25 episodes

A course in interdisciplinarity by Mario Veen. In each episode I travel through Plato's Allegory of the Cave together with a guide. Together, we examine the question of what it means to learn, grow and develop in life on earth. We do so from a new perspective every time. You can use this course to study whatever interests you through the lens of philosophy, film, art, physics, spirituality and many more. All you need is the willingness to think things through and the openness to have your preconceived notions challenged.

Life From Plato's Cave Mario Veen

    • Society & Culture

A course in interdisciplinarity by Mario Veen. In each episode I travel through Plato's Allegory of the Cave together with a guide. Together, we examine the question of what it means to learn, grow and develop in life on earth. We do so from a new perspective every time. You can use this course to study whatever interests you through the lens of philosophy, film, art, physics, spirituality and many more. All you need is the willingness to think things through and the openness to have your preconceived notions challenged.

    Episode 6 - Trauma & the Holocaust with Ernst van Alphen

    Episode 6 - Trauma & the Holocaust with Ernst van Alphen

    When the prisoner in Plato's cave is released and turns around, the light of the fire is painful and terrifying. Running back to their seat, it makes no sense at all and they have no language to even speak about it. When we experience something that does not fit in the framework within which we make sense of our reality, can we even call it "experience"?

    Ernst van Alphen calls trauma "failed experience". In this episode, we discuss the Holocaust in relation to trauma, experience, memory, archives and affect. We focus particularly on his essay Testimonies and the Limits of Representation, a chapter in his book Caught By History: Holocaust Effects In Contemporary Art, Literature, and Theory (Stanford U.P 1997). Ernst was so kind to make an older version of this chapter (Symptoms of Discursivity) available here. 

     

    About Ernst van Alphen: 

    Ernst van Alphen is professor of Literary Studies at Universiteit Leiden. His publications include Shame! And Masculinity (ed., Valiz 2020), Failed Images:Photography and Its Counter-Practices (Valiz 2018),  Staging the Archive: Art and Photography in the Age of New Media (Reaktion Books 2014), Art in Mind: How Contemporary Images Shape Thought (University of Chicago Press 2005), Armando: Shaping Memory (NAi Publishers 2000), Francis Bacon and The Loss of Self (Harvard U.P 1995).

     
    Let's support people who experienced trauma.
    Mario
    http://lifefromplatoscave.com/ 
     
    Here's how to contact me if you have any questions or comments:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/lifeplatoscave 
    Insta: https://www.instagram.com/lifefromplatoscave/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifefromplatoscave 
    Illustration © by Julien Penning, Light One Art: https://www.instagram.com/light_one_art/ 

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Episode 7 - Astrophysics & Exolife with Vincent Icke

    Episode 7 - Astrophysics & Exolife with Vincent Icke

    When we look at the situation of the prisoners in Plato's cave, their world is only one tiny part of all there is. They think that all that exists is the shadows on the wall. They're unaware of the fire, the way upwards, and everything at the surface. Have you ever looked at the stars at night and wondered what else is out there? 
     
    Our guide today, astrophycisist Vincent Icke, writes: “There is nothing special about our Sun and the planets. [...] The matter that we consist of is the most common stuff in the Universe. All those planets, stars and galaxies were created from the same kinds of matter that we find in ourselves and around us. [...] The energy required for life is radiated by every star. The deep time required for biological evolution unfolds in every place." (translated from Reisbureau Einstein, 2017)
     
    About Vincent Icke:
    Vincent Icke is Professor of theoretical Astrophysics at Leiden University, where he founded the Astronomy Theory Group, and Professor of Cosmology at the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. His main research interests are cosmology, the relationship between dark matter and dark energy, the formation of structure in the Universe, and radiative hydrodynamics. Vincent takes an active interest in the popularization of science, participating in hundreds of productions on radio, fielm and television. He wrote many books in Dutch and English. In this episode, we mainly discuss his two most recent books: Gravity Does Not Exist: A Puzzle For the 21st Century, about the relationship between relativity and quantum theory, and Reisbureau Einstein (Einstein’s Travel Agency) about the quest for extraterrestrial life. Vincent is also a visual artist, whose work covers a wide range of styles, media, applications and concepts. For instance, imagining what an alien spaceship might look like.
     
