Philosopher Saints

Outside the Box Two Forms of Knowledge Information Fragments
Non-Newtonian Knowledge Recognition Knowledge Awareness

   THE LOST TRADITION OF

THE PHILOSOPHER-SAINTS

The civilising force behind our modern world can be discovered well-hidden in the heart of a phase of Roman civilisation which is fashionably called Byzantine, which passes almost unnoticed in British education.  The Church of that Eastern Roman Empire in the First Millennium was different in character from most of the many churches formed in the Second Millennium, and it was the latter whose character determined the nature of the churches we know in the west today.  The saints of the First Millennium acknowledged that they were also in a sense philosophers, but their philosophy, which was understood as one of the cornerstones of their sanctity, was essentially different in certain clearly definable ways from both our modern philosophy and that of even the latest and greatest of the classical Greek thinkers from the milennium before the Church.  Seen in philosophical terms, their great contribution to human thought has not yet been recognised by the modern thinkers who are their intellectually-rebellious descendants.

Key figures begin with Saint Paul and his famous statement to the Athenians about the 'unknown God'.  They include the greatest Saints of the early Church, after Christ's mother and the Evangelists.  The list approaches its end with Saint Gregory Palamas who, in the 13th Century, defended this thinking against a growing pressure towards the rationalism and humanism which now dominate our thinking.

Most of them lived as hermits or monks, but sometimes they needed to alternate between the simple life and the trappings of episcopal authority, yet the greatest of these men and women possessed a remarkable and healing understanding of the world.

The early Church drew its power and its insights from that scattered-community of philosopher-saints, thinkers whose now-forgotten disciplines, when followed, kept their religious understandings unchanged through many generations, so that they can be discovereed in their full flowering until the present day.

In a way long lost to us, they learned to reach agreement about facts through a disciplined and objective understanding of the relation of language to knowledge, a relation no longer understood in our modern world.

To this day, their writings provide effective guidance to Christians seeking genuine spiritual life, as well as offering a far broader set of critera for philosophical and psychological understanding than is prodiced by modern thought.

Among other forms of psychotherapy, they taught and used means of healing the faculty of attention, which is probably the greatest problem in modern education.

They understood cause in ways that answered the deepest questions about human purpose.