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PTCOLIM

 

London Evening Sessions:

The Examined Life

 

"The unexamined life is not lived." – Socrates, The Apology.

Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London, NW1 7AY

The Prometheus Trust runs regular meetings in London. We meet at Cecil Sharp House fortnightly on Monday evenings, from 7.30 to 9.15 – but with time after this for more informal chats, if so desired. 

These evenings include short talks and/or readings from Platonic writings – but we hope they will be genuinely interactive, with all participants invited to contribute to our collaborative search for truth. No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Admission is free, but we do encourage those who are able to donate between 3 and 5 in order to cover our costs.

Most of these evenings are self-contained and every effort is made to make them accessible to the newcomer, while allowing the great profundity of the Platonic tradition to step forward and speak to us at whatever level our present understanding sits. Some of these sessions are coupled together, in order to give us the space to examine more fully particular texts and themes, but even here we will ensure that if those attending have missed the first of the two sessions a recap of what has gone before will help all participants to pick up the main threads of the theme.

We will make available (as a PDF download) the text we are studying, well before the date of the meeting. .

The Trust has run similar activities for some 18 years, and in our experience they allow the most profound questions concerning human life, the nature of reality, and our interactions, to be explored at once both seriously and with good cheer. Our aim is to provide a forum for honest and straight-forward enquiry, but which is unafraid to explore inward-moving paths too often neglected by modern schools of thought.

We also run similar sesions in Bristol fortnightly on Wednesday evenings: click here for details.

Upcoming sessions:

21st January: Platonic Letters on the Philosophic Life

Amongst the collection of dialogues by Plato there are 12 or 13 letters which claim to be by him: modern scholarship is undecided whether these are genuine or not, but they are close enough in spirit to the dialogues to be worth exploring. Fine Platonists such as Plotinus and Proclus quoted from several of the letters, and so the evening’s discussion will centre on those which the ancient world took as being from Plato. The second and seventh letters are especially interesting as they explore the practicalities of the philosophic life: how are we to approach the mystery which lies at the heart of reality? How do we arrive at knowledge, and what is the relationship between knowledge and the objects of knowledge? What are the demands of philosophy as regards the kind of life we live? Download the text: Letters on the Philosophic Life

4th February: Philosophy and Creativity

“But to what shall I compare the visions of a philosopher? to a clear dream by Zeus, circularly borne along in all directions; in which, indeed, the body does not move, but the soul travels round the whole earth, from earth ascends to heaven, passes over every sea, flies through every region of the air, runs in conjunction with the sun, revolves with the moon, is carried round with the choir of the other stars, and nearly governs and arranges the universe, in conjunction with Zeus! O blessed journey, beautiful visions, and true dreams!” - Maximus of Tyre

In the Platonic tradition Zeus is the great creator, calling into being the whole manifested Cosmos by his contemplation of the living paradigm which resides in the eternal and ideal world - as described by Plato in the Timaeus. So the claim by Maximus that the inspired soul “nearly governs and arranges the universe in conjunction with Zeus” is no small matter. For Plato the key to creativity requires us to discover the divine element of human nature - an element which gives us access to the various forms of inspiration which descend from the heavens. As Socrates says in the Phaedrus: “But there is a possession and inspiration descending from the Muses, which receiving a soul tender and solitary, rouses and agitates it with Bacchic fury, according to odes and other species of poetry. . . But he who approaches to the poetic gates without the mania of the Muses, persuading himself that he can become a poet, in a manner perfectly sufficient from art alone, will, both as to himself and his poetry, be imperfect; since the poetry which is produced by prudence vanishes before that which is the progeny of inspiration.” An important step in the philosopher’s art is, then, to step beyond the ordinary rational consciousness so that the reason is coloured by a brighter light: we will explore some of the insights of the various Platonic writers as they relate their own experiences of this.

Download the text:

Programme 2019

 

The following is a draft syllabus for 2018: descriptions and downloadable text will be available as each date approaches.

Subject [and text]

Presenter

File download

21 Jan

Platonic Letters on the Philosophic Life NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

Letters on the Philosophic Life

4 Feb

On Philosophy and Creativity NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

 

18 Feb

On Freewill  NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

 

4 Mar

The Phaerus and the power of Eros NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

 

18 Mar

A Platonic look at the Iliad      NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

 

15 Apr

Ideas in Plato and his tradition

Tim Addey

 

29 Apr

Porphyry and the philosophic death

Miranda Addey

 

20 May

Plotinus on the Beautiful 1

Peter Lyle

 

3 Jun

Plotinus on the Beautiful 2

Peter Lyle

 

17 Jun

The Good and the transcendent Sun

Miranda Addey

 

1 Jul

Philosophy and truth

Tim Addey

 

15 Jul

Iamblichus

Crystal Addey

 

29 Jul

Philosophy and mystical initation

Tim Addey

 

5 Aug

Philosophy as an oral tradition

Tim Addey

 

19 Aug

Women in philosophy

Crystal Addey

 

23 Sep

The journey of the Soul in the Platonic tradtion

Tim Addey

 

7 Oct

A Platonic look at the Odyssey 1

Tim Addey

 

21 Oct

A Platonic look at the Odyssey 2

Tim Addey

 

4 Nov

The Apology of Socrates 1

Tim Addey

 

18 Nov

The Apology of Socrates 2

Tim Addey

 

2 Dec

Apuleius’ Platonic tale of Cupid and Psyche

Tim Addey

 

16 Dec

First Steps in dialectic

Tim Addey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above syllabus is very much a draft and subject to revision as we go along.  We have highlighted in red dates when the normal fortnightly pattern is disrupted.

 

 

An outline of our approach

The Prometheus Trust, a registered educational charity, exists to encourage, promote and assist the flowering of philosophy as the living love of wisdom. It aims especially at re-introducing philosophy as a transformative activity – one that gradually draws into activity all that is best in the human self, so that both the inner and outer life are directed towards that which is truly good, rather than that that which only appears to be good. "Beatific contemplation does not consist of the accumulation of arguments or a storehouse of learned knowledge, but in us theory must become nature and life itself." - Porphyry, 3rd century AD.

The starting point for our studies and reflections is the writings of the Platonic tradition but we rely on the affirmation that every man and woman has within him or herself a connection to all the great truths which underlie reality: our joint discussions are aimed at bringing forth and into focus these truths, which otherwise might remain more or less obscured by the complexities of life. The Trust looks to follow the Platonic tradition's general approach - that merely because Plato or any of the other renowned thinkers inside or outside the Platonic tradition have asserted something we should not simply accept it but, rather, seek to see for ourselves whether or not (and in what way) any particular affirmation is true.

We hope to explore the ways of wisdom in a spirit of friendship and co-operation with anyone who is excited by the possibilities of philosophy: previous experience of philosophy or great cleverness are not required – just an interest in discovering the truth and a willingness to look beyond the appearance of things. By this means we may, perhaps, begin with words but journey to some understanding beyond words: as Plato wrote, "For a thing of this kind cannot be expressed by words like other disciplines, but by long familiarity, and living in conjunction with the thing itself, a light as it were leaping from a fire will on a sudden be enkindled in the soul, and there itself nourish itself."

For further details, email education@prometheustrust.co.uk

Venue: Cecil Sharp House
2 Regent’s Park Road
London
NW1 7AY                Google maps link

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“Essentials of the Philosophy of Plato and his Tradition”

- a ten week introductory course January 21st - March 25th 2019
 

Click here for details

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