Another insomniac discovery: Philosopher Jason Reza Jorjani

I’ve appreciated parapsychologist Jeffrey Mishlove for years now, his knowledgeable conversations with interesting people. One of them has stood out for me during the past few 2 AM waking sessions, a philosopher who used to work in academia, but was then vilified by the NYT in a “slice and dice” operation, back in 2017. This caused him to lose his position at a college in New Jersey. I don’t know if he’s held any academic position since, but I doubt it. Mishlove appreciates him so much that he started a gofundme page for him.

I have already listened to a number of their video conversations, starting with one which woke me up, FAST. (If what I’ve selected does not put me back to sleep, my waking mind rejoices, and my need-for-more-sleep self complains; and vice versa: if whatever I’m listening to does not hold my interest, I fall asleep again, and have achieved the original goal.)

I began with a conversation about Plato, in which Rorjani referred to him as having offered his archetypal Ideas as a “Noble Lie” offering a way to structure what would otherwise be the unceasing flow of experience. “Noble” lie because, Rorjani claims, Plato didn’t believe in his unchanging abstract Ideas, he just used them heuristically, as a way to help stabilize society. Reminds me of my recent ruminations on the role of “institutions” .

We could say that any “structure” humans create, whether linguistic or materialized, is a “noble lie,” if we assume as Heraclitus does, that “you never step into the same river twice,” itself analogous to the oriental views of “maya.”

I will watch this video again. Not because I necessarily agree with Rorjani, but because I find his views — which range far and wide beyond Plato — fascinating and provocative. And for one who constantly wants to question my own ever-expanding world-view, I find this exercise of intrinsic value.

From there I segued to his view of philosophy itself, which I echo heartily. The genuine philosopher is a promethean figure, busting through paradigms.

Now, during my 2 AM trysts, I’ve begun to explore youtube offerings showing more of Rorjani’s wide-ranging and seemingly deeply sourced views of intellectual history, especially noting the central place of Iran (ancient Persia) in both his thinking process and his view of that fabled land as a nexus linking eastern and western philosophical culture and tradition.

 

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