Peter Kingsley: The Presocratic Sages who created Western Civilisation

Peter Kingsley Interview on the Sacred Tradition at the heart of Western Civilisation

“We can romanticize about the sacred origins of Tibetan Buddhism and South American Shamanic Traditions, and anything, as long as it’s not our own; and that’s apart of this tremendous understanding, this tremendous resistance. (…) and this is one of the paradoxes I find, with this ideal of oneness, bringing together different traditions. We bring together every single tradition, except our own because we don’t know that there’s a sacred tradition at the origins of Western Civilisation. We don’t know that there’s a sacred tradition…” (Peter Kingsley)

Peter Kingsley is an example of a ‘New Academician.’ A classicist who went beyond conventional academics, earning his Ph.D from the University of London. It is actually through the Presocratics, rather than East Asian philosophy, that Blavatsky’s writings and The Secret Doctrine, admittedly, became a little simpler for me. An example would be that David Reigle traced the doctrinal position of Theosophy on emptiness to the Shentong, or Great Madhyamika.

It is a heretical position in Tibetan Buddhism, but I began to notice similar concepts and concerns in Greek Presocratic philosophy on the nature of MATTER and SPACE. Like the Seven Rishis in India’s legends, the Pre-socratic philosophers, are known as the Seven Sages, or the physiologoi (φυσιόλογοι. natural philosophers). Modern scientists often state of the History of Science, that natural philosophy became modern science, and that’s that, but as Peter Kingsley states, we have lost knowledge of the origins and ideas that gave birth to Western Thought. We must remember that Helena Blavatsky was Russian.

People who don’t think culture matters, will not see the point.

Russia operates a middle-ground between Europe and Asia, but if you read Blavatsky’s writings, she is more of that Asian-bent, and hence carries a unique mysticism, that is a bridge between two worlds. What Peter Kingsley is however saying, is that there is a WISDOM that the Western pre-monotheist non-Christian once knew, that has become stifled. It is always very simple to point at materialism and industrialism, but we cannot always critique materialism. The West has also been shamed into disregarding ancient traditions, through critique by Science and Theology. So, you also have that difficulty with convincing people of the value of genuine spiritual philosophy, because of our view of the past. Before the West’s Christianization and Arab Islamization, there were schools, thinkers, and forces, already at work before the common era, always pushing advances in civilisation, and some of that has been obstructed and curtailed into different efforts, or historical trajectory.

History has not always been the result of a linear line of progress.

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