > > > Bob,
                                > > > >
                                > > > > I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism,
                                > > > > Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With
                                > > > > this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is
                                > > > > different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my
                                > > > > view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective
                                > > assertion
                                > > > > not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good
                                > > is
                                > > > > firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified
                                > > > > theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom
                                > > > > consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure,
                                > > > > Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view
                                > > > > of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-
                                > > > > Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than
                                > > one),
                                > > > > take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate
                                > > > > freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern
                                > > > > lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams Plato's idea of the
                                > > Good
                                > > > > is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the
                                > > > > understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root of
                                > > > > their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more efficacious.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > best,
                                > > > > harveycmd
                                > > > >
                                > > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@> wrote:
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Dear John (Uebersax),
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't
                                > > mind
                                > > > > if I
                                > > > > > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--
                                > > both of
                                > > > > > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical
                                > > > > philosophy.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is
                                > > that
                                > > > > > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost
                                > > on
                                > > > > Jung
                                > > > > > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a
                                > > > > vision of
                                > > > > > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things
                                > > seemed
                                > > > > > > mere abstractions.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not
                                > > that I
                                > > > > > > understood him.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents
                                > > but for
                                > > > > > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                                > > > > > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the
                                > > philosophers
                                > > > > > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                                > > > > > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to
                                > > > > take
                                > > > > > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For
                                > > in
                                > > > > > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about;
                                > > > > whereas
                                > > > > > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's
                                > > paragraph
                                > > > > > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search
                                > > for
                                > > > > the
                                > > > > > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a
                                > > search--but
                                > > > > > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                                > > > > > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                                > > > > > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was
                                > > because he
                                > > > > > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might
                                > > > > well
                                > > > > > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was
                                > > exposed
                                > > > > to
                                > > > > > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he
                                > > > > perceived no
                                > > > > > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth
                                > > remembering
                                > > > > that
                                > > > > > _Nietzsche_'s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't
                                > > mean to
                                > > > > > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                                > > > > > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and
                                > > > > Jung
                                > > > > > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted
                                > > something
                                > > > > more
                                > > > > > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage.
                                > > And
                                > > > > they
                                > > > > > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As
                                > > many of
                                > > > > > _us_ have also done.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps
                                > > Jung as
                                > > > > > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian"). Of course Nietzsche
                                > > > > courts
                                > > > > > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil."
                                > > But
                                > > > > > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he
                                > > just
                                > > > > > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are
                                > > ones that
                                > > > > > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                                > > > > > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its
                                > > > > enemies,
                                > > > > > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche
                                > > means
                                > > > > > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he
                                > > delights
                                > > > > > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                                > > > > > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him
                                > > > > (IMO) a
                                > > > > > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about
                                > > > > value
                                > > > > > at all.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                                > > > > > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                                > > > > > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it
                                > > look
                                > > > > > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                                > > > > > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But
                                > > Nietzsche
                                > > > > and
                                > > > > > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main
                                > > reasons
                                > > > > > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                                > > > > > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer,
                                > > who
                                > > > > > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel
                                > > > > wrote,
                                > > > > > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical
                                > > writings
                                > > > > > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                                > > > > > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                                > > > > > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part
                                > > soul;
                                > > > > > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul
                                > > was to
                                > > > > > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-
                                > > > > determining,
                                > > > > > or (as we would say) free.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche
                                > > and Jung
                                > > > > > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're
                                > > very
                                > > > > > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's
                                > > genuine,
                                > > > > > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper
                                > > > > attention
                                > > > > > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening
                                > > themselves,
                                > > > > > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about
                                > > > > these
                                > > > > > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine
                                > > value, and
                                > > > > > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn
                                > > a lot
                                > > > > > from Jesus on the same subject.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that
                                > > Nietzsche,
                                > > > > > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are)
                                > > pursuing
                                > > > > > something quite different from what Plato and his followers
                                > > > > pursue, we
                                > > > > > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                                > > > > > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea
                                > > of
                                > > > > > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show
                                > > how
                                > > > > > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of
                                > > freedom_. We
                                > > > > > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of
                                > > > > freedom, or
                                > > > > > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education
                                > > for
                                > > > > its
                                > > > > > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able
                                > > to
                                > > > > > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the
                                > > > > connection
                                > > > > > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme
                                > > of the
                                > > > > > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's
                                > > associated
                                > > > > > with "existentialism": the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                                > > > > > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                                > > > > > appreciate.
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Best, Bob
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Bob wrote:
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the
                                > > > > clear and
                                > > > > > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as
                                > > > > bipolar,
                                > > > > > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it
                                > > earlier
                                > > > > (I
                                > > > > > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by
                                > > > > Nietzsche,
                                > > > > > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards
                                > > > > Platonism.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously
                                > > > > framed.
                                > > > > > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and
                                > > in
                                > > > > this
                                > > > > > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been
                                > > thought
                                > > > > in
                                > > > > > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my
                                > > intuitions
                                > > > > > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the
                                > > thought
                                > > > > > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the
                                > > > > long-
                                > > > > > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were
                                > > beautiful
                                > > > > and
                                > > > > > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote.
                                > > Only in
                                > > > > > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                                > > > > > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the
                                > > Aristotelian
                                > > > > > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless
                                > > than a
                                > > > > > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to
                                > > come
                                > > > > out
                                > > > > > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and
                                > > do
                                > > > > not
                                > > > > > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                                > > > > > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                                > > > > > > experience.' "
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is
                                > > that
                                > > > > > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths
                                > > evident
                                > > > > > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St.
                                > > Thomas's
                                > > > > > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                                > > > > > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at
                                > > least
                                > > > > > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or
                                > > search
                                > > > > > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                                > > > > > > abstractions.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight
                                > > > > associated
                                > > > > > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His
                                > > > > system
                                > > > > > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                                > > > > > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital
                                > > affairs --
                                > > > > and
                                > > > > > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional,
                                > > antimonian
                                > > > > > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which
                                > > > > should be
                                > > > > > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be
                                > > approached
                                > > > > > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a
                                > > knack
                                > > > > > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too
                                > > > > far.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He
                                > > promotes
                                > > > > > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism,
                                > > which
                                > > > > he
                                > > > > > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                                > > > > > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                                > > > > > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                                > > > > > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > > John Uebersax
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > Robert Wallace
                                > > > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The
                                > > God of
                                > > > > > Freedom)
                                > > > > > email: bob@
                                > > > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                > > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > >
                                > > > Robert Wallace
                                > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                > > > Freedom)
                                > > > email: bob@
                                > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > >
                                > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                > > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                >
                                > Robert Wallace
                                > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                > Freedom)
                                > email: bob@...
                                > phone: 414-617-3914
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                              • Robert Wallace
                                Dear Thomas, Thanks for your thought-provoking historical account. I agree that there appears to be a contrast between Aristotle s prime mover account and
                                Message 15 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Dear Thomas,

                                  Thanks for your thought-provoking historical account. I agree that
                                  there appears to be a contrast between Aristotle's prime mover account
                                  and Plato's "self-movers." However, the role of the Forms, and the
                                  form of the Good in particular, appears to be just as "fatal" as that
                                  of the Prime Mover in Aristotle. The soul that seeks knowledge of the
                                  Good, in the Republic, is certainly not going to "choose" to ignore
                                  that knowledge when it decides what to do in the world.

                                  When Scotus cites Satan as a counter-example to Aristotle's prime
                                  mover theory of action, I am moved to object: Satan is simply an
                                  example of what happens when what Plato calls "thumos" and we often
                                  call "ego" dominates one's decision--and being dominated by ego is
                                  precisely a case of not seeking what's Good in general, but rather
                                  being obsessed with issues of dignity or personal standing ("I will
                                  not serve"). I'm not sure precisely how Aristotle would analyze
                                  Satan's error, but I assume it would be along lines similar to these.
                                  In which case, Satan's decision results from a failure of rationality,
                                  rather than from an interest in something that deserves to be
                                  dignified as "freedom." To insist on personal standing, at the cost of
                                  not being part of the one good cosmos, is surely paradigmatically
                                  irrational.

                                  To call the attraction of the Good or the Prime Mover "fatal" is to
                                  suppose that they're fundamentally "outside" the agent, so that when
                                  the agent is guided by them it's not guided by itself. But this is
                                  surely not something that Plato would want to say about the Good,
                                  since the Good is precisely that whereby the tripartite soul functions
                                  as "one," and thus is able to be guided by itself. This is how Plato
                                  was able to inspire Plotinus's and Augustine's notion of rational
                                  ascent as going "inside" oneself, as well as becoming "god-like". I
                                  suspect that Aristotle ultimately has a similar view. He certainly
                                  doesn't think that the hero of the Nicomachean Ethics is a slave to
                                  something external to himself. His account of friendship, in which the
                                  friend is "another oneself," suggests that his conception of what's
                                  internal vs what's external is more inclusive than we "social
                                  atomists" are used to. The ambiguity of many of Plato's discussions
                                  of "soul," as between plural "souls" and generic "soul," makes me
                                  suspect a similar undermining of conventional "boundaries" in his
                                  thinking, as well.

