Pythagoras: Looking into the Mirror of the Ancient Greek Mind
Ancient Greece is not just a place or an epoch of the remote past; it is a way of thinking about the world. It is a mirror in which we can see ourselves, and in which we see reflected the origin of what might be called a ‘Western’ way of understanding the world around us. This was, however, the remarkable product of a coming together of the far more ancient knowledge of the East with the restless curiosity and ingenuity of the Greek mind.
Pythagoras, philosopher and explorer, took from his travels in the East the fruits of very ancient observations and spiritual enquiry that he found there, and brought them back into the Mediterranean area at the dawn of Classical Antiquity. More than just a mathematician or musician or philosopher, Pythagoras is the cornerstone of the way we think today, uniting the mind of the East and of the West. Neither the revolution of Platonic thinking, nor of Christianity, nor of scientific enlightenment, could have happened quite as they did without his profound curiosity, his distant travels, his spiritual sensitivity, and his appreciation of the fundamental role of beauty in our cosmos.
Speaker Nigel McGilchrist is a graduate of Oxford University and has lived and worked for most of his life in the Mediterranean world – Greece, Italy and Egypt – as an art historian, teaching and writing about its history and extraordinary cultural diversity. He has taught for universities in America and in Italy, and is the author of an acclaimed series of books on the art and architecture of the islands of the Aegean. His most recent publication (2022) is a study of Pythagoras and his Age, entitled: When the Dog speaks, the Philosopher listens.
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