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Philosophy

Triple are the Roads of Fire

The Father’s hymn does not consist of compound discourses nor the preparation of sacred workings. For being alone incorruptible he does not receive a corruptible hymn. Let us not therefore imagine that we may persuade the master of true discourses by a hollow hurricane of words, nor by show or parade adorned with artificial workings: For God loves the unadorned beauty of form.

Pierre Hadot-About Ascesis

‘Most of the philosophical schools propose ascesis exercises (the Greek word askesis meaning precisely ‘exercise’) and self-mastery: There is the Platonic ascesis, consisting in renouncing the sensatory pleasures, in practicing a certain diet, leading sometimes-due to neo-Pythagorean influences-to the waiving of animal meat; this ascesis is meant to weaken the body by fasts and wakes in order to better commune into the life of the spirit. There is the Cynic ascesis, practiced also by some stoics, that help bare hunger,…

Pierre Hadot-About Ancient Mechanics

‘The idea of trickery-and ultimately, of violence-appears in the word ‘mechanics’, since mekhane signifies ‘trick’. The introduction to the ‘Problemata Mechanica’, an anonymous work probably elaborated in the Peripatetic school at the end of the third or the beginning of the second century BCE, is perfectly clear on this point:‘Everything that occurs with nature, but of whose cause we are unaware, provokes astonishment; as does everything that, when it occurs in a manner contrary to nature, is produced by technique (tekhne) in the inter…

Henry Corbin – About Sabian Ritual and Angelology

“The ideal synthesis of Ismaili and Sabian thinking, as delineated by Shahrastani, shows them to be both dominated by the same presupposition: the Deus innominatus—-in Sabian terms the “Lord of Lords”, in Ismaili terms “He who cannot be reached by the boldness of thought”—is of such transcendence that he can neither make himself known nor be known directly. The mediating beings who reveal Him are those essences of pure Light that philosophers call “Intelligences” (‘uqul), and that religious vocabulary designates as “Angels” (mala’ikah). The…

Henry Corbin-The Hermetic Idea of Perfect Nature According to the Harranian Sabeans

Picture: Harran, Turkey“…/…The relationship is in fact so fundamental that it is found again in Manicheism, and is also what, in Sohravardi’s “oriental theosophy,” makes it possible for us to conceive the relationship between the Perfect Nature of the mystic and the archetypal Angel of humanity (identified with the Holy Ghost; the Angel Gabriel of the Qur’anic Revelation, the active Intelligence of the Avicennan philosophers). What this Figure represents in relation to the totality of the souls of light emanated from itself, each Pe…

Proclus – About ‘Intellect, Imagination, and Opinion’ & ‘Human Intellect’

 Artwork: ‘The Olympian Gods’ by Giulio Romano’64. ‘The essential Intellect contains as a whole, all together and in actuality the true understanding of reality. The intellect of the philosopher, however, since it is not essential but an illumination of the Intellect and, as it were, an image of the Intellect, thinks on the particular level and comprehends the truth only intermittently.’65. ‘Among men there are five conditions of knowing or not knowing: Double ignorance, simple ignorance, desire (to know), inquiry and discovery…

Proclus-‘A Prayer To Bless the Philosophical Work’/ Proclus-‘Une Prière Pour Bénir le Travail Philosophique

Engraving from the title page of Gottfried Arnold’s ‘Umpartheyschen Kirchen und Ketzer Historie’. Leipzig, 1699 first edition.*‘I pray all the gods and goddesses to guide my mind in this study that I have undertaken-to kindle in me  a shining light of truth and enlarge my understanding for the genuine science of being; to open the gates of my soul to receive the inspired guidance of Plato; and in anchoring my thoughts in the full splendor of reality to hold me back from too much conceit of wisdom and from the paths of error by …

Boethius – Is The Pursuit Of Goods, Happiness?

Title added by Hygeia, since this is an excerpt from a very tightly weaved masterpiece.Lady Philosophy is addressing the author, Boethius (note from Hygeia)…‘The whole concern of men, which the efforts of a multitude of pursuits keep busy, moves by different roads, yet strives to arrive at one and the same end, that of happiness. Now that is the good which, once a man attains it, leaves no room for further desires. And it is the highest of all goods, containing in itself all that is good, for if there were anything lacking in it, it wou…

Musonius Rufus*: “On Practicing Philosophy”

‘He gave lectures like this to his companions as he vigorously trained them in their practice of philosophy: virtue, he said, is not just theoretical knowledge, it is also practical, like both medical and musical. The doctor and the musician must each not only learn the principles of his own skill but be trained to act accordingly to those principles. Likewise, the man who wants to be good must not only learn the lessons which pertain to virtue but train himself to follow them eagerly and rigorously.Could someone acquire instant self-co…

Exercises Of The Body and Exercises Of The Soul

Image Source: Flickr – Dimitris KamarasTranslation from the French: Nicolas Lecerf‘Even though many texts allude to it, there is no systematic treatise codifying, in an exhaustive manner, a theory and a technic (askesis) of the philosophical exercise. One can guess that these practices were part before everything else of an oral teaching and were linked to the field of spiritual guidance. We will only notice that there were some treatises ‘About exercise’ that are now lost. We only have left under this title a little treatise of the…
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