                                  Best, Bob


                                  On Mar 15, 2009, at 11:43 AM, Thomas Mether wrote:

                                  > If you look at the historical origins of our modern concept(s) of
                                  > the will, you find they have a very old Platonic root in opposition
                                  > to Aristotle's thought.
                                  >
                                  > I think the "non-Aristotlian" roots of our modern concept(s) of will
                                  > have their developmental roots in the Roman Stoics -- Cicero and
                                  > Seneca -- and Philo of Alexamdria. The next developmental phase
                                  > draws on Platonist resources in Augustine, Marius Victorinus, and
                                  > Anselm in the west; the Cappadocians, Maximos the Confessor, and
                                  > John Damascene in the East (and through Franciscan contact with the
                                  > Byzantine East, some portion of these eastern concepts get imported
                                  > into Franciscan Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard --
                                  > Bonaventure is using these imported concepts).
                                  >
                                  > The next big step is Duns Scotus. Scotus challenges the idea that
                                  > the Good, if fully and completely known, exerts sort of a "fatal
                                  > attraction" so that the full contemplative infusion of the vision of
                                  > the Good both creates the will and fully determines the fully
                                  > actualized will into this "fatal attraction". In terms of the first
                                  > idea, humans have free-choice but no real will as one passion after
                                  > another becomes the choice of the moment or we choice one good over
                                  > another and over our impulses in a process of developing virtues as
                                  > lasting dispositions or habits of free choice. In terms of the
                                  > second idea, the potency for will is only fully actualized when it
                                  > has a full vision of the good. Since this actualization of will is
                                  > also the process of giving its potency (as conative matter) its
                                  > fully determinate form (as conative form), the will is not free but
                                  > is fully determined as a conation towards the good. Part of the
                                  > basis of this view was to see the will
                                  > as an appetite. Scotus challenges this "fatal attraction" view that
                                  > he finds even in Aquinas. He posits will as a rational potency (not
                                  > an appetite) that always, in whatever action, retains the power to
                                  > have done otherwise. As such, in relation to the good, it is no
                                  > longer "fatal attraction" but a repeated freely willed choice/
                                  > commitment; yet, the will retains the power even in relation to the
                                  > good, to have done and to do otherwise. Satan is his prime example
                                  > that what I'm dubbing the "fatal attraction" view of will is false.
                                  > It is the mainly the Scotist view of the will the modern era has
                                  > inherited via the later Franciscan tradition through the Radical
                                  > Reformation and Boehme (one route) to Kant and on....
                                  >
                                  > Scotus's re-working of the concept of the will, he realized, had
                                  > metaphysical implications
                                  > that put him in the Platonist camp as opposed to the Aristotelian
                                  > camp. The Aristotelian camp held to a metaphysical principle that
                                  > shaped its concept of will. According to this camp, for all things,
                                  > even the will, quidquid movetur ab alio movetur or whatever is moved
                                  > is moved by another (the ultimate unmoved mover being, eventually,
                                  > the Good). Scotus criticizes this principle and resurrects the
                                  > Platonist notion that there can be self-movers. The soul and will
                                  > are self-moving.
                                  >
                                  > Thomas Mether
                                  >
                                  > --- On Sun, 3/15/09, harveycmd <harveycmd@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > From: harveycmd <harveycmd@...>
                                  > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                                  > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                  > Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 10:29 AM
                                  >
                                  > Bob,
                                  >
                                  > I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism,
                                  > Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With
                                  > this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is
                                  > different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my
                                  > view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective assertion
                                  > not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good is
                                  > firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified
                                  > theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom
                                  > consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure,
                                  > Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view
                                  > of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-
                                  > Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than one),
                                  > take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate
                                  > freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern
                                  > lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams
                                  > Plato's idea of the Good is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is
                                  > done with the understanding that their idea of a cure is actually
                                  > the root of their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more
                                  > efficacious.
                                  >
                                  > best,
                                  > harveycmd
                                  >
                                  > --- In neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > > Dear John (Uebersax),
                                  > >
                                  > > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't mind
                                  > if I
                                  > > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both of
                                  > > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical
                                  > philosophy.
                                  > >
                                  > > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                                  > >
                                  > > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that
                                  > > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on
                                  > Jung
                                  > > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a
                                  > vision of
                                  > > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                                  > > > mere abstractions.
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                                  > >
                                  > > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                                  > > > understood him.
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents but for
                                  > > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                                  > > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the philosophers
                                  > > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                                  > > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to
                                  > take
                                  > > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For in
                                  > > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about;
                                  > whereas
                                  > > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                                  > >
                                  > > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's paragraph
                                  > > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search for
                                  > the
                                  > > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a search--but
                                  > > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                                  > > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                                  > >
                                  > > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                                  > > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was because he
                                  > > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might
                                  > well
                                  > > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was exposed
                                  > to
                                  > > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he
                                  > perceived no
                                  > > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth remembering
                                  > that
                                  > > _Nietzsche_' s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't mean to
                                  > > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                                  > > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and
                                  > Jung
                                  > > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted something
                                  > more
                                  > > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage. And
                                  > they
                                  > > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As many of
                                  > > _us_ have also done.
                                  > >
                                  > > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps Jung as
                                  > > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian" ). Of course Nietzsche
                                  > courts
                                  > > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil." But
                                  > > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he just
                                  > > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are ones that
                                  > > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                                  > > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its
                                  > enemies,
                                  > > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche means
                                  > > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he delights
                                  > > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                                  > > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him
                                  > (IMO) a
                                  > > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about
                                  > value
                                  > > at all.
                                  > >
                                  > > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                                  > > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                                  > > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it look
                                  > > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                                  > > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But Nietzsche
                                  > and
                                  > > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main reasons
                                  > > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                                  > > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer, who
                                  > > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel
                                  > wrote,
                                  > > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical writings
                                  > > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                                  > > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                                  > > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part soul;
                                  > > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul was to
                                  > > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-
                                  > determining,
                                  > > or (as we would say) free.
                                  > >
                                  > > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche and Jung
                                  > > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're very
                                  > > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's genuine,
                                  > > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper
                                  > attention
                                  > > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening themselves,
                                  > > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about
                                  > these
                                  > > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine value, and
                                  > > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn a lot
                                  > > from Jesus on the same subject.
                                  > >
                                  > > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that Nietzsche,
                                  > > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are) pursuing
                                  > > something quite different from what Plato and his followers
                                  > pursue, we
                                  > > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                                  > > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea of
                                  > > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show how
                                  > > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of freedom_. We
                                  > > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of
                                  > freedom, or
                                  > > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education for
                                  > its
                                  > > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able to
                                  > > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the
                                  > connection
                                  > > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme of the
                                  > > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's associated
                                  > > with "existentialism" : the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                                  > > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                                  > > appreciate.
                                  > >
                                  > > Best, Bob
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Bob wrote:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the
                                  > clear and
                                  > > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as
                                  > bipolar,
                                  > > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier
                                  > (I
                                  > > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by
                                  > Nietzsche,
                                  > > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards
                                  > Platonism.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously
                                  > framed.
                                  > > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in
                                  > this
                                  > > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought
                                  > in
                                  > > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
                                  > > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought
                                  > > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the
                                  > long-
                                  > > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful
                                  > and
                                  > > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
                                  > > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                                  > > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian
                                  > > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a
                                  > > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come
                                  > out
                                  > > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do
                                  > not
                                  > > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                                  > > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                                  > > > experience.' "
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that
                                  > > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident
                                  > > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's
                                  > > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                                  > > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least
                                  > > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search
                                  > > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                                  > > > abstractions.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight
                                  > associated
                                  > > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His
                                  > system
                                  > > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                                  > > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs --
                                  > and
                                  > > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian
                                  > > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which
                                  > should be
                                  > > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached
                                  > > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack
                                  > > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too
                                  > far.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes
                                  > > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which
                                  > he
                                  > > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                                  > > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                                  > > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                                  > > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > John Uebersax
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > >
                                  > > Robert Wallace
                                  > > website: www.robertmwallace. com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God
                                  > of
                                  > > Freedom)
                                  > > email: bob@...
                                  > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >

                                  Robert Wallace
                                  website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                  Freedom)
                                  email: bob@...
                                  phone: 414-617-3914









                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Robert Wallace
                                  Dear harveycmd, When you say that Hegel differs from orthodox Platonism and Neoplatonism by admitting change in the absolute, you may be overlooking
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
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                                    Dear harveycmd,

                                    When you say that Hegel differs from orthodox Platonism and
                                    Neoplatonism by "admitting change in the absolute," you may be
                                    overlooking Plotinus's notion that emanation is necessary, because (as
                                    Plato stated) the divine cannot be "jealous." If emanation is
                                    necessary, then it seems that the world of change has a necessary role
                                    to play in relation to the "One." And if Plotinus here is correctly
                                    interpreting Plato's Timaeus, then Plato himself may have moderated
                                    the apparently sharp dualism of some of his other pronouncements.

                                    I don't think it's quite right to say that for Hegel, Plato's Good is
                                    the eternal process of becoming. After all, in order to accomplish
                                    anything worth mentioning, that process needs to have a goal. The goal
                                    is (presumably) being. I certainly agree that Hegel's account of
                                    contradiction, and so forth, is motivated by and a way of expressing
                                    his metaphysical theology.

                                    Have you taught Hegel's Logic and metaphysics? If so, have you been
                                    able to make them intelligible to students trained in analytic
                                    philosophy--or in more recent continental philosophy, for that
                                    matter? I think that twentieth century philosophy both analytic and
                                    continental suffers from its failure to understand the Platonic
                                    tradition, including Plotinus, Hegel and Whitehead. We need to be able
                                    to explain Hegel in particular, because of his articulate response
                                    both to empiricism and to Kant, both of which are widely familiar and
                                    influential. But spelling out the nature of that response is a
                                    challenging task. If it's a task that you have addressed yourself to,
                                    I'd be curious to hear what success you have had in it.

