According to the traditional Athenian calendar, today is the festival of Demokratia. In honor of that, I’ll share some casual reflections that I wrote for a public symposium, held last year, quite by chance, on this lunar date. I copy those remarks here, unchanged from what I wrote (for a very different audience) in 2019.Continue reading “Kala Demokratia! (With Thoughts from Plato)”
It is sometimes claimed that obedience, toward both Gods and humans, is a virtue. That seems wrong to me, and I’d like to explore the reasons why. As usual, I’m trying to develop my own understanding by thinking out in public in this forum, and I eagerly welcome respectful criticisms, objections, questions, and suggestions which might help me further my thinking on the issue.Continue reading “Is Obedience a Virtue?”
In the opening pages of book 2 of his commentary on the Timaeus, Proclus offers a discussion of prayer, that I’ve found helpful for refining my understanding.
As we might expect from Proclus, the discussion revolves around the doctrines of procession and reversion. The key principle is that everything that has being proceeds directly (i.e., in an unmediated way) from the Gods, and everything attains its proper excellence or completion when it reverts back upon its causes, which are the Gods. In prayer, we help to accomplish this reversion, both for ourselves and for the lower things in the cosmos, elevating ourselves (as the ones praying) and those things for which we pray.Continue reading “Reading Proclus on Prayer”
The Orphic Hymn to Apollon, which features regularly in my devotional practice, contains the beautiful line, “Hear me with kindly heart as I pray for people.” Offering this hymn to Apollon, then, presumes that I am in fact praying for people. But how to navigate the ethical complexities of prayer for others?Continue reading “Prayer and Providence”
In §17 of the De Malorum Subsistentia (“On the Existence of Evils”), Proclus explains why there is no evil in the daimones. Here, Proclus is working his way down the metaphysical hierarchy, from the Gods, through angeloi, daimones, heroes, various classes of souls, and finally to matter, looking to see at what point evil could possibly enter into things.Continue reading “Proclus: The Goodness of the Daimones”