Andrew discusses Socrates’ concept of nous and developing authentic wisdom.
NOUS – “THE EYE OF THE SOUL”
Just as we all have many different appetites and emotions (which are usually in conflict, and which can be interested in all sorts of healthy or unhealthy objects), we also have many different, and often confusing, mental functions: we have random thoughts, images, and memories; we have stored facts and data; we have logical processes; we have practical knowledge about how to do various things; we have theories and beliefs and opinions and all kinds of prejudices, etc. Where, in the midst of all this mental clutter, is the True Ruler of the human soul?
Socrates believed that no one does evil consciously. Our thoughts and notions may certainly be irrational or even foolish, but we always believe that what we are doing in any given moment is the right and proper thing to do: if we knew that what we were doing was ‘evil’ we could not keep doing it. So the ‘True Ruler’ of the soul, that ought to be making decisions, would have to be that part of the mind which absolutely knows, beyond any mere opinion, the difference between good and evil − the part of our soul that is capable of unerringly discerning ‘the Good’.
Does such a place exist? Plato thought so. He called this part of the soul Nous.
Nous is that special place in our intellect – beyond the confines of imagination, belief, and even reason – that arrives at knowledge by sudden, uncontradictable, insight. Such an insight (we have all had them) may follow in the wake of a long and painstaking period of questioning and pondering, or it may appear inexplicably out of the blue, but when it arrives it arrives in a flash. In general, these are rare and involuntary events, for this is a potential human faculty that usually lies dormant. But Socrates believed that it is possible for this faculty to become conscious and deliberate. In fact, he said that ‘awakening Nous‘− not merely studying or thinking − is the highest task of anyone who wishes to perfect his or her soul. It is possible, even easy, to have a keen and clever mind, to know a great many facts, and to be filled with practical and theoretical knowledge, and yet to have no authentic Wisdom because one’s Nous has never awakened. Such a soul is always like that ship whose captain has been narcotized, a ship which is either in a state of endless anarchy, or which has been taken over by one or another tyrannical usurper: some harsh or foolish passion, appetite, belief or prejudice, which ‘rules’ and ruins one’s life.
For Socrates, then, Wisdom is not about knowing many things or understanding difficult ideas. It is always and only about awakening one’s soul to wonder and insight.
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About Andrew Cort
Andrew Cort is an expert on the inner message of Spiritual Awakening that is always ready to be found in the wonderful stories of the Bible and Greek Mythology. To receive several FREE GIFTS from Dr. Cort(a copy of Chapter One, ‘Making the Decision’, from his new book, THE DOOR IS OPEN; a copy of his article on RECONCILING SCIENCE AND RELIGION; and a complete version of the Bible’s erotic masterpiece, SONG OF SONGS , adapted as a Poetic Dialogue to be read out loud by lovers; as well as a subscription to his SPIRITUAL GROWTH NEWSLETTER) click here http://www.andrewcort.com/Gifts . You can also learn more on his blog, Spirituality and Religion.
A native of Boston (and life-long Red Sox fan) who came of age in the turbulent 1960’s, Dr. Andrew Cort has followed a uniquely versatile path through life. He received his Bachelor’s Degree (in English) and Master’s in Teaching (Science Education) from Colgate University. He then went on to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from New York Chiropractic College (he practiced in New York City for ten years, focusing on nutrition, exercise, applied kinesiology, and the mind’s impact on physical health), as well as a Law Degree from Boston College Law School (he is a member of the Massachusetts Bar). During his years in New York, Dr. Cort served on the Executive Board of H.E.A.L., Inc. (“Health Education AIDS Liaison”) and wrote his first book, on issues of health care and the environment,Our Healing Birthright: Taking Responsibility for Ourselves and Our Planet (Inner Traditions, 1990, currently out of print)
Deeply committed to education, spirituality, and activism, Dr. Cort has taught in a variety of colleges and schools, private and public, including The State University of New York in Morrisville, NY; Bay State College, in Boston, MA; The Desisto School, in Stockbridge, MA (a private school for troubled youth); Berkshire Community College, in Pittsfield, MA; and the Springfield Public School System, in Springfield, MA. Dr. Cort has taught courses in Mathematics, Physics, English, Mythology, Business Law, General Science, and English.
In addition to academic studies in literature, science, law and mathematics, he has studied the work of many spiritual traditions — from the Bible, Plato, the Qur’an, Dante, etc., to contemporary teachers including G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, Paul Brunton, Anthony Damiani, Sri Aurobindo, Mme. Blavatsky, Oscar Ichazo, and others.
Dr. Cort is the author of numerous books and articles on religion, spirituality, mythology, politics, history, science, education and healing, and how these all relate to contemporary American culture. Following in the tradition of Socrates, he considers himself a student, and not a teacher, of these extraordinary thinkers, philosophers, mystics, and writers. His work invites readers to study along with him.
He is also the Host of Spirit of the Berkshires on CTSB-TV, and available worldwide on Vimeo.com and on http://www.andrewcort.com. Also on there (and on YouTube) is his series of short videos on The Sacred Feminine: Women in the Bible.
Andrew Cort lives in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, and can be reached at Andrew@AndrewCort.com. He is an accomplished, energetic, and articulate public speaker, and is available for interviews and speaking engagements.
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About The Door Is Open
The door is always open. The light is always ready to receive us. But we have to learn how to tread the path.
Fortunately for us, all of the wonderful myths and legends of ancient Greece, as well as all the sacred and beautiful stories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have the common aim of showing us, through symbols and allegories, a practical method for reaching spiritual enlightenment, for returning ‘home’.
THE DOOR IS OPEN describes the seven precise steps that are revealed in all great mythology and scripture, along with enjoyable and effective spiritual exercises and activities that are suitable for individual seekers or groups of friends working together.
This is a story that has been lost and forgotten, even though the entire tale has been right before our eyes the whole time. Buy it from Amazon for your Kindle here or get the print copy here. Or, check it out on Goodreads.
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