[Buddha-l] the nestorian stele of chang'an

curt at cola.iges.org curt at cola.iges.org
Thu Dec 20 08:52:20 MST 2007

I think the relatively modern neologism "psychosis" is very different from the attic Greek "psykhosis".

My Greek is pretty minimal, but I think "psykhosis" means "that which animates, life force, animation". When combined with the prefix "metem-" I think it just means "the movement, or change, or progress of the life force". This is commonly expressed in the English phrase "transmigration of the soul".

On the other hand, I believe the modern "psychosis" comes from combining the Greek "psyche" (soul or mind) with the latin "-osis" which means "a disordered state".

Metempsychosis was well established in ancient "western" thought. It comes up often in Plato (Meno, Republic, and Phaedrus, especially), and also plays a prominent role in the Sixth Book of the Aeneid and in Cicero's famous "Dream of Scipio". The idea is often attributed to Pythagoras and/or Orpheus.

Curt Steinmetz

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Hayes" <rhayes at unm.edu>
To: "Buddhist discussion forum" <buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 6:13:09 PM (GMT-0500) America/New_York
Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] the nestorian stele of chang'an

On Wed, 2007-12-19 at 15:19 -0500, curt at cola.iges.org wrote:

> This is why I like the concept of "metempsychosis"

To each his own. I am not very fond of any kind of psychosis.

Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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