During a long meditation session recently, I recalled a thinker who I thought may be of interest to some of you: a philosopher in the pre-Socratic and ancient Greek tradition named Pierre Grimes.
Once upon a time, Pierre Grimes gave a series of lectures at the Philosophical Research Society. The Philosophical Research Society was interestingly founded by the famous scholar and Freemason Manly Palmer Hall, who authored the “encyclopedic tome” known as The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Aside from having one of the largest wisdom-literature libraries in the world, PRS offers an interesting synthesis between Eastern and Western thought from a variety of traditions.
Pierre Grimes presents one such synthesis. He describes himself as a practitioner of “philosophical midwifery,” which derives from Plato’s dialogue the Theaetetus. Grimes notes that “Socrates refers to his art as midwifery because he assists in the delivery of men who are pregnant with either true ideas or false beliefs.” He adds that “Socrates calls it an art because it is the application of a knowledge that benefits the subject. It is a purely rational method of pursing questions, a dialectic, that uncovers false beliefs, traces them to their origins, and by understanding their roots and influence on one’s life — deflates their influence.”
What I found interesting about Grimes’ approach was his use of Socratic dialectic as a mode of psychotherapy, which I haven’t seen before. The lecture I wanted to share exercises the dialectic with respect to deflating a compartmentalized false sense of self through formal meditation. Though a lot of Grimes’ lectures are worthwhile introductions to pre-Socratic, neo-Platonic, and ancient Greek philosophy generally (I particularly enjoyed this lecture on the obscure philosopher Proclus and this one on Plotinus, for example), the following lecture left an impression on me at a young age. Much like the work of Christopher Hyatt, this is one that I’ve returned to multiple times in my youth. One idea here that left an impression on me back then was the act of studying one’s tangents during a simple meditative exercise as one begins to drift into a daydream – how the narrative themes those tangents take reveal something about this compartmentalized false sense of self. Food for thought; and perhaps someone else viewing this will find something to digest.
July 27, 2022
 In the “Foreword” to the Diamond Jubilee Edition of this work, Henry L. Drake, the then vice president of the Philosophical Research Society, remarked how: “This volume reveals that the lore and legendry of the world, the scriptures and sacred books, and the great philosophical systems all tell the same story. Human ambition may produce the tyrant; divine aspiration will produce the adept. This then, seems to me to be the significant message of Manly P. Hall’s encyclopedic tome.” Manly Palmer Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy, Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings Concealed Within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of All Ages, Diamond Jubilee ed. (1988; repr., Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 2000), 2.
I felt strongly moved to explore the problems of humanity, its origin and destiny, and I spent a number of quiet hours in the New York Public Library tracing the confused course of civilization. With a very few exceptions modern authorities downgraded all systems of idealistic philosophy and the deeper aspects of comparative religion. Translations of classical authors could differ greatly, but in most cases the noblest thoughts were eliminated or denigrated. Those more sincere authors whose knowledge of ancient languages was profound were never included as required reading, and scholarship was based largely upon the acceptance of a sterile materialism.
To avoid a future of war, crime, and bankruptcy, the individual must begin to plan his own destiny, and the best source of the necessary information comes to us through the writings of the ancients. We have tried to select the most useful and practical elements of classical idealism, combining them into a single volume. The greatest knowledge of all time should be available to the twentieth century not only in the one shilling editions of the Bohn Library in small type and shabby binding, but in a book that would be a monument, not merely a coffin.
It is our sincere hope that this book will endure into the twenty-first century and continue to make available the contents of countless books ad manuscripts that have been destroyed by the ravages of war. This volume is not devoted to my own opinions but is a tribute to the memories and labors of the noblest of mankind.
 “Pierre Grimes & Philosophical Midwifery” (website), The Noetic Society, Inc., last modified January 22, 2013, https://www.noeticsociety.org/pierre-grimes.