‘Venerable And Awful’

The Parmenides is considered the most difficult of the Platonic Dialogues. That is because Parmenides [and a few others; see the Posts] was alert to the Self-Loop, and to which his modern interpreters are conspicuously innocent.

Zeno, the favorite of Parmenides [‘Venerable and Awful’], a pioneer of the logico-mathematical paradox, describes his new treatise to Socrates:

It is…a defense of Parmenides against those who make fun of his ideas…this book is a retort against those who assert a Plurality…pays them back in the same coin with something to spare. For it shows that on a thorough examination, their own supposition that there is a Plurality leads to even more absurd consequences than the Hypothesis of ‘The One’.’

Absurdity in all its layers encases Shūnyam. And each layer needs to be peeled away with pincers. From the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching to the core of the best Zen Koans, from the classes of Classical Logic to the defense of the Principle of Contradiction and the meaning of ‘Tautology’, we explore it in all its dimensions.

And the source? It’s always the same. Self-Reference, being asleep to the Self-Loop, getting lost in its entrails.

All pointers that orient in the direction of Shūnyam are unabashedly, in-your-face absurd. [But all absurd pointers don’t get you to Shūnyam]. If Shūnyam beckons, you begin by cultivating a high-tolerance for all things foolish, an appreciation for sheer nonsense, an acquired facility with the flagrantly absurd.

This and all other excerpts from Plato’s Dialogues are from the Hamilton and Cairns, Princeton, ’61 Edition.

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