                                    Best, Bob

                                    On Mar 15, 2009, at 5:28 PM, harveycmd wrote:

                                    > Bob,
                                    >
                                    > In my view Kant gets himself into trouble because he wants to prove
                                    > discursively the reality of the determinate world of Newtonian
                                    > physics while at the same time maintaining the world of subjective
                                    > free will of Enlightenment anthropology. He is unable to prove the
                                    > existence of human freedom discursively and refuses to accept a form
                                    > of intellection in line with Platonic and Aristotelian noesis,
                                    > leaving him with his realm of noumenal freedom as the world of "as
                                    > if" which cannot be said to actually exist or cause anything to
                                    > happen in the phenomenal world. Hegel avoids this impass by refusing
                                    > to presuppose a split between thinking and being that we find in
                                    > Western modernity, most clearly in Descartes, but also in the
                                    > British empiricists Hobbes, Locke and Hume.
                                    >
                                    > The biggest difference between Hegel and orthodox Platonism and
                                    > Neoplatonism is that Hegel admits change in the absolute, arguing
                                    > that the absolute would be limited if it did not contain both the
                                    > finite and the infinite. If we were to relate this to Plato's Good
                                    > beyond being, we could say that for Hegel Plato's Good is the
                                    > eternal process by which being unfolds into the world of becoming
                                    > out of the negative. Epistemically this is related to his reworking
                                    > of the law of the excluded middle in relation to identity and
                                    > contradiction.
                                    >
                                    > best,
                                    > harveycmd
                                    >
                                    > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > Dear harveycmd,
                                    > >
                                    > > 1. Yes, I do think that much that's described in modern times as
                                    > "free
                                    > > will" is in fact not free. And Plato's description of the role of
                                    > the
                                    > > search for knowledge of the Good, in unifying the parts of the soul
                                    > > (Republic books iv-vii), is a description of what's needed in order
                                    > > for the person to be "one" (443d-e), and thus to be self-
                                    > determining,
                                    > > rather than determined by what isn't really herself, as she is if
                                    > she
                                    > > merely follows her appetites or her _thumos_ ("ego"). "Cognition" of
                                    > > this kind enables one to have a will that is one's own, as opposed
                                    > to
                                    > > a "will" that isn't really one's own.
                                    > >
                                    > > 2. I would probably agree with what you suggest in your second
                                    > > question, but with the proviso that Kant doesn't _intend_ to
                                    > describe
                                    > > a merely "subjectively 'free will.'" Kant's noumenal realm is
                                    > meant to
                                    > > be a realm of genuine freedom, not merely "subjective." But Hegel of
                                    > > course argues that if freedom ("infinity") is restricted to a
                                    > special
                                    > > "realm," it isn't fully free (infinite).
                                    > >
                                    > > "Absolute knowing" isn't my favorite Hegelian terminology, coming as
                                    > > it does from the Phenomenology of Spirit. But I guess it will do.
                                    > For
                                    > > purposes of analyzing freedom, I prefer Hegel's fully spelled-out
                                    > > account in the Science of Logic, the Encyclopedia, and the
                                    > Philosophy
                                    > > of Right.
                                    > >
                                    > > Best, Bob
                                    > >
                                    > > On Mar 15, 2009, at 2:42 PM, harveycmd wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > > Bob,
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Thanks for the clarification. To be sure I understand you
                                    > correctly,
                                    > > > please allow me a couple of more questions. Are you saying that
                                    > the
                                    > > > modern notion of "free will" is something of a contradiction of
                                    > > > terms and that real freedom according to Plato consists in the
                                    > > > proper order of cognition which allows one to, as it were,
                                    > transcend
                                    > > > the will? Secondly, would you then say that in Hegel absolute
                                    > > > knowing consists in the transcendence of subject/object duality of
                                    > > > purely dianoetic cognition found in Kant's concept of the
                                    > > > individual, subjectively "free will"?
                                    > > >
                                    > > > best,
                                    > > > harveycmd
                                    > > >
                                    > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@> wrote:
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Dear Harveycmd,
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Very appropriate questions. Your final sentences anticipate my
                                    > > > answer.
                                    > > > > The conception of freedom as willfulness is, if you think
                                    > about it,
                                    > > > > not a conception of freedom. Because what is this "will," that
                                    > wants
                                    > > > > "its own" way? What makes it _my_ will as opposed to something
                                    > that
                                    > > > > merely happens in the world (and very likely reflects biological
                                    > > > > instincts or other externally-ingrained stuff)? If you think
                                    > about
                                    > > > > "willful" people, do they seem free? Far from it, I would
                                    > suggest.
                                    > > > > They seem driven, by something that they probably haven't
                                    > examined
                                    > > > and
                                    > > > > might well not want to endorse if they could examine it.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > So when Plato projects a "reasoning part" of the soul that is
                                    > able
                                    > > > to
                                    > > > > get some perspective on this behavior and ask whether the person
                                    > > > as a
                                    > > > > whole actually benefits from it, I say Amen!! Now there's a
                                    > > > > possibility that something the person might think of as her
                                    > genuine
                                    > > > > self, might emerge. But this question of "benefit" is, of
                                    > course,
                                    > > > the
                                    > > > > question What's truly Good? --the immortal Platonic question.
                                    > If you
                                    > > > > aren't asking yourself that question on a regular basis--not
                                    > as an
                                    > > > > "academic" question, but as the vital question of how you're
                                    > going
                                    > > > to
                                    > > > > live your life--it's hard to see how you could call yourself
                                    > truly
                                    > > > > free. This is why the Republic, which begins with questions
                                    > about
                                    > > > > "action" (why act justly toward others)--turns into an
                                    > investigation
                                    > > > > of "knowledge" (of the Good). It's not because Plato's really
                                    > > > > interested in knowledge (contemplation) rather than action, but
                                    > > > > because no action--whether it's political action or
                                    > philosophical
                                    > > > > inquiry--is either rational or free if it's not "examined."
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > It's outrageously sad that Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger
                                    > were
                                    > > > able
                                    > > > > to go through their careers without being effectively confronted
                                    > > > with
                                    > > > > this point. Ernst Cassirer in his Davos debate with Heidegger
                                    > was
                                    > > > > either too polite or too preoccupied with "epistemology" to make
                                    > > > this
                                    > > > > point effectively. Everybody's so _academic_, when what the
                                    > issue
                                    > > > > calls for is the kind of vital sense that Plato (for me)
                                    > conjures up
                                    > > > > with his debates between Socrates and Callicles and
                                    > Thrasymachus. In
                                    > > > > those, you can _see_ who's free and who isn't.
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Best, Bob
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > On Mar 15, 2009, at 10:29 AM, harveycmd wrote:
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > > Bob,
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > > I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in
                                    > Platonism,
                                    > > > > > Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel).
                                    > With
                                    > > > > > this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of
                                    > freedom is
                                    > > > > > different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good?
                                    > In my
                                    > > > > > view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective
                                    > > > assertion
                                    > > > > > not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the
                                    > Good
                                    > > > is
                                    > > > > > firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as
                                    > purified
                                    > > > > > theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of
                                    > freedom
                                    > > > > > consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure,
                                    > > > > > Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the
                                    > Platonic view
                                    > > > > > of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-
                                    > > > > > Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than
                                    > > > one),
                                    > > > > > take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and
                                    > associate
                                    > > > > > freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading
                                    > modern
                                    > > > > > lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams Plato's idea of the
                                    > > > Good
                                    > > > > > is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the
                                    > > > > > understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root
                                    > of
                                    > > > > > their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more
                                    > efficacious.
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > > best,
                                    > > > > > harveycmd
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@>
                                    > wrote:
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > Dear John (Uebersax),
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't
                                    > > > mind
                                    > > > > > if I
                                    > > > > > > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative
                                    > reading--
                                    > > > both of
                                    > > > > > > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical
                                    > > > > > philosophy.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is
                                    > > > that
                                    > > > > > > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is
                                    > lost
                                    > > > on
                                    > > > > > Jung
                                    > > > > > > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a
                                    > > > > > vision of
                                    > > > > > > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things
                                    > > > seemed
                                    > > > > > > > mere abstractions.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---
                                    > not
                                    > > > that I
                                    > > > > > > > understood him.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents
                                    > > > but for
                                    > > > > > > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--
                                    > that the
                                    > > > > > > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the
                                    > > > philosophers
                                    > > > > > > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics.
                                    > Speaking for
                                    > > > > > > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and
                                    > Plato, to
                                    > > > > > take
                                    > > > > > > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi.
                                    > For
                                    > > > in
                                    > > > > > > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all
                                    > about;
                                    > > > > > whereas
                                    > > > > > > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's
                                    > > > paragraph
                                    > > > > > > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a
                                    > search
                                    > > > for
                                    > > > > > the
                                    > > > > > > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a
                                    > > > search--but
                                    > > > > > > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                                    > > > > > > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance
                                    > from
                                    > > > > > > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was
                                    > > > because he
                                    > > > > > > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it
                                    > might
                                    > > > > > well
                                    > > > > > > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was
                                    > > > exposed
                                    > > > > > to
                                    > > > > > > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he
                                    > > > > > perceived no
                                    > > > > > > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth
                                    > > > remembering
                                    > > > > > that
                                    > > > > > > _Nietzsche_'s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't
                                    > > > mean to
                                    > > > > > > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it
                                    > can
                                    > > > > > > probably be found in most religious organisations.
                                    > Nietzsche and
                                    > > > > > Jung
                                    > > > > > > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted
                                    > > > something
                                    > > > > > more
                                    > > > > > > genuine than they found in their familial religious
                                    > heritage.
                                    > > > And
                                    > > > > > they
                                    > > > > > > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As
                                    > > > many of
                                    > > > > > > _us_ have also done.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps
                                    > > > Jung as
                                    > > > > > > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian"). Of course
                                    > Nietzsche
                                    > > > > > courts
                                    > > > > > > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and
                                    > evil."
                                    > > > But
                                    > > > > > > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--
                                    > he
                                    > > > just
                                    > > > > > > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are
                                    > > > ones that
                                    > > > > > > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical
                                    > (as he
                                    > > > > > > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive
                                    > its
                                    > > > > > enemies,
                                    > > > > > > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What
                                    > Nietzsche
                                    > > > means
                                    > > > > > > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he
                                    > > > delights
                                    > > > > > > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to
                                    > be a
                                    > > > > > > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes
                                    > him
                                    > > > > > (IMO) a
                                    > > > > > > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or
                                    > about
                                    > > > > > value
                                    > > > > > > at all.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > So the important question that emerges from a
                                    > consideration of
                                    > > > > > > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that
                                    > truly
                                    > > > > > > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it
                                    > > > look
                                    > > > > > > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                                    > > > > > > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But
                                    > > > Nietzsche
                                    > > > > > and
                                    > > > > > > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main
                                    > > > reasons
                                    > > > > > > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                                    > > > > > > understanding of the history of philosophy from
                                    > Schopenhauer,
                                    > > > who
                                    > > > > > > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that
                                    > Hegel
                                    > > > > > wrote,
                                    > > > > > > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical
                                    > > > writings
                                    > > > > > > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get
                                    > the
                                    > > > > > > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken
                                    > human
                                    > > > > > > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-
                                    > part
                                    > > > soul;
                                    > > > > > > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul
                                    > > > was to
                                    > > > > > > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-
                                    > > > > > determining,
                                    > > > > > > or (as we would say) free.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche
                                    > > > and Jung
                                    > > > > > > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary,
                                    > they're
                                    > > > very
                                    > > > > > > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's
                                    > > > genuine,
                                    > > > > > > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper
                                    > > > > > attention
                                    > > > > > > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening
                                    > > > themselves,
                                    > > > > > > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care
                                    > about
                                    > > > > > these
                                    > > > > > > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine
                                    > > > value, and
                                    > > > > > > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could
                                    > learn
                                    > > > a lot
                                    > > > > > > from Jesus on the same subject.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that
                                    > > > Nietzsche,
                                    > > > > > > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are)
                                    > > > pursuing
                                    > > > > > > something quite different from what Plato and his followers
                                    > > > > > pursue, we
                                    > > > > > > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to
                                    > modern
                                    > > > > > > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the
                                    > idea
                                    > > > of
                                    > > > > > > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe)
                                    > show
                                    > > > how
                                    > > > > > > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of
                                    > > > freedom_. We
                                    > > > > > > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of
                                    > > > > > freedom, or
                                    > > > > > > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher
                                    > education
                                    > > > for
                                    > > > > > its
                                    > > > > > > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been
                                    > able
                                    > > > to
                                    > > > > > > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the
                                    > > > > > connection
                                    > > > > > > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme
                                    > > > of the
                                    > > > > > > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's
                                    > > > associated
                                    > > > > > > with "existentialism": the idea that Nietzsche and company
                                    > have
                                    > > > > > > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition
                                    > did not
                                    > > > > > > appreciate.
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > Best, Bob
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > Bob wrote:
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good,
                                    > the
                                    > > > > > clear and
                                    > > > > > > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype
                                    > as
                                    > > > > > bipolar,
                                    > > > > > > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it
                                    > > > earlier
                                    > > > > > (I
                                    > > > > > > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by
                                    > > > > > Nietzsche,
                                    > > > > > > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy
                                    > towards
                                    > > > > > Platonism.
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had
                                    > consciously
                                    > > > > > framed.
                                    > > > > > > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy
                                    > and
                                    > > > in
                                    > > > > > this
                                    > > > > > > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been
                                    > > > thought
                                    > > > > > in
                                    > > > > > > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my
                                    > > > intuitions
                                    > > > > > > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the
                                    > > > thought
                                    > > > > > > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato,
                                    > despite the
                                    > > > > > long-
                                    > > > > > > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were
                                    > > > beautiful
                                    > > > > > and
                                    > > > > > > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote.
                                    > > > Only in
                                    > > > > > > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                                    > > > > > > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the
                                    > > > Aristotelian
                                    > > > > > > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless
                                    > > > than a
                                    > > > > > > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to
                                    > > > come
                                    > > > > > out
                                    > > > > > > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted
                                    > and
                                    > > > do
                                    > > > > > not
                                    > > > > > > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to
                                    > themselves,
                                    > > > > > > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                                    > > > > > > > experience.' "
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation
                                    > is
                                    > > > that
                                    > > > > > > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths
                                    > > > evident
                                    > > > > > > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St.
                                    > > > Thomas's
                                    > > > > > > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them
                                    > were
                                    > > > > > > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at
                                    > > > least
                                    > > > > > > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or
                                    > > > search
                                    > > > > > > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                                    > mere
                                    > > > > > > > abstractions.
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight
                                    > > > > > associated
                                    > > > > > > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his
                                    > own. His
                                    > > > > > system
                                    > > > > > > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled
                                    > Lutheran
                                    > > > > > > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital
                                    > > > affairs --
                                    > > > > > and
                                    > > > > > > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional,
                                    > > > antimonian
                                    > > > > > > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such
                                    > activities.
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which
                                    > > > > > should be
                                    > > > > > > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be
                                    > > > approached
                                    > > > > > > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung
                                    > has a
                                    > > > knack
                                    > > > > > > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and
                                    > eventually too
                                    > > > > > far.
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He
                                    > > > promotes
                                    > > > > > > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism,
                                    > > > which
                                    > > > > > he
                                    > > > > > > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious
                                    > mythos" of
                                    > > > > > > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least
                                    > as a
                                    > > > > > > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of
                                    > superiority
                                    > > > > > > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > > John Uebersax
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > Robert Wallace
                                    > > > > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism;
                                    > The
                                    > > > God of
                                    > > > > > > Freedom)
                                    > > > > > > email: bob@
                                    > > > > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    > > > > > >
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > Robert Wallace
                                    > > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The
                                    > God of
                                    > > > > Freedom)
                                    > > > > email: bob@
                                    > > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > >
                                    > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    > > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > > >
                                    > >
                                    > > Robert Wallace
                                    > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                    > > Freedom)
                                    > > email: bob@...
                                    > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >

