Activating Your Inner Philosopher: Reflections About My Conversation with Johnny Price, Poet, Philosopher & Seeker of Truth
This post accompanies my new episode on Dose of Depth Podcast where I have a chat with Johnny Price, a poet, philosopher, sage and seeker of truth.
I hope to inspire you to activate your inner philosopher because the world needs your reflections about the meaning of your life within the context of all the chaos going on.
As CG Jung warned, the fate of humanity depends upon the self-reflecting individual. Too many are being swallowed up by mass-minded ideas(aka conspiracy theories) that are degrading standards of decency and resulting in loss of security and even life.
Just this week, a sixteen year old girl living in Utah needed police protection after a school board member posted something on social media implying the girl was trans. She wasn’t, which also isn’t the point. Religion has gone dark, sweeping up millions in hatred of what they fear without knowing exactly what they even fear. These are not the good guys. Hatred is contagious, but self-reflection can transform emotional reactions into strategic action to achieve a tipping point towards consciousness raising, collectively escaping the claws of emotional ignorance.
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Let’s get started . . .
The beautiful and striking images on Johnny’s Instagram page caught my attention first. I would linger in them, aware that my mind was caught off guard, which is always a good thing. They would stir up my unconscious. Then I started reading the long meandering posts that accompanied the images. They were like a stream of consciousness that contained so many golden nuggets that it was impossible for my mind to force a lazy and familiar interpretation. It felt like a seduction of sorts by the time I came across the black and white photo of Johnny Price looking stoic. Reading his profile only intrigued me more. Johnny calls himself a poet, philosopher, sage, shaman, Buddhist warrior monk in search of truth. And his collection of 2,000 books puts me to shame. Oh, and he’s working on his first novel.
Part of Johnny’s story is that after having lived what he called a devout Christian life, he felt called into ministry, where he found himself grappling with a notable avoidance of addressing inconsistencies within the teachings. This internal struggle led him to diverge from the conventional religious path.
Preparing for this interview was difficult because I sensed we could chat for hours and even days. I didn’t know what to focus on, and then … as I allowed myself to be still for a few minutes, three images or ideas burst out of my unconscious: The first was the role of the philosopher; then oddly, the movie Poor Things; and then the movie Aquaman and how I thought it perfectly illustrated the Jungian interpretation I read in Robin Robertson’s book, Beginner’s Guide to Revelation, A Jungian Interpretation.
Let me explain.
What Does it Mean to be a Philosopher?
I’ve often felt the blurred line between philosophy and depth psychology, and I did a little research, which I thought might interest you too. Wikipedia and the Department of Philosophy at Florida State University helped me out.
As usual, you have to intentionally uncover the presence of women in every field, and it’s no different in the field of philosophy. I’m sharing a little about one woman philosopher, because her story eerily lives on today. We find ourselves once again having to counter what is unleashed in the masses when religion becomes dark and seeks to control and repress individual freedom.
Hypatia was a Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was a prominent thinker in Alexandria where she taught philosophy and astronomy.
More from (Wikipedia).
“The Christian historian Socrates of Constantinople, a contemporary of Hypatia, describes her in his Ecclesiastical History:  There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time.
Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not infrequently appeared in public in the presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more.
According to Socrates Scholasticus, during the Christian season of Lent in March 415, a mob of Christians under the leadership of a lector named Peter, raided Hypatia’s carriage as she was travelling home. They dragged her into a building known as the Kaisarion, a former pagan temple and center of the Roman imperial cult in Alexandria that had been converted into a Christian church.There, the mob stripped Hypatia naked and murdered her using ostraka, which can either be translated as “roof tiles” or “oyster shells“. Damascius adds that they also cut out her eyeballs. They tore her body into pieces and dragged her limbs through the town to a place called Cinarion, where they set them on fire.
Hypatia’s death sent shockwaves throughout the empire; for centuries, philosophers had been seen as effectively untouchable during the displays of public violence that sometimes occurred in Roman cities and the murder of a female philosopher at the hand of a mob was seen as “profoundly dangerous and destabilizing”.
Neoplatonism and paganism both survived for centuries after Hypatia’s death, and new academic lecture halls continued to be built in Alexandria after her death. Over the next 200 years, Neoplatonist philosophers such as Hierocles of Alexandria, John Philoponus, Simplicius of Cilicia, and Olympiodorus the Younger made astronomical observations, taught mathematics, and wrote lengthy commentaries on the works of Plato and Aristotle. Hypatia was not the last female Neoplatonist philosopher; later ones include Aedesia, Asclepigenia, and Theodora of Emesa.
According to Watts, however, Hypatia had no appointed successor, no spouse, and no offspring and her sudden death not only left her legacy unprotected, but also triggered a backlash against her entire ideology.
