Parmenides - Ancient Greek Shaman

M

Michael

#1
I'm starting this thread to find out if there is any interest in this topic.

Background on Parmenides: Parmenides was (is?) an ancient greek philosopher in the tradition of Pythagoras (i.e. pre-Socratic). Parmenides is called the father of logic, but in actual fact, Parmenides was a shaman (iatromantis: a physician-seer, medicine man) who's practice of logic and reason isn't anything like what we would associate with those terms today.

Relevance to this forum: The core aspect of ancient greek shamanism was what I would associate with Astral Travel. The practice was called incubation, which involved lying down in a cave and focusing on the inner sensation of the body (being). It was a means of traveling to the world of gods to receive wisdom, knowledge, laws, in general, answers to questions and problems. So clearly not the kind of logic and ueber-rational problem solving we think of today.

Proposal for this thread: Peter Kingsley wrote a very powerful analysis (in my opinion) of the surviving writings of Parmenides. These writing are in the form of a poem and it contains the sum total of what Parmenides has to say about the nature of reality, which as you might suspect has a lot to do with inner sensation and awareness, and traveling to the home of the gods. The book by Kingsley is called Reality. This book was a personal revelation for me and the analysis of the poem is the first half of the tome. I'd like to go through and do an almost line by line synopsis of the poem seen through the perspective of Kingsley. The book is nearly 600 pages. So, if there is any interest, then this thread could function as a less daunting introduction into this fascinating tradition of greek shamanism, which is very relevant to us today.

Please let me know if you are interested. If there is interest and this mini-project moves forward then I very much would like participation in terms of feedback and reaction to what Parmenides has to say.

Thanks.
 
C

chuck.drake

#2
Hi Michael,

I have read Kingsley's In the Dark Places of Wisdom, which seems to be a shorter version of his book Reality. I have the Reality book, but I have not read it yet. I too find Kingsley's ideas on Parmenides fascinating, especially related to the topic of incubation. What I found really interesting is that the symbol that is used in the poem for incubation is travel to the world of the dead. That really floored me when I began to think about all the myths and legends that specifically mention travel to the world of the dead.

Anyway. I haven't read Reality. And I don't know how much I will really have to say about Parmenides' poem. But I will certainly follow the thread closely if it comes together. I remember I once proposed a thread to discuss a book--I've forgotten which one now. The reception was rather tepid. But maybe you will have better luck with Reality. It is certainly a fascinating work and Kingsley is quite good.

There should be a place on the internet to propose book discussions, even including slightly esoteric ones, like Reality.

Thanks.

Chuck
 
M

Michael

#3
Hi Michael,

I have read Kingsley's In the Dark Places of Wisdom, which seems to be a shorter version of his book Reality. I have the Reality book, but I have not read it yet. I too find Kingsley's ideas on Parmenides fascinating, especially related to the topic of incubation. What I found really interesting is that the symbol that is used in the poem for incubation is travel to the world of the dead. That really floored me when I began to think about all the myths and legends that specifically mention travel to the world of the dead.

Anyway. I haven't read Reality. And I don't know how much I will really have to say about Parmenides' poem. But I will certainly follow the thread closely if it comes together. I remember I once proposed a thread to discuss a book--I've forgotten which one now. The reception was rather tepid. But maybe you will have better luck with Reality. It is certainly a fascinating work and Kingsley is quite good.

There should be a place on the internet to propose book discussions, even including slightly esoteric ones, like Reality.

Thanks.

Chuck
Esoteric it is. I figured if there was at least one person interested in this, then I would start :) Who knows, maybe others will join in. I'll post my first entry sometime this weekend.

Reality marked a definite change in attitude within me.
 
C

chuck.drake

#4
Sounds good, Michael. I will definitely look back in. Unfortunately I just started reading a different huge book, so I won't be able to read along at this moment.
 
#5
Thanks for starting this thread, I am interested too :)
I haven't read any of Kingsely's book but I am intrigued. I'll keep an eye on this thread.

Thanks
 
#6
I hadn't heard of this fella before. Wikipedia also gave the following info:
The Eleatics refers to the pre-Socratic school of philosophy founded by Parmenides in the early fifth century BC in the ancient town of Elea. Other members of the school included Zeno of Elea and Melissus of Samos
 
#7
Hi Michael,

Did we discuss this to some extent on the old forum? I'm not sure if it was you. At any rate, I think I mentioned that I couldn't get hold of the book in Kindle format, which I prefer for these old eyes of mine. I'd be very happy if you engaged in this project: thanks very much for starting it.
 
M

Michael

#8
Hi Michael,

Did we discuss this to some extent on the old forum? I'm not sure if it was you. At any rate, I think I mentioned that I couldn't get hold of the book in Kindle format, which I prefer for these old eyes of mine. I'd be very happy if you engaged in this project: thanks very much for starting it.
Hi Michael, yes that was me in the old forum. No worries about the book. I plan on providing a more concise line by line reading of Kingsley's translation of the Parmenides poem.
 
#10
Hi Michael, yes that was me in the old forum. No worries about the book. I plan on providing a more concise line by line reading of Kingsley's translation of the Parmenides poem.
Is this about Kingsley's translation? Or about his analysis and conclusions? If the former, what makes his translation any better than that of linguists?
 
