Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Insights on the Good Life of Aristotle and Adler

I've spent the afternoon in the state library reading Mortimer Adler's book 'Aristotle For Everybody'. I'm pretty excited about my reading: it demonstrates to me that I've discovered some new knowledge, something new under the sun.

Here's how: I informed Aristotle and Adler's views on the ethical and good life with the philosophical views of Vedanta, the teachings on skillful means in the Dhamma-Vinyana, and the basic view of not-self (Buddhist) or the non-linear Self (Hindu). The result is something new and pleasing, and to my mind a more accurate description of the constituents of the good life heretofore created. Sadly, it is not appropriate to go into it here. But I do love this stuff!

I also read two books on autodidacticism. From Adler's book on the topic (very slight!) I picked the following fruit: poetry and philosophy are the two transcendent Goods of life, because one has to do with making things to the ultimate degree (that is, poetry makes meaning), and the other has to do with knowing to the ultimate degree (that is, philosophy answers all valid questions, and refutes all invalid or pseudo-philosophical questions). Marvellous insight!

I found nothing new in Adler's 'Ten Philosophical Mistakes' beyond a moment of existential vertigo at reading the summary of the first philosophical error - the notion that the stuff of mind is a representation of mind, and mind is not accessible to consciousness. This staggered me for a second: I cannot know my own mind!

Then I remembered Freud, and Proust, and Jung, and I understood the need for this indirection, and the possibility of direct knowledge nevertheless through poetic means.

I learnt today that philosophy cannot disclose direct experience, but poetry can. Thus the great sages like Freud and Proust and Jung are best read as poet-shamans, conducing one into a realm which if not for their assistance would remain inaccessible - that is, into one's own self.

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