                                    Robert Wallace
                                    website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                    Freedom)
                                    email: bob@...
                                    phone: 414-617-3914









                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • harveycmd
                                    Bob, As I interpret Hegel, God is the eternal process of negative excitation which produces the cosmos. God as the whole is the form of becoming and is in this
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
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                                      Bob,

                                      As I interpret Hegel, God is the eternal process of negative excitation which produces the cosmos. God as the whole is the form of becoming and is in this sense unchanging, but the content within the form is nothing but change as such. Human cognition is the means by which God as whole sees himself through the parts of the world as the identity-within-difference of himself and world. Thus the goal or end of the process is God's self-knowledge actualized through human cognition. This is Hegel's version of Plato's and Plontinus's divine assimilation. The process of divine emanation is therefore necessary, yes, but for Hegel God as absolute is both changed and unchanged, containing as it does both the finite and infinite. Hegel's God as absolute is impersonal, like Plato's and Plotinus's One, but it participates in finite being in a way that Plato's and Plotinus's One does not. There simply is no doctrine of ideas in Hegel as unchanging or even stabilized being. In Hegel being is identified with becoming and only the form of the whole as such remains unchanged.

                                      I have not taught Hegel or anyone else for that matter because I am not in the academy. As you noted, the contemporary analytic interest in Hegel is unfortunately anti-metaphysical, and therefore fails to take seriously Hegel's metaphysical Platonism, which is precisely the part of Hegel's thought that could do most to solve the epistemic conundrums analytic philosophy works itself into. Most contemporary continental thought is of course in the same boat. I have found those sympathetic to continental thought somewhat open to the dramatic interpretation of Plato delineated by the Benardete, Rosen, Miller, etc., but this interpretation of Plato seems to be off-putting to those invested in the pure doctrines approach. Unfortunately, students inherit the academic investments of their mentors and the vicious cycle perpetuates itself. I sympathasize with your attempts to move the discussion outside of this tired tendency.

