Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Athens (4)

Upon return to Athens, my time at the Academy quickly came
to an end. Winter was approaching, and many students and
scholastics from other places were quick to catch ships so as
to beat out the oncoming winter storms that make the seas
dangerous. As for myself, I decided to set sail quickly to the
nearby island of Kos, spend some time there relaxing, and
then travel on to the island of Rhodes.

During my last months in Athens I had made inquiries at the
Stoa, the Stoic school, about continuing my studies there. But
I wasn't comfortable with their program, which mainly focused
on living the virtuous life. Indeed, most of the Stoic schools
scattered about concentrated on ethics. That included those
Stoics teaching in Rome, using the work of Lucius Annaeus
Seneca, written during the time of Nero, as well as the pragmatic
philosophy of Marcus Tullius Cicero, who lived during the time
of Julius Caesar.

As for the Stoic school at Nicopolis, in northwestern Greece,
founded by the famous philosopher Epictetus, it also stressed
ethics in terms of the virtuous life.

It wasn't that I was against the virtuous life, because I felt that
I had long instinctively tried to live such a noble way by following
the well-known Four Cardinal Virtues that I had been taught
since childhood. Simply put, they are Justice, Wisdom, Bravery,
and Moderation. Summed-up, for me, they cover quite readily
the territory of ethics.

I continued to be interested in examining my "Seeding" hypothesis,
now mainly from a cosmic or universal perspective. I knew that
parts of Stoic philosophy taught about the creation of the world,
about the beginnings, about the Force of the Logos-Pneuma.
It was this that I wanted to study. Fortunately I was told that the
Stoa on the Island of Rhodes was more engaged in this part of
Stoic philosophy. Indeed, it was far more eclectic in its approach--
so I was told. This seemed the selection for me, considering my
personal philosophic requirements.

So I pushed off from the Athenian port of Piraeus aboard a ship
bound for Kos, the birthplace of Hippocrates--regarded as the
father of medicine. Even in winter, the cruise was fairly safe in
that we stayed close to various Greek islands, then edged close
to the southern shoreline of Asia Minor, down into the nearby
Dodecanese chain of islands of which Kos was a part.

A beautiful island, with golden sandy beaches, hills, lovely
scenery, it was primarily a resort where one could relax at
its famous Asclepeion healing-center. I spent nearly a month
playing on the sandy beaches, rushing into the sea, relaxing
at the pools of the Asclepeion, looking down over the island
and sea. In fact we were so close that we could see the coast
of Asia Minor in the distance.

Near the pools, oft sitting under a muted transparent silk awning,
I spent most of my time popping grapes, munching fruit, drinking
cooled water and sometimes wine. Pure heaven! My aging body
was most appreciative.

Naturally there was a dream-center attached to the Asclepeion.
Remembering my dream at Pergamon, I thought it interesting
if I might have a follow-up that would perhaps make more sense
to me. Thinking to myself, at least engaging my dream wouldn't
be like magic or trickery--in that the source material came forth
from my own mind. Of course we humans are not above tricking
ourselves in this regard. That's why the Asclepeion dream-guides
are carefully trained, not pronouncing as much as easing the
dreamer into interpreting his own dream.

So I spent a night at the dream-center; and, yes, I had a special
but strange little dream. I dreamt that I wearing a second pendent
around my neck. It was a golden sun disk, sharing space with my
pendent of the Roman Eagle. My dream-guide asked what I might
make of this. Reverting to being a dunce, I was totally at a loss.
The guide wondered whether this sun disk might portend something
towards which my life would be dedicated in the future--in that my
Roman Eagle represented my past service with the Praetorians.

Perhaps, perhaps...

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