A bit more on Prashant and Preparation



Here’s what’s on my mind  philosophy wise this morning.    I thought I’d write a bit more about  preparation.  When Christina and I were here  seven years ago, Prashant talked  constantly about the necessity to prepare yourself.  Prepare yourself,  prepare yourself, prepare yourself.   He didn’t say much about preparing for  what. It was sort of like the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.”  Okay,  good advice generally. However,   I got the overall  sense that philosophy for him, much like for Socrates,   was largely a protreptic endeavor, meaning that the we constantly engage in the process of readying ourselves for what is  to come, or to see what is ready at hand.   Not long after that last trip, and I asked Eddy Marks,  if  Prashant thought  philosophy was  anything other than this, and Eddy said,  “Yes.  But the majority of people are not  ready.”
There’s a fair amount of debate in the  Plato scholarship about whether philosophy, for his character, Socrates, is anything other than this continuous exhortation to examine oneself.  I, myself, think there is more to the practice of philosophy, we are preparing ourselves to see something, maybe not something fixed,  but something that provides a deeper insight into the nature of reality,  but I agree completely that  a lot of  what Socrates does in the dialogues is attempt to prepare people for philosophical engagement, to the extent that they are able to be prepared to engage.  Seven years ago, I was working a lot with dialogues  like theLysisCharmidesProtagorasEuthydemus,  Republic to some extent, where this protreptic quality of Socratic engagement is  quite  obvious, so  perhaps it is not surprising that I heard what Prashant was  saying in those  terms as well.

Yesterday in class,  Prashant did  say  something like,  “I’m going to assume that you are prepared,  so now the project is to go further.”    Or  maybe  he’s just going further anyway.  It is  hard to believe  we are collectively more prepared or that any group one month  of  June  is  comparable to June of  another month over time.

But  maybe so,  maybe there is something he does sense over  time  in a kind of collective studentship.     I’m certainly  more prepared to be here than I was seven years  ago.   Seven years more of  practice and study.  A lot of time with Patricia, whom, I had not studied with (Except for one Dallas workshop)  even more time with Laurie, Mary and Eddy, and others, but they are really the senior teachers whom I feel most prepared me to be here.   Another certification, which in and of itself is not a sign of  preparation, but the preparation of  study and the process of doing it  is a preparation.

It  also  strikes me that much of what  Prashant says  is aimed at  preparing us for the practice of  philosophy in the absence of  BKS Iyengar.   As it turns out,  I’m actually writing about this phenomenon in the Socratic context as well.  The  next set of dialogues I’m working with all have to do with the death of  Socrates and becoming prepared to philosophize without him.   Here’s a bit from the recent BACAP,  presentation  soon to be paper out there in the world, that talks about this point.

“In the meantime, their immediate challenge is to learn how to live and philosophize without their beloved guide. Socrates tells them how he became prepared to philosophize on his own so that they might have a model of how to philosophize on their own.

Phaedo imitates that process by telling his story as a means of caring for the Philians and helping the Philians care for one another. The Pythagorean context has very much to do with legacy. Surely Plato would have been aware of the different groups of Pythagoreans, the split after Pythagoras’ death. The Philians are there as a group caring for each other. Surely the followers of Socrates are expected to go forth and do likewise.”

Off to work   more  on Aristotle and do a bit of  preparatory yogasana.   Ladies class is at  9:30.


Posted by Anne-Marie Schultz at 12:32 AM

Labels: #Pune2014



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