Progressive vs Platonic Education.

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Nick_A
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Re: Progressive vs Platonic Education.

Post by Nick_A »

Belinda, there are many fine people in the cave. They can show sympathy and feel empathy. Yet they are in the cave. The first step in freedom from the cave is realizing you are in it and not just filled with opinions. The Ship of Fools allegory is from book V1 of Plato's Republic. Notice that the crew are unaware of what I call the North Star so lack sense of direction leading to freedom from the cave.

Before being able to teach freedom from the cave a person must have experienced it. Without it the result is the blind teaching the blind. Here is the allegory. It refers not only to the nature of society but also to our own personal psychology.
Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarreling with one another about the steering -- every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary.

They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain's senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly kaids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain's hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer's art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?
The one who knows must be eliminated to satisfy the world of opinions. This is the human condition. What kind of education teaches what we are, our lives in Plato's cave, and what is necessary for freedom for those who are drawn to the experience of truth rather than inevitable destruction?
Belinda
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Re: Progressive vs Platonic Education.

Post by Belinda »

Nick wrote
What kind of education teaches what we are, our lives in Plato's cave, and what is necessary for freedom for those who are drawn to the experience of truth rather than inevitable destruction?
Socratic education based on the impossibility of certainty. Humility is our only guard against all of the crew's being fools.
Nick_A
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Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:23 am

Re: Progressive vs Platonic Education.

Post by Nick_A »

Belinda wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:16 pm Nick wrote
What kind of education teaches what we are, our lives in Plato's cave, and what is necessary for freedom for those who are drawn to the experience of truth rather than inevitable destruction?
Socratic education based on the impossibility of certainty. Humility is our only guard against all of the crew's being fools.
I agree. But suppose we are fools also? The beginning of humility is the recognition of what Socrates learned: I know nothing. From Plato's Apology:
A good friend of Socrates, once asked the Oracle at Delphi “is anyone wiser than Socrates?”
The Oracle answered “No one.”

This greatly puzzled Socrates, since he claimed to possess no secret information or wise insight. As far as Socrates was concerned, he was the most ignorant man in the land.

Socrates was determined to prove the Oracle wrong. He toured Athens up and down, talking to its wisest and most capable people, trying to find someone wiser than he was.

What he found was that poets didn’t know why their words moved people, craftsmen only knew how to master their trade and not much else, and politicians thought they were wise but didn’t have the knowledge to back it up.

What Socrates discovered was that none of these people knew anything, but they all thought they did. Socrates concluded he was wiser than them, because he at least knew that he knew nothing.
"I know nothing" is the essential description of life in Plato's cave. If we cannot leave the cave we may just as well go out, eat, drink, and be merry because nothing matters. But suppose a human being can become able to understand what is not known and it benefits a person to do so, isn't it better to experience objective knowledge rather than just being indoctrinated into the world of opinions and going with the flow? Suppose the depths of Platonic education made it possible for seeker of truth to have objective knowledge or "understanding" as opposed to living by conditioned opinions
Belinda
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Progressive vs Platonic Education.

Post by Belinda »

Nick_A wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:28 pm
Belinda wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:16 pm Nick wrote
What kind of education teaches what we are, our lives in Plato's cave, and what is necessary for freedom for those who are drawn to the experience of truth rather than inevitable destruction?
Socratic education based on the impossibility of certainty. Humility is our only guard against all of the crew's being fools.
I agree. But suppose we are fools also? The beginning of humility is the recognition of what Socrates learned: I know nothing. From Plato's Apology:
A good friend of Socrates, once asked the Oracle at Delphi “is anyone wiser than Socrates?”
The Oracle answered “No one.”

This greatly puzzled Socrates, since he claimed to possess no secret information or wise insight. As far as Socrates was concerned, he was the most ignorant man in the land.

Socrates was determined to prove the Oracle wrong. He toured Athens up and down, talking to its wisest and most capable people, trying to find someone wiser than he was.

What he found was that poets didn’t know why their words moved people, craftsmen only knew how to master their trade and not much else, and politicians thought they were wise but didn’t have the knowledge to back it up.

What Socrates discovered was that none of these people knew anything, but they all thought they did. Socrates concluded he was wiser than them, because he at least knew that he knew nothing.
"I know nothing" is the essential description of life in Plato's cave. If we cannot leave the cave we may just as well go out, eat, drink, and be merry because nothing matters. But suppose a human being can become able to understand what is not known and it benefits a person to do so, isn't it better to experience objective knowledge rather than just being indoctrinated into the world of opinions and going with the flow? Suppose the depths of Platonic education made it possible for seeker of truth to have objective knowledge or "understanding" as opposed to living by conditioned opinions


Yes, it would be good to have ultimate knowledge more than which cannot be known even by an omniscient being. Ultimate knowledge like that is indistinguishable from goodness.
I supposed what you invited me to suppose and once again I concluded Platonic reality is not available to any of us.
Nick_A
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Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:23 am

Re: Progressive vs Platonic Education.

Post by Nick_A »

Belinda
Yes, it would be good to have ultimate knowledge more than which cannot be known even by an omniscient being. Ultimate knowledge like that is indistinguishable from goodness.
I supposed what you invited me to suppose and once again I concluded Platonic reality is not available to any of us.
Of course it is available. It isn't wanted now since people are more enchanted with the shadows on the wall. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

Platonic education is easy to understand. The human organism is basically a tripartite soul: head, heart, and body. Each part needs to develop in harmony to create a balanced human being with the potential for inner unity created by acquiring conscious knowledge of the forms.

Gymnastics for the body, music for the appetites (heart), and ideas such as great myths for the head which invites a student to experience "awe and wonder" and opening to the vertical inner path which leads to the forms.

Platonic education is avoided in secular public schools since by definition contemplation of the forms invites pondering the God question. Without it, the state becomes God leading to the results of hypocrisy we see in the world.

If a person wanted to become a concert pianist it would be obvious that the talents of the head, heart, and hands, must work together in practice for the aim of becoming a concert pianist. But inwardly working together to experience truth is sacrificed for the goals of pleasure. If piano practice took this attitude a person would never become a concert pianist. Why would we think it is any different for a seeker of truth? If humanity as a whole is content with imagination it hasn't experienced the calling to truth. It hasn't experienced the "light" so like with the ship of fools there is only the call to receive self justification and opinions rather than truth.
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