                                      best,
                                      harveycmd

                                      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Dear harveycmd,
                                      >
                                      > When you say that Hegel differs from orthodox Platonism and
                                      > Neoplatonism by "admitting change in the absolute," you may be
                                      > overlooking Plotinus's notion that emanation is necessary, because (as
                                      > Plato stated) the divine cannot be "jealous." If emanation is
                                      > necessary, then it seems that the world of change has a necessary role
                                      > to play in relation to the "One." And if Plotinus here is correctly
                                      > interpreting Plato's Timaeus, then Plato himself may have moderated
                                      > the apparently sharp dualism of some of his other pronouncements.
                                      >
                                      > I don't think it's quite right to say that for Hegel, Plato's Good is
                                      > the eternal process of becoming. After all, in order to accomplish
                                      > anything worth mentioning, that process needs to have a goal. The goal
                                      > is (presumably) being. I certainly agree that Hegel's account of
                                      > contradiction, and so forth, is motivated by and a way of expressing
                                      > his metaphysical theology.
                                      >
                                      > Have you taught Hegel's Logic and metaphysics? If so, have you been
                                      > able to make them intelligible to students trained in analytic
                                      > philosophy--or in more recent continental philosophy, for that
                                      > matter? I think that twentieth century philosophy both analytic and
                                      > continental suffers from its failure to understand the Platonic
                                      > tradition, including Plotinus, Hegel and Whitehead. We need to be able
                                      > to explain Hegel in particular, because of his articulate response
                                      > both to empiricism and to Kant, both of which are widely familiar and
                                      > influential. But spelling out the nature of that response is a
                                      > challenging task. If it's a task that you have addressed yourself to,
                                      > I'd be curious to hear what success you have had in it.
                                      >
                                      > Best, Bob
                                      >
                                      > On Mar 15, 2009, at 5:28 PM, harveycmd wrote:
                                      >
                                      > > Bob,
                                      > >
                                      > > In my view Kant gets himself into trouble because he wants to prove
                                      > > discursively the reality of the determinate world of Newtonian
                                      > > physics while at the same time maintaining the world of subjective
                                      > > free will of Enlightenment anthropology. He is unable to prove the
                                      > > existence of human freedom discursively and refuses to accept a form
                                      > > of intellection in line with Platonic and Aristotelian noesis,
                                      > > leaving him with his realm of noumenal freedom as the world of "as
                                      > > if" which cannot be said to actually exist or cause anything to
                                      > > happen in the phenomenal world. Hegel avoids this impass by refusing
                                      > > to presuppose a split between thinking and being that we find in
                                      > > Western modernity, most clearly in Descartes, but also in the
                                      > > British empiricists Hobbes, Locke and Hume.
                                      > >
                                      > > The biggest difference between Hegel and orthodox Platonism and
                                      > > Neoplatonism is that Hegel admits change in the absolute, arguing
                                      > > that the absolute would be limited if it did not contain both the
                                      > > finite and the infinite. If we were to relate this to Plato's Good
                                      > > beyond being, we could say that for Hegel Plato's Good is the
                                      > > eternal process by which being unfolds into the world of becoming
                                      > > out of the negative. Epistemically this is related to his reworking
                                      > > of the law of the excluded middle in relation to identity and
                                      > > contradiction.
                                      > >
                                      > > best,
                                      > > harveycmd
                                      > >
                                      > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@> wrote:
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Dear harveycmd,
                                      > > >
                                      > > > 1. Yes, I do think that much that's described in modern times as
                                      > > "free
                                      > > > will" is in fact not free. And Plato's description of the role of
                                      > > the
                                      > > > search for knowledge of the Good, in unifying the parts of the soul
                                      > > > (Republic books iv-vii), is a description of what's needed in order
                                      > > > for the person to be "one" (443d-e), and thus to be self-
                                      > > determining,
                                      > > > rather than determined by what isn't really herself, as she is if
                                      > > she
                                      > > > merely follows her appetites or her _thumos_ ("ego"). "Cognition" of
                                      > > > this kind enables one to have a will that is one's own, as opposed
                                      > > to
                                      > > > a "will" that isn't really one's own.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > 2. I would probably agree with what you suggest in your second
                                      > > > question, but with the proviso that Kant doesn't _intend_ to
                                      > > describe
                                      > > > a merely "subjectively 'free will.'" Kant's noumenal realm is
                                      > > meant to
                                      > > > be a realm of genuine freedom, not merely "subjective." But Hegel of
                                      > > > course argues that if freedom ("infinity") is restricted to a
                                      > > special
                                      > > > "realm," it isn't fully free (infinite).
                                      > > >
                                      > > > "Absolute knowing" isn't my favorite Hegelian terminology, coming as
                                      > > > it does from the Phenomenology of Spirit. But I guess it will do.
                                      > > For
                                      > > > purposes of analyzing freedom, I prefer Hegel's fully spelled-out
                                      > > > account in the Science of Logic, the Encyclopedia, and the
                                      > > Philosophy
                                      > > > of Right.
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Best, Bob
                                      > > >
                                      > > > On Mar 15, 2009, at 2:42 PM, harveycmd wrote:
                                      > > >
                                      > > > > Bob,
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > Thanks for the clarification. To be sure I understand you
                                      > > correctly,
                                      > > > > please allow me a couple of more questions. Are you saying that
                                      > > the
                                      > > > > modern notion of "free will" is something of a contradiction of
                                      > > > > terms and that real freedom according to Plato consists in the
                                      > > > > proper order of cognition which allows one to, as it were,
                                      > > transcend
                                      > > > > the will? Secondly, would you then say that in Hegel absolute
                                      > > > > knowing consists in the transcendence of subject/object duality of
                                      > > > > purely dianoetic cognition found in Kant's concept of the
                                      > > > > individual, subjectively "free will"?
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > best,
                                      > > > > harveycmd
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@> wrote:
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Dear Harveycmd,
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Very appropriate questions. Your final sentences anticipate my
                                      > > > > answer.
                                      > > > > > The conception of freedom as willfulness is, if you think
                                      > > about it,
                                      > > > > > not a conception of freedom. Because what is this "will," that
                                      > > wants
                                      > > > > > "its own" way? What makes it _my_ will as opposed to something
                                      > > that
                                      > > > > > merely happens in the world (and very likely reflects biological
                                      > > > > > instincts or other externally-ingrained stuff)? If you think
                                      > > about
                                      > > > > > "willful" people, do they seem free? Far from it, I would
                                      > > suggest.
                                      > > > > > They seem driven, by something that they probably haven't
                                      > > examined
                                      > > > > and
                                      > > > > > might well not want to endorse if they could examine it.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > So when Plato projects a "reasoning part" of the soul that is
                                      > > able
                                      > > > > to
                                      > > > > > get some perspective on this behavior and ask whether the person
                                      > > > > as a
                                      > > > > > whole actually benefits from it, I say Amen!! Now there's a
                                      > > > > > possibility that something the person might think of as her
                                      > > genuine
                                      > > > > > self, might emerge. But this question of "benefit" is, of
                                      > > course,
                                      > > > > the
                                      > > > > > question What's truly Good? --the immortal Platonic question.
                                      > > If you
                                      > > > > > aren't asking yourself that question on a regular basis--not
                                      > > as an
                                      > > > > > "academic" question, but as the vital question of how you're
                                      > > going
                                      > > > > to
                                      > > > > > live your life--it's hard to see how you could call yourself
                                      > > truly
                                      > > > > > free. This is why the Republic, which begins with questions
                                      > > about
                                      > > > > > "action" (why act justly toward others)--turns into an
                                      > > investigation
                                      > > > > > of "knowledge" (of the Good). It's not because Plato's really
                                      > > > > > interested in knowledge (contemplation) rather than action, but
                                      > > > > > because no action--whether it's political action or
                                      > > philosophical
                                      > > > > > inquiry--is either rational or free if it's not "examined."
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > It's outrageously sad that Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger
                                      > > were
                                      > > > > able
                                      > > > > > to go through their careers without being effectively confronted
                                      > > > > with
                                      > > > > > this point. Ernst Cassirer in his Davos debate with Heidegger
                                      > > was
                                      > > > > > either too polite or too preoccupied with "epistemology" to make
                                      > > > > this
                                      > > > > > point effectively. Everybody's so _academic_, when what the
                                      > > issue
                                      > > > > > calls for is the kind of vital sense that Plato (for me)
                                      > > conjures up
                                      > > > > > with his debates between Socrates and Callicles and
                                      > > Thrasymachus. In
                                      > > > > > those, you can _see_ who's free and who isn't.
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Best, Bob
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > On Mar 15, 2009, at 10:29 AM, harveycmd wrote:
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > Bob,
                                      > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in
                                      > > Platonism,
                                      > > > > > > Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel).
                                      > > With
                                      > > > > > > this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of
                                      > > freedom is
                                      > > > > > > different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good?
                                      > > In my
                                      > > > > > > view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective
                                      > > > > assertion
                                      > > > > > > not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the
                                      > > Good
                                      > > > > is
                                      > > > > > > firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as
                                      > > purified
                                      > > > > > > theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of
                                      > > freedom
                                      > > > > > > consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure,
                                      > > > > > > Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the
                                      > > Platonic view
                                      > > > > > > of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-
                                      > > > > > > Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than
                                      > > > > one),
                                      > > > > > > take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and
                                      > > associate
                                      > > > > > > freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading
                                      > > modern
                                      > > > > > > lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams Plato's idea of the
                                      > > > > Good
                                      > > > > > > is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the
                                      > > > > > > understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root
                                      > > of
                                      > > > > > > their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more
                                      > > efficacious.
                                      > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > best,
                                      > > > > > > harveycmd
                                      > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@>
                                      > > wrote:
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > Dear John (Uebersax),
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't
                                      > > > > mind
                                      > > > > > > if I
                                      > > > > > > > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative
                                      > > reading--
                                      > > > > both of
                                      > > > > > > > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical
                                      > > > > > > philosophy.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is
                                      > > > > that
                                      > > > > > > > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is
                                      > > lost
                                      > > > > on
                                      > > > > > > Jung
                                      > > > > > > > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a
                                      > > > > > > vision of
                                      > > > > > > > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things
                                      > > > > seemed
                                      > > > > > > > > mere abstractions.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---
                                      > > not
                                      > > > > that I
                                      > > > > > > > > understood him.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents
                                      > > > > but for
                                      > > > > > > > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--
                                      > > that the
                                      > > > > > > > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the
                                      > > > > philosophers
                                      > > > > > > > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics.
                                      > > Speaking for
                                      > > > > > > > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and
                                      > > Plato, to
                                      > > > > > > take
                                      > > > > > > > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi.
                                      > > For
                                      > > > > in
                                      > > > > > > > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all
                                      > > about;
                                      > > > > > > whereas
                                      > > > > > > > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's
                                      > > > > paragraph
                                      > > > > > > > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a
                                      > > search
                                      > > > > for
                                      > > > > > > the
                                      > > > > > > > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a
                                      > > > > search--but
                                      > > > > > > > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                                      > > > > > > > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance
                                      > > from
                                      > > > > > > > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was
                                      > > > > because he
                                      > > > > > > > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it
                                      > > might
                                      > > > > > > well
                                      > > > > > > > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was
                                      > > > > exposed
                                      > > > > > > to
                                      > > > > > > > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he
                                      > > > > > > perceived no
                                      > > > > > > > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth
                                      > > > > remembering
                                      > > > > > > that
                                      > > > > > > > _Nietzsche_'s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't
                                      > > > > mean to
                                      > > > > > > > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it
                                      > > can
                                      > > > > > > > probably be found in most religious organisations.
                                      > > Nietzsche and
                                      > > > > > > Jung
                                      > > > > > > > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted
                                      > > > > something
                                      > > > > > > more
                                      > > > > > > > genuine than they found in their familial religious
                                      > > heritage.
                                      > > > > And
                                      > > > > > > they
                                      > > > > > > > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As
                                      > > > > many of
                                      > > > > > > > _us_ have also done.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps
                                      > > > > Jung as
                                      > > > > > > > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian"). Of course
                                      > > Nietzsche
                                      > > > > > > courts
                                      > > > > > > > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and
                                      > > evil."
                                      > > > > But
                                      > > > > > > > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--
                                      > > he
                                      > > > > just
                                      > > > > > > > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are
                                      > > > > ones that
                                      > > > > > > > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical
                                      > > (as he
                                      > > > > > > > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive
                                      > > its
                                      > > > > > > enemies,
                                      > > > > > > > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What
                                      > > Nietzsche
                                      > > > > means
                                      > > > > > > > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he
                                      > > > > delights
                                      > > > > > > > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to
                                      > > be a
                                      > > > > > > > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes
                                      > > him
                                      > > > > > > (IMO) a
                                      > > > > > > > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or
                                      > > about
                                      > > > > > > value
                                      > > > > > > > at all.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > So the important question that emerges from a
                                      > > consideration of
                                      > > > > > > > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that
                                      > > truly
                                      > > > > > > > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it
                                      > > > > look
                                      > > > > > > > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                                      > > > > > > > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But
                                      > > > > Nietzsche
                                      > > > > > > and
                                      > > > > > > > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main
                                      > > > > reasons
                                      > > > > > > > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                                      > > > > > > > understanding of the history of philosophy from
                                      > > Schopenhauer,
                                      > > > > who
                                      > > > > > > > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that
                                      > > Hegel
                                      > > > > > > wrote,
                                      > > > > > > > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical
                                      > > > > writings
                                      > > > > > > > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get
                                      > > the
                                      > > > > > > > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken
                                      > > human
                                      > > > > > > > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-
                                      > > part
                                      > > > > soul;
                                      > > > > > > > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul
                                      > > > > was to
                                      > > > > > > > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-
                                      > > > > > > determining,
                                      > > > > > > > or (as we would say) free.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche
                                      > > > > and Jung
                                      > > > > > > > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary,
                                      > > they're
                                      > > > > very
                                      > > > > > > > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's
                                      > > > > genuine,
                                      > > > > > > > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper
                                      > > > > > > attention
                                      > > > > > > > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening
                                      > > > > themselves,
                                      > > > > > > > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care
                                      > > about
                                      > > > > > > these
                                      > > > > > > > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine
                                      > > > > value, and
                                      > > > > > > > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could
                                      > > learn
                                      > > > > a lot
                                      > > > > > > > from Jesus on the same subject.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that
                                      > > > > Nietzsche,
                                      > > > > > > > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are)
                                      > > > > pursuing
                                      > > > > > > > something quite different from what Plato and his followers
                                      > > > > > > pursue, we
                                      > > > > > > > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to
                                      > > modern
                                      > > > > > > > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the
                                      > > idea
                                      > > > > of
                                      > > > > > > > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe)
                                      > > show
                                      > > > > how
                                      > > > > > > > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of
                                      > > > > freedom_. We
                                      > > > > > > > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of
                                      > > > > > > freedom, or
                                      > > > > > > > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher
                                      > > education
                                      > > > > for
                                      > > > > > > its
                                      > > > > > > > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been
                                      > > able
                                      > > > > to
                                      > > > > > > > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the
                                      > > > > > > connection
                                      > > > > > > > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme
                                      > > > > of the
                                      > > > > > > > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's
                                      > > > > associated
                                      > > > > > > > with "existentialism": the idea that Nietzsche and company
                                      > > have
                                      > > > > > > > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition
                                      > > did not
                                      > > > > > > > appreciate.
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > Best, Bob
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > Bob wrote:
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good,
                                      > > the
                                      > > > > > > clear and
                                      > > > > > > > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype
                                      > > as
                                      > > > > > > bipolar,
                                      > > > > > > > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it
                                      > > > > earlier
                                      > > > > > > (I
                                      > > > > > > > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by
                                      > > > > > > Nietzsche,
                                      > > > > > > > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy
                                      > > towards
                                      > > > > > > Platonism.
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had
                                      > > consciously
                                      > > > > > > framed.
                                      > > > > > > > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy
                                      > > and
                                      > > > > in
                                      > > > > > > this
                                      > > > > > > > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been
                                      > > > > thought
                                      > > > > > > in
                                      > > > > > > > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my
                                      > > > > intuitions
                                      > > > > > > > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the
                                      > > > > thought
                                      > > > > > > > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato,
                                      > > despite the
                                      > > > > > > long-
                                      > > > > > > > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were
                                      > > > > beautiful
                                      > > > > > > and
                                      > > > > > > > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote.
                                      > > > > Only in
                                      > > > > > > > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                                      > > > > > > > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the
                                      > > > > Aristotelian
                                      > > > > > > > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless
                                      > > > > than a
                                      > > > > > > > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to
                                      > > > > come
                                      > > > > > > out
                                      > > > > > > > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted
                                      > > and
                                      > > > > do
                                      > > > > > > not
                                      > > > > > > > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to
                                      > > themselves,
                                      > > > > > > > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                                      > > > > > > > > experience.' "
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation
                                      > > is
                                      > > > > that
                                      > > > > > > > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths
                                      > > > > evident
                                      > > > > > > > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St.
                                      > > > > Thomas's
                                      > > > > > > > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them
                                      > > were
                                      > > > > > > > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at
                                      > > > > least
                                      > > > > > > > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or
                                      > > > > search
                                      > > > > > > > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                                      > > mere
                                      > > > > > > > > abstractions.
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight
                                      > > > > > > associated
                                      > > > > > > > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his
                                      > > own. His
                                      > > > > > > system
                                      > > > > > > > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled
                                      > > Lutheran
                                      > > > > > > > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital
                                      > > > > affairs --
                                      > > > > > > and
                                      > > > > > > > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional,
                                      > > > > antimonian
                                      > > > > > > > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such
                                      > > activities.
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which
                                      > > > > > > should be
                                      > > > > > > > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be
                                      > > > > approached
                                      > > > > > > > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung
                                      > > has a
                                      > > > > knack
                                      > > > > > > > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and
                                      > > eventually too
                                      > > > > > > far.
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He
                                      > > > > promotes
                                      > > > > > > > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism,
                                      > > > > which
                                      > > > > > > he
                                      > > > > > > > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious
                                      > > mythos" of
                                      > > > > > > > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least
                                      > > as a
                                      > > > > > > > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of
                                      > > superiority
                                      > > > > > > > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > > John Uebersax
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > Robert Wallace
                                      > > > > > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism;
                                      > > The
                                      > > > > God of
                                      > > > > > > > Freedom)
                                      > > > > > > > email: bob@
                                      > > > > > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      > > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > >
                                      > > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > Robert Wallace
                                      > > > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The
                                      > > God of
                                      > > > > > Freedom)
                                      > > > > > email: bob@
                                      > > > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      > > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > > Robert Wallace
                                      > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                      > > > Freedom)
                                      > > > email: bob@
                                      > > > phone: 414-617-3914
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > >
                                      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      > > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      > Robert Wallace
                                      > website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                      > Freedom)
                                      > email: bob@...
                                      > phone: 414-617-3914
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      >
                                    • Thomas Mether
                                      Hello Harvey,   In answer to your question, I refer you to my last paragraph. Plato affirmed self-movers. Aristotle did not. For Aristole, the will is a
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Mar 15, 2009
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        Hello Harvey,
                                         
