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I intend this thread to be kind of an introduction to Plato and his influence. I have chosen the following links as a starting point. The author of these posts, John Uebersax, is a Christian Platonist and so I do not agree with everything he says, but roughly 95%+ of what he says in these links, I could have written myself and in point of fact over the past thirty years have written things like this, but they are not in a form easily transferred to the internet. So with this in mind I recommend these links to Uebersax's writings as a good introduction to real Platonism: Question: I have heard that Platonism ought to be approached as a ‘therapy of the soul’, or literally as psychotherapy? Can you explain this? The Republic you never heard about in College Some suggestions for a psychological/allegorical correspondence of key terms of Plato's Republic can be found here What, Plato an Anarchist!? To get some insight into Platonic "Intellectualism" and to distinguish it from modern "intellectualism" you need to read this: Plato's divided line from the Republic And Download this: Higher and lower Reason With this introduction in mind, then more of Uebersax's work may be found here: http://www.john-uebersax.com/plato/ I have not read all of them and I may not agree with things that he says in all of his posts, how much I might disagree I cannot say now. That said I will post more references to his site in subsequent posts. It seems to me that generally his site can be studied with considerable benefit to ones understanding of Plato in his religious, mystical and psychological interpretation. I will also post links to and from other sites and insofar as time allows, and frankly that may be limited, answer questions related to these posts. I will also probably link to or copy posts that I have made elsewhere on the Dao Bums here. I will also post about books and authors who are most useful for a positive interpretation of Plato.
One of the conclusions that I that I came to after decades of study was that in the general population, Platonism was one of the single most under appreciated influences in the formation of Hermeticism, Christianity, Esoteric Judaism and other movements that developed during the Hellenistic period. Granted that this position is more or less scholarly orthodoxy it is generally dismissed by people who don't know enough about Plato to see the influence of his Gorgias in the "Sermon on the Mount" or who who don't realize enough about the technical language of Greek philosophy to see that Hermes Trismegistos was kind enough to speak to the barbarous Greeks in their own technical language and address issues in terms that they had formulated. I am not a person who believes in the "Greek Miracle", as if there was something special about the Greeks, but some of the ideas discovered by a few of their thinkers are so powerful that they changed the way people thought about almost everything. I don't intend to enter into long arguments about the sources of Plato's thinking, but I will post some ideas about them that most people will find surprising, such as the proposal of E. R. Dodds that Plato was attempting to defend a position that was derived from Shamanism. This many years before the supposedly ground breaking work of Peter Kingsley. I will put forward Ideas, directions and sources. In particular I will not engage in discussions with people who have not read a jot of Plato and who cite secondary sources that line up with their own personal prejudices, but are unwilling to open their mind to alternatives. My first post after this will be about my personal journey to my understanding of Plato, which involved a great deal of rethinking and open minded examination. Edit: Italisized Gorgias and put quotes around Sermon on the Mount.