John Vervaeke - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Episode 5 - Plato and the Cave - Summary


The following are my main takeaways from the video, quoting and paraphrasing the content.

Axial Revolution > Ancient Greece > Plato

What makes something sacred is that it is an inexhaustible fount of insight and intelligibility that is transformative of us.

Plato was traumatized by the death of Socrates. Plato wanted to understand how people could be so foolish.

inner conflict is when you have two strong motives that seem to be working against each other. Examples:

Plato started psychology. 3 centers in our psyche:

man head reason truth long term goals abstract understanding can learn
lion chest thymos honor mid term goals cultural participation can be trained
monster stomach, genitals appetite pleasure immediate goals superficial salience can be tamed

thymos is the part of you that is motivated socially.

shame is when you have lost the capacity to get respect from your peer. guilt is when you feel that you have failed to meet your own ideal of who you should be.

You want the 3 centers to be in harmony.

Reducing inner conflict makes you be more in touch with reality and better at picking up real patterns in the world. This helps further reduce inner conflict, in a virtuous cycle.

Allegory of the Cave

An Illustration of The Allegory of the Cave, from Plato’s Republic

People only see the shadows, but they don’t know. One escapes and sees reality.

A myth of enlightenment, of coming into the light.

You pick up on real patterns, that challenges you and blinds you, then you transform to pick them up, then you are able to move forward, then you confront those real patterns again, in a cycle. anagoge is the this ascent into reality.

Analogous to movie The Matrix from 1999.

Eidos

Essence, formula, structural-functional-organization, logos.

How you know something and the pattern that makes it be what it is.

e.g. you have an intuitive grasp of what a bird is.

This idea was taken up by Aristotle, Plato’s greatest disciple.


Previous: episode 4.