"The unexamined life is not lived." – Socrates, The Apology.
Cecil Sharp House, Regents Park Road, London NW1 7AY
The Prometheus Trust runs regular monthly meetings in London. We meet at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road, London NW1 7AY (5 to 10 minutes walk from Camden Town Tube) from 6.30 to 8pm – 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 every month on Monday evenings (usually on the penultimate Monday): click here for details.
Upcoming sessions for 2023:
27th November: The Republic’s story of the Cave
Many are familiar with Plato’s story known as “The Cave”, told by Socrates in the seventh book of the Republic in order to explain his view of reality, and the common failure of humankind to understand both it and our cognitive powers which we use to address the various levels of reality.
But although the outline of the story and its basic theme is relatively easy to ascertain, there are many insights offered to the careful reader: our session is a chance to read the story and discuss its subtleties and hidden implications.
Paper: to follow: Cave with intro
The following is a draft syllabus for 2022/23: descriptions and downloadable text will be available as each date approaches.
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 email@example.com
Cecil Sharp House,
2 Regents Park Road, London,
(From Camden Town tube, walk westward along Parkway, towards Regent’s Park and turn right along Gloucester Avenue at the secod set of lights: the venue of about 200m ahead.)