                                        In answer to your question, I refer you to my last paragraph. Plato affirmed self-movers.
                                        Aristotle did not. For Aristole, the will is a potency externally moved: it is "free-choice" as long as it does not find an overwhelmingly attractive good. If it does, it is externally determined by it to move towards the good and can not do/will otherwise.
                                         
                                        Best,
                                        Thomas

                                        --- On Sun, 3/15/09, c d <harveycmd@...> wrote:

                                        From: c d <harveycmd@...>
                                        Subject: Re: Will and Freedom Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                                        To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                        Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 12:13 PM






                                        Thomas,
                                         
                                        I would agree that the modern concept of will has been strongly influenced by Scotus (and modern epistemology has been strongly influenced by his empirical nominalism). This is perhaps most clearly seen in the anti-Aristotelian theory of the passions developed by Descartes, whose theory of the soul in Meditations makes possible the disembodied thinking substance on which is based the purely discursive and propositional theory of human cognition found in Western modernity. This is in fact the basis of Kant’s separation of thing-in-itself from mere phenomena, despite the current popularity of “dual aspect” interpretations among Kant’s apologists. Hegel’s response to Kant’s thing-in-itself is Platonic-Aristoteli an, i.e. he re-integrates metaphysics and epistemology.
                                         
                                        My question is this: Where is Scotus’ concept of will to be found in Plato? Plato’s doctrine of the soul, notwithstanding differences of emphasis and presentation, is in my view not in the end at odds with that of Aristotle.
                                         
                                        best,
                                        harveycmd

                                        --- On Sun, 3/15/09, Thomas Mether <t_mether@yahoo. com> wrote:

                                        From: Thomas Mether <t_mether@yahoo. com>
                                        Subject: Will and Freedom Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                                        To: neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com
                                        Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 11:43 AM

                                        If you look at the historical origins of our modern concept(s) of the will, you find they have a very old Platonic root in opposition to Aristotle's thought.
                                         
                                        I think the "non-Aristotlian" roots of our modern concept(s) of will have their developmental roots in the Roman Stoics -- Cicero and Seneca -- and Philo of Alexamdria. The next developmental phase draws on Platonist resources in Augustine, Marius Victorinus, and Anselm in the west; the Cappadocians, Maximos the Confessor, and John Damascene in the East (and through Franciscan contact with the Byzantine East, some portion of these eastern concepts get imported into Franciscan Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard -- Bonaventure is using these imported concepts).
                                         
                                        The next big step is Duns Scotus. Scotus challenges the idea that the Good, if fully and completely known, exerts sort of a "fatal attraction" so that the full contemplative infusion of the vision of the Good both creates the will and fully determines the fully actualized will into this "fatal attraction". In terms of the first idea, humans have free-choice but no real will as one passion after another becomes the choice of the moment or we choice one good over another and over our impulses in a process of developing virtues as lasting dispositions or habits of free choice. In terms of the second idea, the potency for will is only fully actualized when it has a full vision of the good. Since this actualization of will is also the process of giving its potency (as conative matter) its fully determinate form (as conative form), the will is not free but is fully determined as a conation towards the good. Part of the basis of this view was to see the will
                                        as an appetite. Scotus challenges this "fatal attraction" view that he finds even in Aquinas. He posits will as a rational potency (not an appetite) that always, in whatever action, retains the power to have done otherwise. As such, in relation to the good, it is no longer "fatal attraction" but a repeated freely willed choice/commitment; yet, the will retains the power even in relation to the good, to have done and to do otherwise. Satan is his prime example that what I'm dubbing the "fatal attraction" view of will is false. It is the mainly the Scotist view of the will the modern era has inherited via the later Franciscan tradition through the Radical Reformation and Boehme (one route) to Kant and on....
                                         
                                        Scotus's re-working of the concept of the will, he realized, had metaphysical implications
                                        that put him in the Platonist camp as opposed to the Aristotelian camp. The Aristotelian camp held to a metaphysical principle that shaped its concept of will. According to this camp, for all things, even the will, quidquid movetur ab alio movetur or whatever is moved is moved by another (the ultimate unmoved mover being, eventually, the Good). Scotus criticizes this principle and resurrects the Platonist notion that there can be self-movers. The soul and will are self-moving. 
                                         
                                        Thomas Mether

                                        --- On Sun, 3/15/09, harveycmd <harveycmd@yahoo. com> wrote:

                                        From: harveycmd <harveycmd@yahoo. com>
                                        Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                                        To: neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com
                                        Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 10:29 AM

                                        Bob,

                                        I have enjoyed this thread, being myself interested in Platonism, Neoplatonism and post-Kantian Idealism (specifically Hegel). With this in mind, is it not true that the modern concept of freedom is different in important ways from Plato's notion of the Good? In my view, the modern idea of freedom has an air of subjective assertion not found in Platonism or Neoplatonism. Plato's idea of the Good is firmly attached to a model of knowledge and cognition as purified theoria and contemplation, whereas the modern notion of freedom consists almost exclusively in the freedom to act. To be sure, Hegel's concept of freedom is probably closer to the Platonic view of the Good on this score, but the existentialists and post-Nietzscheans (Heidegger is problematic here, in more ways than one), take their cue from Kierkegaard rather than Hegel, and associate freedom with a kind of willfulness and action. Thus leading modern lovers of "freedom" to see in their dreams
                                        Plato's idea of the Good is a bit misleading, unless perhaps it is done with the understanding that their idea of a cure is actually the root of their sickness, and that Platonic soteriology is more efficacious.

