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Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology (Wooden Books) Hardcover – October 26, 2010
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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About the Author
The five authors whose books comprise QUADRIVIUM are Miranda Lundy, Anthony Ashton,, Jason Martineau, Daud Sutton, and John Martineau.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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"Those who happen to grasp the philosophía correctly risk being unrecognised by others, because it is nothing but 'practising to die and to be dead'". He refers with these enigmatic words to what he calls in Phaidros (81a) the pleasurable (phaidros) practice of dying (meléte thanátou). This provides no worldly (oratory) knowledge, like arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy, of which the quadrivium is composed. It rather makes the practitioner of the meléte thanátou increasingly experience the kósmos in a step-wise extrasensory (eidetic) fashion to which Plato refers in the Symposium (204-211c).
The unsusual personal experience (wisdom) attained in this way is reported in the theologumena arithmeticae (see p. 56 in The Theology of Arithmetic by Robin Butterfield, 1988) attributed to Iamblichus (c. 245 – c. 325 ACE):
"Four are the foundations of wisdom – arithmetiké, mousiké, geometría, astronomía – ordered 1 (Monad), 2 (Dyad), 3 (Triad), 4 (Tetrad)".
Similar enigmatic words are offered in Timaios (36), where Plato describes the creation (genesis) of the psychic kósmos:
"Arithmetiké, harmoniké, geometriké were the three means (principles) by which demiurgos (artificer) proportioned the kósmos".
These words are beautifully corroborated in Lao Tzu’s Daodejing (Chapter 42),
"The Dao creates 1, 1 creates 2, 2 creates 3, which creates the 10.000 things",
to which I was introduced by my Tai Chi teacher, who taught me the Tao-practice, which I consider for many reasons to be identical with the practice of dying. The words of Lao Tzu offer a description of the ancient Taoist kosmogonia (kosmologia) that the Tao-practice reveals. Lao Tzu clarifies his words in Chapter 25:
"There exists chaos (mixed thing), which existed already before heaven and earth existed, still and formless. It is in a state of a circular movement nourished by itself. One may call it the mother of 10.000 things. I do not know its name and for that matter I call it Dao. Because I find no better attribute, I call it 'great (Da)'".
All above quotes can be conceived, if one knows the Socrates Code (See “Man, the measure of all things?” in The Philosopher, V. 102 No. 2, 20014). Who accepts it will have to conclude that the ancient Greeks did not know any quadrivium. To associate them with it is a severe misinterpretation!
See also my critical reviews here on Amazon on:
Plato: Symposium (Hackett Classics), translated by Alexander Nehamas and Paul Woodruff,
Plato: Republic (Hackett Classics), translated by C. D. C. Reeve,
Plato: Timaeus and Critias (Penguin Classics), translated by Desmond Lee
Theology of Arithmetic, by Robin Butterfield,
The wisdom of Laotse, by Lin Yutang
For futher details see my Youtube presentation:
TAO: PATH TO DISCOVER THE PSYCHO-COSMIC ORIGIN OF THE WESTERN CULTURE.