Thursday, March 24, 2011

Walking Through Aristotle

I'm through with Physics and into On The Heavens. In Physics he concludes there is no actual (separate) infinite; infinity is bound up in potentiality. The first principles [of Reality] are contraries and are at least two in number but no more than three. There is the first movent, itself unmovable, having no parts nor magnitude, bound with the moved, and eternal. Only circular locomotion is infinite. Nothing rests in a moment and nothing is moved in a moment either as a moment is indivisible. This follows because whatever moves is divisible. Only the sensible can be altered.

This is no true summary of the Physics but that is not my purpose. First, I'm not really capable of such a task. My personal journey through these thoughts is just that. Personal. I seek touchstones, places that resonate with my thought, faith, understanding. It is a rich field and there is more than I could ever write down.

Powers of nature, principles, manifest when the right conditions arise. Darkness calls (contrary) light out of itself. Light is a potency of the dark. This is the Greek idea of Logos and is also rendered "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God.” Logos refers to fundamental powers, principles, that have the ability to manifest themselves. The "light" in question is not mere self propagating magnetic fields, "physical" light. This is light as Idea and includes moral light, the light of truth, of understanding, of justice, and beauty. Perhaps all the concomitants of consciousness are a form of "light", powers of nature on a par with gravity. Doesn't Liberty shine forth an attractive force? Aren't we drawn to liberty as well as faith? We want to believe because we want to align with basic principles of nature, as if we had a choice. We want to reside in the Logos. I wrote elsewhere that the entelechy of potentiality is actuality. Truth is an eternal potency and eternally actualizing itself. The other concomitants are the same. "We", sentient life forms, created being(s), are the agency of this apotheosis and our "spirits" are in eternal motion, orbit, around the Divine Creative Spirit. Similarly, gravity holds planets in orbit around their stars.

Even our breathing follows the law of contraries. Nothing is closer to us than our breath. The law of contraries coupled with the law of potentialities means things familiar, such as the bilateral symmetry of biological organisms. The ramification of this is that any organism on any planet anywhere would likely be surprisingly familiar.* But also, this law would tend to mean, for instance, that whatever abominable monstrous evil one might imagine will eventuate somewhere, sometime. On the contrary, benevolent goodness and beauty beyond the ken of man will also come to be; beauty so terrible in its greatness that it is withheld from us because to look on it with mortal eyes would be to die.

That is Aristotle, my personal take thus far.

Finally, for today, in On the Heavens he begins by remarking on the trinitarian theme prevalent in nature. To have being in every respect is, he says, to be a body, not a line, not a plane, and it is only triads that we can refer to as all, not one, not both, but all. Referring to the Pythagoreans he notes that "the world and all in it is determined by the number three, since beginning and middle and end give the number of an 'all', and the number they give is the triad. And so, having taken these three from nature as (so to speak) laws of it, we make further use of the number three in the worship of the Gods." Protagoras was speaking of the Holy Trinity 500 years before Christ. Touchstone.

*Preserved here: "We know that mathematics are consistent throughout the Universe, and that physics is based on math and is also consistent throughout the Universe. We also know that the chemistry, which is based on physics and math is also consistent throughout the Universe. Since the math and the physics and the chemistry are consistent, it seems logical to assume that the biology of the Universe - which is based on the math, physics and chemistry - is also consistent. For example, consistent optics, derived from the physical principles of light interacting with gases and liquids, would lead to similar eyes. Consistent atmospheres with the same gases would lead to similar lungs and gills. The symmetry (left/right) of most physiques optimizes balance and control within a gravitational field, so physical laws point to similar physiological constructs. I think when we do finally encounter other life we (well, not me, you) will be startled at how similar to our own it is. Mother nature is consistent and her laws lead to the same outcome everywhere when applied locally, so it seems logically consistent that biological life will follow suit globally. Except, of course, that the people on all those other planets will all have strange foreheads. " (See Jim's comment at 9:59 a.m. at the jump)

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