So now that I’ve been moved back to Bldg 3 at work (we currently have 7) I am trying to get used to the quiet. I brought in some of our lectures from the the Teaching Company (www.teach12.com) to listen to, this one is “Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition.” It’s philosophy.
The lectures I listened to today were on Plato. Everyone knows Plato, right? Student of Socrates, Allegory of the Cave, yadda yadda yadda. But what I never realized it that he was pretty much the originator of the whole idea of a body/soul dualism. The whole idea that there is a soul, completely separate and immortal really came from him. Most of western civilization seems to believe in that. Even people who don’t necessarily pay lip service to a concept of God seem to believe in a soul. And I always thought it came from Christianity, but instead it’s really a western cultural belief that was absorbed into Christianity.
Prior to Plato, the Greeks (and Hebrews too) would believe in parts, like your physical heart and your emotional heart resided in the same place. Or you would feel things in your gut-your literal and metaphysical gut. But the whole idea of a completely separate, mutually exclusive soul ensnared in the corporeal body comes from Plato.
As the lecturer on the CD said, “The mark of a truly great mind is that we think how he thought-2500 years ago.”
I think history is just so fascinating, the thread of this gigantic tapestry.