                                        best,
                                        harveycmd

                                        --- In neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Dear John (Uebersax),
                                        >
                                        > Your comments on Jung are very interesting. I hope you won't mind if I
                                        > take them very seriously, and sketch an alternative reading--both of
                                        > Jung and of Nietzsche, in their relationship to classical philosophy.
                                        >
                                        > Based on the autobiographical paragraph, you say that
                                        >
                                        > > while St. Thomas's arguments are complex, a common view is that
                                        > > behind them were genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung
                                        > > (or at least Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of
                                        > > or search for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed
                                        > > mere abstractions.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > But Jung said in the same paragraph that
                                        >
                                        > > Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                                        > > understood him.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Isn't this the common experience, not only among adolescents but for
                                        > many adults who feel an interest in spiritual matters--that the
                                        > overtly mystical writers speak to us in a way that the philosophers
                                        > don't? We feel "the breath of life" in the mystics. Speaking for
                                        > myself, if I had to choose between Jelaluddin Rumi and Plato, to take
                                        > with me to a desert island, I would undoubtedly take Rumi. For in
                                        > Rumi's writings I can continually _feel_ what it's all about; whereas
                                        > in Plato's, I get (primarily) intellectual glimpses.
                                        >
                                        > So I would suggest that one can hardly infer from Jung's paragraph
                                        > that in his youth, he "was not guided by a vision or a search for the
                                        > Good." I suspect that he was very much guided by such a search--but
                                        > mainly on a "gut" or a "spirit" level (the "breath" of life,
                                        > indeed!!), rather than an intellectual one.
                                        >
                                        > It's certainly true, as you say, that Jung kept a distance from
                                        > traditional religion. But I doubt very much that this was because he
                                        > "lacked a vision or search for the Good." I would guess it might well
                                        > have been because, in the traditional religion that he was exposed to
                                        > (e.g., in the person of his father, as you point out), he perceived no
                                        > credible vision of or search for the Good! It's worth remembering that
                                        > _Nietzsche_' s father also was a Lutheran minister! I don't mean to
                                        > pin the label of "spiritlessness" on Lutheranism alone; it can
                                        > probably be found in most religious organisations. Nietzsche and Jung
                                        > and Hermann Hesse and Martin Heidegger (ugh) all wanted something more
                                        > genuine than they found in their familial religious heritage. And they
                                        > went to some pretty far-flung places in order to find it. As many of
                                        > _us_ have also done.
                                        >
                                        > You seem to suggest, by contrast, that Nietzsche and perhaps Jung as
                                        > well are simply amoralists ("antinomian" ). Of course Nietzsche courts
                                        > this reputation by talking about going "beyond good and evil." But
                                        > it's clear that Nietzsche cares a great deal about values--he just
                                        > wants to make sure that whatever values he signs on to are ones that
                                        > he himself believes in, and that will not be hypocritical (as he
                                        > accuses Christianity of being--only pretending to forgive its enemies,
                                        > and actually wanting to see them burn in hell). What Nietzsche means
                                        > is: "beyond _conventional_ good and evil." And of course he delights
                                        > in shocking the conventional "bourgeois," by pretending to be a
                                        > bloodthirsty amoralist and elitist. But none of this makes him (IMO) a
                                        > genuine antinomian, who doesn't care about other people or about value
                                        > at all.
                                        >
                                        > So the important question that emerges from a consideration of
                                        > Nietzsche and the young Jung is: if we had an ethics that truly
                                        > reflected _ourselves_, rather than convention, what would it look
                                        > like? As it happens, this is a question that is addressed
                                        > systematically by Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. But Nietzsche and
                                        > his successors don't realize this!! Probably one of the main reasons
                                        > they don't realize it is that they get a large part of their
                                        > understanding of the history of philosophy from Schopenhauer, who
                                        > simply trashed Kant's ethics, along with everything that Hegel wrote,
                                        > and showed no interest in Plato's or Aristotle's ethical writings
                                        > either. This is why the "existentialists" were able to get the
                                        > impression that they were the first thinkers who had taken human
                                        > freedom seriously. Sure, they had heard of Plato's three-part soul;
                                        > but they didn't know that the _point_ of the three-part soul was to
                                        > enable a person to be "one," and thus to be herself, self-determining,
                                        > or (as we would say) free.
                                        >
                                        > I think it would be a great mistake to think that Nietzsche and Jung
                                        > just aren't interested in "the Good." On the contrary, they're very
                                        > interested in value--they just want to make sure that it's genuine,
                                        > not merely conventional value. And if they would pay proper attention
                                        > to their predecessors in philosophy (instead of preening themselves,
                                        > like Schopenhauer, on being the first people ever to care about these
                                        > issues) they could learn a lot about how to find genuine value, and
                                        > what it looks like when you find it. Indeed, they could learn a lot
                                        > from Jesus on the same subject.
                                        >
                                        > Finally: as long as we Platonists seem to _concede_ that Nietzsche,
                                        > Heidegger and Sartre really are (as they believe they are) pursuing
                                        > something quite different from what Plato and his followers pursue, we
                                        > are going to find it very difficult to sell Platonism to modern
                                        > readers. For modern readers, as such, are invested in the idea of
                                        > freedom. So to sell Platonism to them we must (I believe) show how
                                        > Platonism contributes a deeper conception precisely _of freedom_. We
                                        > must explain how the pursuit of "The Good" is a pursuit of freedom, or
                                        > we'll get nowhere. I am grateful to Catholic higher education for its
                                        > emphasis on classical philosophy; but from what I've been able to
                                        > gather, the Catholic tradition tends not to appreciate the connection
                                        > between the modern theme of freedom, and the classical theme of the
                                        > Good, and consequently it feeds the great mistake that's associated
                                        > with "existentialism" : the idea that Nietzsche and company have
                                        > discovered a new key value that the classical tradition did not
                                        > appreciate.
                                        >
                                        > Best, Bob
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > On Mar 14, 2009, at 5:32 AM, John Uebersax wrote:
                                        >
                                        > >
                                        > > Bob wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > > > "In Plato the Ideas are linked to the light, the Good, the clear and
                                        > > > the rational. In contrast Jung describes the archetype as bipolar,
                                        > > > irrational, and beyond good and evil.
                                        > >
                                        > > Yes, I believe this is important. If I didn't mention it earlier (I
                                        > > meant to, but can't see the post), Jung was influenced by Nietzsche,
                                        > > and may have adopted some of the latter's antipathy towards Platonism.
                                        > >
                                        > > Bruce wrote, quoting Jung's autobiography:
                                        > >
                                        > > "I began systematically pursuing questions I had consciously framed.
                                        > > I read a brief introduction to the history of philosophy and in this
                                        > > way gained a bird's eye view of everything that had been thought in
                                        > > this field. I found to my gratification that many of my intuitions
                                        > > had historical analogues. Above all I was attracted to the thought
                                        > > of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Plato, despite the long-
                                        > > windedness of Socratic argumentation. Their ideas were beautiful and
                                        > > academic, like picture in a gallery, but somewhat remote. Only in
                                        > > Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life---not that I
                                        > > understood him. The Schoolmen left me cold, and the Aristotelian
                                        > > intellectualism of St. Thomas appeared to me more lifeless than a
                                        > > desert. I thought, 'They all want me to force something to come out
                                        > > by tricks of logic, something they have not been granted and do not
                                        > > really know about. They want to prove a belief to themselves,
                                        > > whereas actually it is a matter of
                                        > > experience.' "
                                        > >
                                        > > Thanks, this seems a revealing quote. One interpretation is that
                                        > > Jung wasn't able to see or intuit certain religious truths evident
                                        > > to saints and religious mystics. For example, while St. Thomas's
                                        > > arguments are complex, a common view is that behind them were
                                        > > genuine religious experiences. This is lost on Jung (or at least
                                        > > Jung the adolescent). Jung is not guided by a vision of or search
                                        > > for The Good. By his own admission, such things seemed mere
                                        > > abstractions.
                                        > >
                                        > > It's as though, lacking or rejecting the guiding insight associated
                                        > > with traditional religion, Jung sought to create his own. His system
                                        > > is more reminiscent of Gnostic antimonianism.
                                        > >
                                        > > Jung's father, it should be mentioned, was a troubled Lutheran
                                        > > minister who all but abandoned the faith.
                                        > >
                                        > > Jung was reputed to have had issues with extramarital affairs -- and
                                        > > it has been suggested that behind his unconventional, antimonian
                                        > > ethics was an unconscious wish to legitimize such activities.
                                        > >
                                        > > Such issues do not, per se, invalidate his theories, which should be
                                        > > considered on their own merits. But his ideas should be approached
                                        > > with a degree of caution. Like any good heretic, Jung has a knack
                                        > > for drawing in the reader little by little, and eventually too far.
                                        > >
                                        > > In the end Jung is placed in a most curious position. He promotes
                                        > > participation in Christianity, and especially Catholicism, which he
                                        > > sees as an essential and irreplaceable "religious mythos" of
                                        > > Europeans. He sees value in the Catholic mass, at least as a
                                        > > symbolic ritual. And yet he retains an attitude of superiority
                                        > > towards the doctrines and writings of that very tradition.
                                        > >
                                        > > John Uebersax
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        >
                                        > Robert Wallace
                                        > website: www.robertmwallace. com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                        > Freedom)
                                        > email: bob@...
                                        > phone: 414-617-3914
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
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                                        >

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                                      • Robert Wallace
                                        Dear Thomas, I have given some more thought to your very thought-provoking email, and I think I can now speak to it in a more focused way. As you can tell, my
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Mar 17, 2009
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Dear Thomas,

                                          I have given some more thought to your very thought-provoking email,
                                          and I think I can now speak to it in a more focused way. As you can
                                          tell, my knowledge of these texts is far from encyclopedic, so if you
                                          can correct me I'll be grateful.

