Aristotle’s Metaphysics was a part of my main focus recently. I did not cultivate a habit of writing about everything that I read, for I read really, really a lot, but I was moved this time; it challenged my thoughts. It challenged my inquisitiveness.
I will start with a craft, knowledge, wisdom, and ideas regarded art. Who has a more profound insight into the essence of creating and creation itself, and therefore a knowledge about it - the one with a bare experience of the exact process, and through that process inevitably individual experience which knowledge solely cannot reach, or knowledge as a universal principle is the most comprehensive, therefore no experience is needed? There might be a possibility of pursuing the first principle of the creation inside of the craft - men did not invent a fire from the idea of a fire, men have found it, discover it through a manual craft, a bare craft led to a surprise of discovery. Michelangelo said that he saw an angel in a marble and carved until he set him free. Did he put the idea of an angel in the marble, or there has already been an angel (eternal possibilities of forms from a single matter) galvanized by a creative way of thinking? Even if the rest of us might have an idea, the manual craft is what set an angel free, not solely the idea, though knowing everything about the craft of sculpturing will not make one an artist. There is no suspiciousness about Michelangelo’s competence, for his wisdom came from the place of individual experience followed by a visible result, which, on the other hand, a priory imply neither the awareness of the process nor the wisdom as a prior principle. Applied work deals with a temporary, not the eternal, except if we grant that singular entity inherit the eternal. Without wisdom, in terms of such that have an excess to a higher level of consciousness, there is no angel in marble to be seen, and it is certainly not something utilitarian but rather artificial. Codependence of the two is the answer, or is it disputable? The question that occurs is can one exist independently of the other and be sufficient, more so, can one arise from the other? According to Aristotle, there is no such idea that exists in a form that is a blueprint of a substance, but as an abstract (e.g. number). Substance and being are not identical with the body and other things are not modification of this, so the first principle of the bodies are not first principles of being due to number is the first principle; but if number as the first principle has no substance and body, for substance and beings is impossible to exist at all. If points and lines are substances more than bodies, and there are no perceptible bodies for them, there can be no substance. If the body is the higher degree substance, and they are more than body but not even an instance of substance, what being is? And what the substance is? And what about the process of becoming and perishing of the substance? If the bodies are divided and only one part chase to be, from what do they come into being?
Majority of the time I am preoccupied with ideas; neither they always reflect my reality nor the other way around. Kierkegaard said that our life always reflects our domain though, so he makes me feel guilty and inadequate in the same manner as Rilke. Finish a task and create something are two immensely different things. Without the ideas, there is no creation, but are they the first principle; the cause? Now inevitably I am reminded of Classical Greece and the challenging difference between the philosophy of Plato and his pupil Aristotle given ideas. In his Theory of form Plato discuss reality and see it as a shadows - different forms as a manifestation of one, single, unique, universal, unchangeable and therefore true and eternal idea that exists in non-material world of the ideas, and is part of our subconscious mind (Jung will later talk about the same and label it as a Common consciousness). The world is completely done, and nothing more is to be created which already do not exist in the world of forms, but only manifested as shadows in its diverse forms. I will try to illustrate what Plato meant by that: There is the form of an elephant with a trunk in a divine world of eternal forms and all the other elephants on earth are the shadows of the original. It begs the question if we cut trunks to all living elephants on Earth, will the eternal idea of an elephant remain with a trunk? Plato says yes. The phenomenon on Earth do not exist but as a shadow of a one form (Darwin would counteract with his changeable species according to environmental adaptations). Human, as half God half animal, has all the forms in subconsciousness from the very first moment, they not born as a tabula rasa and creation is an act of stepping into a higher level of consciousness and became aware of those forms. Human, as a most profound creation of God, is given some of their treats such as self-awareness and the ability to access to the word of the ideas (unreachable to animals). But humans are unable to create elephants (another being) which leads me to Aristotle and his discussion that is much more concentrated on artists and the ideas that are not Gods creations but rather human creations. He took the reverse path when it comes to forms, he claims that child sees an elephant prior then it creates an idea of an elephant with the trunk in his head. According to his theory (which is so interesting to me because it touches a subject of ‘what is an art and what is not an art’), all things exist in the world of ideas but in their abstract form. An elephant on earth is a shadow of an abstract idea of an elephant (abstraction doesn’t necessarily assume trunk), and the art made by a human is a shadow of a shadow. An elephant itself is not a piece of art but rather Gods creation of an eternal abstract, but if human paint an elephant, draw an elephant, make a sculpture of an elephant, write about an elephant, put an elephant is some different context etc. that is art. I am reminded here of the phenomenon of nudity where a human body is represented as a form of art when actually it is not. Cut out the context and observe nudity out of the contexts in which it is has been put (a movie etc.) is to take of the artistic part and observe it ‘just for the sake of nakedness’, which is not a form of art in any sense. There is also something very challenging in how Aristotle perceive abstract art as a form that is nearest to the divine, nearest to the abstract world of infinite and eternal. It is a huge subject but if I open it I will sidetrack too much now. Though I do not vehemently recontour, there are many chinks regarded that assertation. But considering music as the most abstract form of all arts which communicate directly with a subconscious mind, partly I agree.
