Monday, January 24, 2005

The Seductive Allure of the Platonic Ideal

Or, How Brain Chemistry Tempts Us To Do Dumb Things

Warning: this is a rambling-armchair-musing kind of post.

I learned in a seminar on psychoanalysis that the original meaning of the word seduce was: to traduce from duty, meaning that something is seductive if it pulls you away from what you ought to be doing. 

I learned in high school Humanities class about the concept of Platonic Ideals.  Of course, since most ideas are connected to most other ideas, in some way; and most ideas have been written aobut somewhere on the Internet, there is a paper about the Historical Context of Cognitive Therapy (135 Kb PDF) that you can read if you are snowed in or otherwise inclined to burn up a few clock cycles in your brain.  The paper explains how Plato's concept of Ideal Forms is part of the foundation of psychotherapy. 

In this post, I engage in idle, unsubstantiated speculation about the neurochemical basis for our enthrallment by the Platonic Ideal, and speculate about how this may lead us to draw false conclusions, and, basically, do dumb things.  Read the rest at The Rest of the Story