                                          The question is, do we care about being "able to do otherwise," or (on
                                          the other hand) do we care about acting in a way that _reflects
                                          ourselves_, rather than things outside us? It seems to me that both
                                          Aristotle and Plato focus primarily on the latter. It's what Plato's
                                          tripartite soul seems to be about; and it's what Aristotle's
                                          conception of practical reasoning aimed at eudaimonia seems to be
                                          about. Plato does indeed talk of the soul as self-moving (especially
                                          in Phaedrus [245] and Laws X [895]); but his concern in these passages
                                          doesn't seem to be about the soul's being "able to do otherwise," but
                                          about its immortality and its being an integrated whole which indeed
                                          can be reflected in the person's actions. Looking back with the
                                          concerns of later authors in mind, we can easily suppose that Plato
                                          might have had in the back of his mind something like the person's
                                          ability to do otherwise. But I see nothing in the texts that requires
                                          that sort of interpretation.

                                          And it seems important to hold open the possibility that Plato had
                                          something quite different in mind, since not all later thinkers who
                                          sympathize with Plato consider it important that we should be "able to
                                          do otherwise." It's not (in fact) obvious that in order to act in a
                                          way that reflects ourselves, we must be able to do otherwise than we do.

                                          It seems that Alexander of Aphrodisias (ca. 200 AD), Aristotle's
                                          "commentator," was the first philosopher to maintain explicitly that a
                                          responsible agent must be able to act otherwise, in his _On Fate_. He
                                          was responding to the Stoics' emphasis on universal determinism. I see
                                          no mention of an influence of Plato on Alexander (whom I don't know
                                          first-hand). Your description of Duns Scotus makes Scotus sound like
                                          an intellectual descendent of Alexander.

                                          In modern times, Kant is of course concerned about determinism and
                                          attracted to the idea of being "able to do otherwise." So is Thomas
                                          Reid. But Hegel seems to suggest, in keeping with Plato and Aristotle
                                          as I interpret them, that the important question is not whether one
                                          can do otherwise, but whether one's action truly reflects oneself.

                                          You mentioned, correctly of course, that Plato was a major influence
                                          on the Greek fathers of the church and on St Augustine. Is there any
                                          reason to think that the fathers were influenced specifically by the
                                          idea of the soul as "self-mover," and that they interpreted this as
                                          implying the soul's ability to do otherwise?

                                          Certainly Augustine does emphasize the ability to do otherwise, in De
                                          libero arbitrio. But does he get this idea from Plato's idea of the
                                          self-mover? Augustine introduces the idea specifically in order to
                                          exonerate God from responsibility for the evils that humans do. Plato,
                                          as far as I can see, never uses the "self-moving soul" in that way.
                                          Plato's theodicy in the Timaeus treats the soul in some detail but
                                          doesn't describe it as self-moving (still less, of course, as "able to
                                          do otherwise"). Instead, it explains evil by the "wandering cause" and
                                          the general inability of matter to measure up to the Forms. In
                                          Plato's other theodicy in Laws X, the importance of self-movingness is
                                          that it gives the gods (as souls) their authority over the material
                                          universe. Plato describes evil here (in passing) in a rather
                                          Manichaean manner as the product of a second _kind_ of "soul" (896e),
                                          rather than as the product of a free choice by soul as such. (The anti-
                                          Manichaean Augustine obviously doesn't draw on _this_ idea.)

                                          Certainly Augustine in De libero arbitrio does draw heavily on
                                          Platonic thinking, but he does so not in the theodicy portion of the
                                          essay but in his explanation of why we're free when we're guided by
                                          the truth (which is God) and not merely by "ourselves." Here we might
                                          think his ultimate source is Republic iv-vii.

                                          So I see no indication that Augustine's "ability to do otherwise" idea
                                          is foreshadowed in Plato. Nor am I aware of any talk of an "ability to
                                          do otherwise" in Plotinus or Porphyry, the Platonists by whom
                                          Augustine was directly influenced. So I see no reason to think that
                                          Augustine's interest in our ability to do otherwise is something in
                                          which he was encouraged by Plato or by Platonists. Perhaps you can
                                          give evidence that it was, nevertheless, encouraged by them, or that
                                          other fathers of the church, in the west or the east, were encouraged
                                          by them in this specific kind of thinking. I would obviously welcome
                                          comments from anyone else who's interested in these issues, as well.

                                          Best, Bob


                                          On Mar 15, 2009, at 10:50 PM, Thomas Mether wrote:

                                          > Hello Harvey,
                                          >
                                          > In answer to your question, I refer you to my last paragraph. Plato
                                          > affirmed self-movers.
                                          > Aristotle did not. For Aristole, the will is a potency externally
                                          > moved: it is "free-choice" as long as it does not find an
                                          > overwhelmingly attractive good. If it does, it is externally
                                          > determined by it to move towards the good and can not do/will
                                          > otherwise.
                                          >
                                          > Best,
                                          > Thomas
                                          >
                                          > --- On Sun, 3/15/09, c d <harveycmd@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > From: c d <harveycmd@...>
                                          > Subject: Re: Will and Freedom Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the
                                          > Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                                          > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                                          > Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 12:13 PM
                                          >
                                          > Thomas,
                                          >
                                          > I would agree that the modern concept of will has been strongly
                                          > influenced by Scotus (and modern epistemology has been strongly
                                          > influenced by his empirical nominalism). This is perhaps most
                                          > clearly seen in the anti-Aristotelian theory of the passions
                                          > developed by Descartes, whose theory of the soul in Meditations
                                          > makes possible the disembodied thinking substance on which is based
                                          > the purely discursive and propositional theory of human cognition
                                          > found in Western modernity. This is in fact the basis of Kant�s
                                          > separation of thing-in-itself from mere phenomena, despite the
                                          > current popularity of �dual aspect� interpretations among Kant�s
                                          > apologists. Hegel�s response to Kant�s thing-in-itself is Platonic-
                                          > Aristoteli an, i.e. he re-integrates metaphysics and epistemology.
                                          >
                                          > My question is this: Where is Scotus� concept of will to be found in
                                          > Plato? Plato�s doctrine of the soul, notwithstanding differences of
                                          > emphasis and presentation, is in my view not in the end at odds with
                                          > that of Aristotle.
                                          >
                                          > best,
                                          > harveycmd
                                          >
                                          > --- On Sun, 3/15/09, Thomas Mether <t_mether@yahoo. com> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > From: Thomas Mether <t_mether@yahoo. com>
                                          > Subject: Will and Freedom Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Freedom and the
                                          > Good (was: Jung and Plato)
                                          > To: neoplatonism@ yahoogroups. com
                                          > Date: Sunday, March 15, 2009, 11:43 AM
                                          >
                                          > If you look at the historical origins of our modern concept(s) of
                                          > the will, you find they have a very old Platonic root in opposition
                                          > to Aristotle's thought.
                                          >
                                          > I think the "non-Aristotlian" roots of our modern concept(s) of will
                                          > have their developmental roots in the Roman Stoics -- Cicero and
                                          > Seneca -- and Philo of Alexamdria. The next developmental phase
                                          > draws on Platonist resources in Augustine, Marius Victorinus, and
                                          > Anselm in the west; the Cappadocians, Maximos the Confessor, and
                                          > John Damascene in the East (and through Franciscan contact with the
                                          > Byzantine East, some portion of these eastern concepts get imported
                                          > into Franciscan Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard --
                                          > Bonaventure is using these imported concepts).
                                          >
                                          > The next big step is Duns Scotus. Scotus challenges the idea that
                                          > the Good, if fully and completely known, exerts sort of a "fatal
                                          > attraction" so that the full contemplative infusion of the vision of
                                          > the Good both creates the will and fully determines the fully
                                          > actualized will into this "fatal attraction". In terms of the first
                                          > idea, humans have free-choice but no real will as one passion after
                                          > another becomes the choice of the moment or we choice one good over
                                          > another and over our impulses in a process of developing virtues as
                                          > lasting dispositions or habits of free choice. In terms of the
                                          > second idea, the potency for will is only fully actualized when it
                                          > has a full vision of the good. Since this actualization of will is
                                          > also the process of giving its potency (as conative matter) its
                                          > fully determinate form (as conative form), the will is not free but
                                          > is fully determined as a conation towards the good. Part of the
                                          > basis of this view was to see the will
                                          > as an appetite. Scotus challenges this "fatal attraction" view that
                                          > he finds even in Aquinas. He posits will as a rational potency (not
                                          > an appetite) that always, in whatever action, retains the power to
                                          > have done otherwise. As such, in relation to the good, it is no
                                          > longer "fatal attraction" but a repeated freely willed choice/
                                          > commitment; yet, the will retains the power even in relation to the
                                          > good, to have done and to do otherwise. Satan is his prime example
                                          > that what I'm dubbing the "fatal attraction" view of will is false.
                                          > It is the mainly the Scotist view of the will the modern era has
                                          > inherited via the later Franciscan tradition through the Radical
                                          > Reformation and Boehme (one route) to Kant and on....
                                          >
                                          > Scotus's re-working of the concept of the will, he realized, had
                                          > metaphysical implications
                                          > that put him in the Platonist camp as opposed to the Aristotelian
                                          > camp. The Aristotelian camp held to a metaphysical principle that
                                          > shaped its concept of will. According to this camp, for all things,
                                          > even the will, quidquid movetur ab alio movetur or whatever is moved
                                          > is moved by another (the ultimate unmoved mover being, eventually,
                                          > the Good). Scotus criticizes this principle and resurrects the
                                          > Platonist notion that there can be self-movers. The soul and will
                                          > are self-moving.
                                          >
                                          > Thomas Mether
                                          >
                                          > _._,___

                                          Robert Wallace
                                          website: www.robertmwallace.com (Philosophical Mysticism; The God of
                                          Freedom)
                                          email: bob@...
                                          phone: 414-617-3914









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