C

chuck.drake

#11
Is this about Kingsley's translation? Or about his analysis and conclusions? If the former, what makes his translation any better than that of linguists?
Did you read Michael's introduction? He says, "I'd like to go through and do an almost line by line synopsis of the poem seen through the perspective of Kingsley."

What would make any one interpretation "better" than another? Kingsley has a Master of Letters from Cambridge and was awarded a PhD from University of London. There is much in his books regarding linguistic interpretation of the language of the poem.
 
#12
Did you read Michael's introduction? He says, "I'd like to go through and do an almost line by line synopsis of the poem seen through the perspective of Kingsley."

What would make any one interpretation "better" than another? Kingsley has a Master of Letters from Cambridge and was awarded a PhD from University of London. There is much in his books regarding linguistic interpretation of the language of the poem.
Yes I read it which is why I asked the question. Did you read his statement that I responded to. And A/ I said nothing about interpretation, B/ The "stamp of officialdom" is irrelevant in this context.
 
M

Michael

#13
Yes I read it which is why I asked the question. Did you read his statement that I responded to. And A/ I said nothing about interpretation, B/ The "stamp of officialdom" is irrelevant in this context.
The intend of the thread is stated in the OP and in agreement with what chuck.drake said. If you have a disagreement with Kingsley's translation or his analysis of Parmenides, then once I start posting I'd be happy to hear your input, but not to the extend that it derails the thread. So, if you think a thread of this type isn't to your liking feel free to take a pass on this one.
 
#14
The intend of the thread is stated in the OP and in agreement with what chuck.drake said. If you have a disagreement with Kingsley's translation or his analysis of Parmenides, then once I start posting I'd be happy to hear your input, but not to the extend that it derails the thread. So, if you think a thread of this type isn't to your liking feel free to take a pass on this one.
In the OP you mentioned focusing on analysis. In the post I responded to you stated "translation" If that was an error so be it. But there's no need to seek to get huffy with me because I asked a question based on that post. Just explain.
 
#15
In the OP you mentioned focusing on analysis. In the post I responded to you stated "translation" If that was an error so be it. But there's no need to seek to get huffy with me because I asked a question based on that post. Just explain.
Tut. I don't think Michael was being huffy at all. OTOH, you're coming across as if you are. He's said he'd be happy to have your input, but he doesn't want to go O/T. Please respect that.
 
#16
Please let me know if you are interested. If there is interest and this mini-project moves forward then I very much would like participation in terms of feedback and reaction to what Parmenides has to say.

Thanks.
I'm unfamiliar with this material, but it sounds very interesting! I'm looking forward to hearing more. :)
 
M

Michael

#17
In the OP you mentioned focusing on analysis. In the post I responded to you stated "translation" If that was an error so be it. But there's no need to seek to get huffy with me because I asked a question based on that post. Just explain.
In the OP I say that in Reality Kingsley presents a powerful analysis of the Parmenides poem. What I said I wanted to to in this thread is to present an almost line by line synopsis of the poem through Kingsley's perspective. In practice this means using the Kingsley translation and any supporting information he provides in the book itself to flesh out why he translates it the way he choses. I am by no means attempting to restate Kingsley's detailed analysis of what the poem means. He has already done that for us in Reality. I am also not planning to make a comparison to other translations or to present an academic level critique in defense of (or against) the Kingsley translation. I am a not equipped to be doing that, and not really interested either. I guess my worry was that you had a disagreement with this particular translation and that was going to result in a discussion I'm not able to handle and derail the thread. I'm not trying to be huffy, I'm just worried about staying on track and within bounds or what I can do and stay away from that which I can't do. So, stick around and see how this develops.
 
#18
I'm not trying to be huffy, I'm just worried about staying on track and within bounds or what I can do and stay away from that which I can't do. So, stick around and see how this develops.
Okay. My apologies for misinterpreting your post as huffiness. On my side, I certainly wouldn't seek to derail the thread, what I'd asked was genuine inquiry. I don't know if I'll be a participant in the analysis but I do hope that it flourishes as you'd like it to.
 
#19
I very much appreciate what you're doing, Michael. One slight concern is that I'm wondering how long PK's translation of the poem is, and also, I suppose it will be copyright: if it's long, it could maybe exceed fair use if you intend to go through it all line-by-line. That doesn't mean I'm not interested: far from it, but there may be some other way to skin the cat you want to skin. Maybe by summarising the force of the poem in your own words, illustrating with perhaps a few snippets?
 
M

Michael

#20
I very much appreciate what you're doing, Michael. One slight concern is that I'm wondering how long PK's translation of the poem is, and also, I suppose it will be copyright: if it's long, it could maybe exceed fair use if you intend to go through it all line-by-line. That doesn't mean I'm not interested: far from it, but there may be some other way to skin the cat you want to skin. Maybe by summarising the force of the poem in your own words, illustrating with perhaps a few snippets?
Yep, that concerned crossed my mind as well. Let me check with Kingsley and see if he has any objections. Will reply back and soon as I have anything.
 
Top