    Sources
    Vincent's artwork that we discuss at the beginning of the episode can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CQQ81NmAFcj/
    Vincent's website (in Dutch): https://home.strw.leidenuniv.nl/~icke/ 
    Quantum Moves 2 (a game where you move quantum particles): https://www.scienceathome.org/games/quantum-moves-2/ 
     

    I hope you enjoy the episode!
    Mario
    http://lifefromplatoscave.com/ 
     
    Here's how to contact me if you have any questions or comments:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/lifeplatoscave 
    Insta: https://www.instagram.com/lifefromplatoscave/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifefromplatoscave 
    Illustration © by Julien Penning, Light One Art: https://www.instagram.com/light_one_art/ 

    • 1 hr 30 min
    Episode 8 - Neuroscience, Meditation & Dance with Marieke van Vugt

    Episode 8 - Neuroscience, Meditation & Dance with Marieke van Vugt

    The prisoners in Plato's Cave live in a world of projections. They think they see a cat, but it is actually a shadow of a statue of a cat. Is it the same for us? Do we live in a kind of illusion? And if so, what are ways to see through this illusion and lift the fog at least a little?

    We explore these questions with neuroscientist, Buddhist and ballet dancer Marieke van Vugt. 

     

    About Marieke: 

    Marieke is an assistant professor in the cognitive modeling group at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). She obtained her PhD with Michael Kahana in the neuroscience program of the University of Pennsylvania, after having spent one year at Brandeis University. After that I did a postdoc with Jonathan Cohen at Princeton University. The main question that guides her research is: how do we think? In what ways do we mind-wander? What effects does that have on decisions? And how can we make our thinking more adaptive by means of contemplative practices such as mindfulness and meditation. She likes to use mathematical models and techniques to better understand those very complicated data. This model-based neuroscience approach allows us to think about the mechanism by which someone thinks, and make more detailed predictions than verbal models.

     

    Resources

    Marieke's website, twitter and ballet-related pictures on her instagram. 

    Mind and Life Institute: https://www.mindandlife-europe.org 
    Evan Thompson: research on whether meditation makes you a better scientist https://evanthompson.me/
    Jostein Gaarder (1991). Sophie's World: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie%27s_World
    Tamboukou M. Archival research: unravelling space/time/matter entanglements and fragments. Qualitative Research. 2014;14(5):617-633. doi:10.1177/1468794113490719
    Jostein Gaarder, 1991. Sophie's World
    Film about neurobiologist Francisco Varela: Monte Grande: What is Life? https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0466070/
    Balerinas by Night :http://ballerinasbynight.blogspot.com/
    Navillera (Netflix series, 2021)
    Marieke van Vugt MK (2014) Ballet as a movement-based contemplative practice? Implications for neuroscientific studies. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:513. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00513
    Dominic Pettman (2016) Infinite Distraction. Polity Books https://dominicpettman.com/books/infinite-distraction/
    Ricard, Matthieu (1999). The Monk and the Philosopher. New York City: Schocken. https://www.amazon.com/Monk-Philosopher-Father-Discuss-Meaning/dp/0805211039 
    The Brain Facts Book (free download in many languages) https://www.brainfacts.org/the-brain-facts-book
    Social Psychology experiment on change blindness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBPG_OBgTWg and https://youtu.be/VkrrVozZR2c?t=101
     

    I hope you enjoy the episode!
    Mario
    http://lifefromplatoscave.com/ 
     
    Here's how to contact me if you have any questions or comments:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/lifeplatoscave 
    Insta: https://www.instagram.com/lifefromplatoscave/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifefromplatoscave 
    Illustration © by Julien Penning, Light One Art: https://www.instagram.com/light_one_art/ 

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Episode 10 - Social Media & Infinite Distraction with Dominic Pettman

    Episode 10 - Social Media & Infinite Distraction with Dominic Pettman

    "It's almost as if Plato saw Media Studies coming and invented this allegory for us to sort of set the stage from the beginning of western modernity. It's kind of uncanny how appropriate it remains. It's like it becomes more and more relevant as time passes."

    Today I speak with Dominic Pettman about social media, distraction and libido.

    About Dominic Pettman: 

    Dominic is University Professor of Media and New Humanities at The New School in New York, where he teaches courses on posthumanism, animal studies, critical theories of technology, environmental humanities, attention ecologies, popular media forms, and philosophies of desire. He is the author of numerous books, including a loose trilogy exploring the relationship between Eros and ecology - Sonic Intimacy, Creaturely Love, and Peak Libido. In this episode, we focus primarily on the last part of this trilogy and Infinite Distraction: Paying Attention to Social Media. Dominic himself is also on social media: https://twitter.com/DominicPettman 

    What's YOUR interpretation of Plato's allegory? I would love to hear! Leave me a voicemail. It's really easy. You click the record button, speak, and hit send. I might play your message in a future episode and respond.

