The Prometheus Trust exists to encourage, promote and assist the flowering of philosophy as the living love of wisdom; and is dedicated to the re-establishment of philosophy as the primary education of the human soul.
To support this aim, it has undertaken an ambitious publishing programme and now offers the world's most comprehensive catalogue of works on Platonic philosophy; some 50 titles range from Homeric and Orphic writings, through the complete works of Plato and Aristotle, on to the inspired writings and commentaries of such later luminaries as Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus and Damascius. The Trust also offers regular public lectures and workshops and holds an annual conference for academic and non-academic lovers of wisdom.
For the last eight years the Trust has organised educational activities in which soul speaks to soul, over-passing the limitations of written philosophy. As Plato says in his Phaedrus, beyond the written word is another discourse, “written in the soul of the learner” This is a living practice which nurtures wisdom together with the enthusiasm to persevere in its realization, and which was always considered the true work of Plato’s Academy. For, as the Phaedrus then says, “a much more beautiful study will result from discourse, when someone employing the dialectical art, and receiving a soul properly adapted for his purpose, plants and sows in it discourses, in conjunction with science; discourses which are sufficiently able to assist both themselves and their planter, and which are not barren, but abound with seed; from whence others springing up in different manners, are always sufficient to extend this immortal benefit, and to render their possessor blessed in as high a degree as is possible to man.”
The essential elements of philosophy are love, wisdom and truth; and, as such, they are not the prerogative of any particular expression of human philosophic endeavour, but are the foundation of every genuine movement towards universal harmony, justice and good. From this standpoint, The Prometheus Trust promotes philosophy per se, and yet recognizes the Platonic tradition as the most consistent and profound expression of its essential elements that have been presented to mankind in its search for meaning, understanding, reality and certainty.
The Athena Academy of Philosophy
The Prometheus Trust is now planning to establish a permanent home for this work, dedicated to all those disciplines that are necessary for the realistic pursuit of philosophy as the living love of wisdom. The proposed name for this establishment is The Athena Academy of Philosophy, and it will serve as a central resource for the development of philosophic learning, practice, devotion and expression. Its purpose is to promote and to assist soul-culture, in order that individuals, and through them societies in general, may develop the essential faculties and energies that are the very fabric of the human condition, and the basis for the life which is at once progressive and liberating, just and good. This living pursuit of wisdom is intensely practical, beneficial and life-affirming, both to the individual and to society at large. It necessitates a clear understanding of the nature of the human soul, the nature of the world that we live in, and our proper relation to the whole. Lack of this understanding has led to the present crisis in the world - a crisis of individuals, of societies and of the planet itself. If the words of Plato are true, that “the human race will not be liberated from evils, till either the genus of those that philosophize with rectitude and truth obtains the government of political affairs, or those that govern in cities, from a certain divine allotment, truly philosophize”, then the time is ripe for dedicated and willing individuals, any of whom may then become such governors or leaders, to pursue philosophy as the living love of wisdom, in an environment dedicated to that purpose. It is for this, and in this spirit, that the work of The Athena Academy of Philosophy will be undertaken for the benefit of all humanity and of the planet upon which we live.
Our vision for the Academy
We envisage that the Academy will be a centre of true learning and education – a home for those who wish to cultivate wisdom, and its attendant beauty, through weekend seminars, longer term study, or by visiting for informal discussion of philosophic insights. We also expect to provide a centre for the arts and sciences; a place for people of different traditions to meet and exchange ideas; a home for those who wish to renew their perspective on life; a sanctuary of beauty to inspire quiet meditation; a temple for the contemplation and recognition of divinity: in a phrase, a crucible of transformation.
The Academy will therefore need a library, seminar and lecture rooms, residential facilities for visitors and students, sufficient space inside and outside for private discussion and study, a peaceful garden, and a dedicated area for private and communal meditation and devotion.
Your assistance in bringing this vision into actuality
This goal can be achieved in a number of ways, such as the donation of land and buildings, or of funds to purchase these and to set up a foundation to meet early running costs, or a combination of both..
This direct appeal is an expression not only of the need for support, but even more of the need for such an Academy itself, where good men and women can pursue, express and share philosophy as the living love of wisdom.
It is the Trust’s firm belief that, while many other charitable works are worthy of support, there are few, if any, projects which address the long-term needs of the human race as directly as The Athena Academy. Without the wisdom which true philosophy cultivates, well intentioned donations to charitable causes are unlikely to have their desired effect, and at best will provide only short-term solutions. Conversely, with such wisdom, creative solutions can be found which do not rely on the overuse of resources, and which are long-lasting and wide-ranging, bringing true justice to all humanity and beautifying that portion of the universe over which humankind has influence. Philosophy enables humans to distinguish the truly good from the apparently good – and this is, surely, the primary requisite if we are to change our world, our society and ourselves for the better. Whatever you feel able to give to this project, be it great or small, we are sure that its effect will far exceed anything easily imagined.
The full establishment of the Academy implies a very considerable endowment, but the Trust is happy to proceed in stages, using available resources to make a start towards the long term aim. If you think you can help in any way, we would be delighted to discuss our plans with you. We would also be very willing to accept pledges of support which can be called upon when there are sufficient funds so pledged.