Hypatia, with her tolerance towards Christian students and her willingness to cooperate with Christian leaders, had hoped to establish a precedent that Neoplatonism and Christianity could coexist peacefully and cooperatively. Instead, her death and the subsequent failure by the Christian government to impose justice on her killers destroyed that notion entirely and led future Neoplatonists such as Damascius to consider Christian bishops as “dangerous, jealous figures who were also utterly unphilosophical.” Hypatia became seen as a “martyr for philosophy”, and her murder led philosophers to adopt attitudes that increasingly emphasized the pagan aspects of their beliefs system and helped create a sense of identity for philosophers as pagan traditionalists set apart from the Christian masses. Thus, while Hypatia’s death did not bring an end to Neoplatonist philosophy as a whole, Watts argues that it did bring an end to her particular variety of it.“
Back to Activating Your Inner Philosopher . . .
I hope your blood is boiling now. When I saw the film about Hypatia, Agora, my body felt heavy and afraid at the memories that live in it of centuries of oppression of women, murders of women because men feared them and their mysterious ways.
Start your self-reflection journey today, wrestle with the big questions about why you exist right now during this chaotic time. What role are you playing and do you sense you’re being called to play a different role, one that contributes to consciousness raising?
The root of the word philosophy is “love of wisdom,” and of course wisdom is not mere information.
Philosophy is an activity of seeking to understand fundamental truths about oneself, the world in which they live, and their relationship to the world around them, including other humans. It is a systematic study of questions concerning topics like existence, reason, knowledge, value, mind, and language. It is a rational and critical inquiry that reflects on its own methods and assumptions.
The study of philosophy involves not only forming one’s own answers to such questions, but also seeking understanding of the way such questions have been answered in the past. What often motivates the study of philosophy is not merely the answers or arguments themselves but whether the arguments are good, and the answers are true. Finally, philosophy is a lens through which many topics can be considered, including law, religion, the mind, feminism, science, literature, history, the arts, language, politics.
I suppose a philosopher then is who loves knowledge and contemplating how it is acquired, who is self-reflective about the meaning of their own existence within the collective of humanity, who can consider and hold the tension between competing theories and views to discover truth for oneself, and even enjoys inspiring others to wonder about these things.
Does this describe you? Maybe in solitude? Or maybe you’ve found a community to share your thoughts about the big questions.
The Deeper & Sneaky Meaning of Films
In the film Poor Things, Martha and Harry refer to themselves as the philosopher and the cynic. They don’t take up much time in the film, but they play a significant role in Bella’s transformation. Together they frustrate and inspire Bella to wrestle with big questions for herself, not providing answers, rather insisting that she come to her own conclusions, which she does. As we transition to the final act of the movie, we see a surreal Image of Bella Standing tall and walking over a bridge carrying a suitcase full of her newly formed opinions.
Finally, my mind went to the movie Aquaman. Yep, you heard that right. In addition to being in love with Jason Momoa, the film brought to life what I had just read in a book back then by Robin Robertson titled Beginner’s Guide to Revelation: A Jungian Interpretation. My mind was blown considering the psychological truths that the analyst explored which appear in the last book of the New Testament of the Christian Bible, which is presented as a dream rich with symbols and visions. Then I got overwhelmed again by the richness of exploring the symbolism of the seven churches as attitudes present today as we transition from the chaos of today to an expansion of consciousness. The seventh church is the new attitude which is not yet conscious.
In the film Aquaman, there are seven kingdoms that emerge after Atlantis sinks due to its hubris and arrogance. The Fisherman Kingdom is made up of philosophers and intellectuals and its king is murdered by King Orm who is set on retribution against the land dwellers, which he knows will end up destroying everyone.
Aquaman proves he is worthy enough to secure the powerful trident and ride the beast to battle once he survives the humbling journey to the Missing Kingdom, which is guarded by the Trench beasts. These breasts have no capacity for reason, only primal instincts to attack. It’s like a regression or circling back to get the new insight needed to evolve.
What connects all these meandering thoughts? A constant death and rebirth process not only for individuals and societies, but of the entire collective of humanity. There is a role for the philosopher during these times, and we need as many people as possible to activate their inner philosopher to accelerate the expansion of consciousness before it’s too late.
So today, I’m asking you to engage your inner philosopher and wonder about the meaning of your existence and the role you might sense you’re being called to serve during this chaotic time where many systems are being dismantled.
Can you surrender to the change that wants to happen? I’m on a mission to inspire more people to self-reflect by learning the language of their unconscious.
Enjoy this piece written by Johnny Price
Deep within, our awareness casts suspicion on our perceptions of life.
Attempting to dismiss instincts due to fear,
an obsessive trait compels acknowledgment.
We can no longer deny, allowing dread to cloud clarity and perpetuate illusions – outright lies.
In the deepest part of our soul, an inner dimension reveals truth.
Not the truth of philosophy, mathematics, or history, but a disclosure that arises in quiet moments when life’s routine becomes transparent.
A burst of sublime meaning emerges,
vital encounters shedding light on a truth beneath the fabric of ordinary lives.
An immense awakening occurs – a realization that our held life may be more folly than imagined.
This epiphany possesses the power to unlock life’s mystery,
if we submit to leaving behind commitments to security and the familiar.
Embracing the obscurity within freedom,
newfound transparency opens endless opportunities to stroll naked under the stars.
Finally, comprehension dawns that limits are mere illusions,
overshadowed by the fear of understanding our inherent boundlessness.
The journey unfolds, a life woven with introspection, challenging preconceptions,
and embracing the profound complexity of our existence.
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