    Support me through patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lifefromplatoscave 

    I hope you enjoy the episode!
    Mario
    http://lifefromplatoscave.com/ 
     
    I'd love to hear your questions or comments:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/lifeplatoscave 
    Insta: https://www.instagram.com/lifefromplatoscave/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifefromplatoscave 
    Illustration © by Julien Penning, Light One Art: https://www.instagram.com/light_one_art/ 

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Episode 11 - Biology, Technology & Human Evolution with Pieter Lemmens

    Episode 11 - Biology, Technology & Human Evolution with Pieter Lemmens

    The prisoners in Plato's Cave have their eyes fixed on the the cave wall. Their attention is literally captured by the shadows. They cannot turn their head so they cannot see each other. Since they have been there all their lives that means they have never seen a human being!
     

    In this conversation we will take a journey through Plato's Cave by following Pieter Lemmens' intellectual journey, his thinking path. We will start with in biology, that sees human beings as an organism. Then we discuss Heidegger's book Being and Time where he asks the question of being - what is the being of human being? Then we focus on the work of Bernard Stiegler, a philosopher of technology who thought about the relation between technology, biology and evolution. Finally, we focus on how technological evolution got us into the climate crisis and on Bernard Stiegler's idea of what needs to happen for us to turn the Anthropocene into what he calls the Neganthropocene. The Neganthropocene could be the next stage in human evolution - if we can get there.
     
    About Pieter Lemmens

    Pieter Lemmens teaches philosophy and ethics at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He has published on themes in the philosophy of technology, innovation, digital technologies, cognitive enhancement, on the work of Martin Heidegger, Peter Sloterdijk and Bernard Stiegler.
     
    Sources
    Pieter has published widely on these topics, but some of the articles that I recommend in light of this episode are Thinking Technology Big Again(2020), Rethinking Technology in the Anthropocene (2021) and Other Turnings (2020). He is the co-author of the forthcoming book The Technical Condition: The Entanglement of Technology, Culture and Society (2022) which is an accessible introduction to philosophy of technology.
    The Ister (2004) - a philosophical road movie https://icarusfilms.com/if-ist 

    Bernard Stiegler (2017). Philosophizing by Accident: Interviews with Elie During
    Clive Hamilton (2017). Defiant Earth: the Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene

     

    What's YOUR interpretation of Plato's allegory? I would love to hear! Leave me a voicemail. It's really easy. You click the record button, speak, and hit send. I might play your message in a future episode and respond.

    Support me through patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lifefromplatoscave 



    I hope you enjoy the episode!
    Mario
    http://lifefromplatoscave.com/ 
     
    I'd love to hear your questions or comments:
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/lifeplatoscave 
    Insta: https://www.instagram.com/lifefromplatoscave/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifefromplatoscave 
    Illustration © by Julien Penning, Light One Art: https://www.instagram.com/light_one_art/ 




     

    • 2 hr 10 min
    Episode 12A - Travelling through Plato’s Cave

    Episode 12A - Travelling through Plato’s Cave

    Welcome (or welcome Back) to Life From Plato's Cave. This is a course in interdisciplinary philosophy in which we look at life - the part of life that interests you - from a new perspective in every episode. In each of the other episodes, I will interview a guest about their intepretation of Plato's Allegory of the Cave: philosophers, artists, literary scholars, phycisists, actors, psychologists, geologists and many more.

    In this first part of this episode, I'm speaking about how you could work with this podcast. I give a summary of Plato's allegory at the end. In the next part, I will give an overview of the eleven episodes so far and speak about what's coming in 2022.

    One of those things is that I opened a Patreon account! Support Life From Plato's Cave at https://patreon.com/lifefromplatoscave

    I hope you enjoy the episode!
    Mario
    http://lifefromplatoscave.com/ 
     
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/lifeplatoscave 
    Insta: https://www.instagram.com/lifefromplatoscave/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifefromplatoscave 
    Illustration © by Julien Penning, Light One Art: https://www.instagram.com/light_one_art/ 

    • 17 min

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