As someone who has never been very successful and skilled concerning applied natural science such as physics tasks (I will not even try to diminish that fact due to some of my teachers might be reading this text), I am going to base my considerations exclusively on a philosophical way of thinking, which, of course, do not represent my determine assertions but rather possibilities that occur, moved by the subject I am currently reading about; in this case Metaphysics. There is one book that came to my mind while discussing forms, it is Balzac's Seraphita (androgyne being that adopted philosophy of Emanuel Swedenborg). Number as a first principle and infinite numbers as a fact and form of abstraction is unreachable for a human brain to completely adopt in conscious. Science is limited for various of reasons. It relies on the senses (‘I do not believe until I see, hear or feel an experimental proof), and senses are limited (we did not see the viruses before microscope, we just experience the consequences of it, but not the cause). Science is work in progress, therefore if there is still no tools to measure, it does not deny existence (same example with a microscope). In math, there is a great order which can inevitably be proven, though human joggle with terms such as coordinate system in which x and y are infinite numbers. If a human, as the most completed God's creation, is ternary, it is a priory not given to him the complete inside of eternal, due to a proven fact that the senses are limited. For mathematicians number is a fact, it exists. For every scientist number exists, though it cannot be proven - we do not know where it begins and where it ends. For mystics there is God. Both cannot be proven. But still, a lot of scientists deny mysticism because it cannot be proven. Science believes in number even its infinity is impossible to understand, but not in God. Who or what gave humans anticipation of eternity if such is for us fragmentary understandable? It is not plausible to claim that men gave to himself something that is for him only partly understandable and not knowable.
The question of movement. Where does it begin? Can we posit that ‘work of God’ is to be found somewhere between the infinite nature of uncontaminated substances and eternity of God spheres like entity is to be found between infinite divisions (decimals) and infinite numbers (whole numbers)? If a movement is determined by a number, what determines a number? A word? If a word exists in infinite as an abstract form - I’m going back to Aristotle and his considerations - do elements exist as a potential as potency is prior to causing? But not every potency necessarily has to be manifested. If so, then everything that is potential is capable to become, as a potential is part of the infinite (it is not, but I will come to this matter later in this text, I need to build this slowly). And if the elements are divided and an eternal number is a unity, whence they cannot as such exist out of the sensible word. But then how can they exist as a matter, and where is their prior principle if not in the unit of eternal which is undecided and unchangeable? If there is no form but rather an abstract idea that inhabits every unit that has been manifested, where does the idea of a form comes? If we posit eternal as an energy field (Love as it vibrates the highest) that inhabits every unit made of substance, a decay of a matter still remains unexplainable - if infinite energy inhabits the substance, which is a unit and therefore inseparable, there is no such part that can be divided and decay. If the first principle is energy, God or Love, and it is not a substance (a substance is ‘this’ not ‘such’) and it is universal, not individual, then what is a prior to the individual? No science and knowledge is possible without universal principles that are indisputable. Language is based on the idea of the common principles, otherwise, conversation and reading would be impossible. If someone who is talking to us mentions word elephant, neither we stop and imagine every single detail about that elephant nor we see a real elephant; if we read a book this way, we would read one sentence all our life. More so, one word all our life hence imagination is infinite. An elephant is a universal denote, whence adage that two people never read the same book. In word elephant, there is an infinity of possible meaning that is individual, but the form remains common as a universal principle. Reader and writers joggle with words/terms same as mathematicians joggle with numbers/lines/dots, same as mystics believe in angels, for the cause of each is unmeasurable and part of an abstract infinite.
Following this, there is a question related to a talent. I kind of contemplated all my life about a talent in general and do I have this ‘gift’. I will posit the subject as a general principle, no exact equation for that matter to be solved, yet there is still some undeniable ‘thing’ about talent, far from the superficial deliberations based on categorizations of dyad: subjectivism - objectivism.
To observe more clearly, the easiest way for me is to extend (not sure if this verb suits, ‘to switch’ is probably more suitable) the perspective from a theory of relativism to extremes, for under a lightening of relativism there is an eternal ambiguity, and therefore this discussion is irrelevant, and scarcely any theory would be able to impose something plausible. More so, to expose the example and put it under magnifier makes the subject more clear I assume. There is a little boy named Wolfgang Amadeus who sit beside a piano and compose The Magic Flute, the rest of us just sit. That 'thing' that makes the difference between him and the rest of us, that is a talent. But where is its first principle? In potency that came into being by movement? Is so, how come some humans have it and some do not? Neither is persuadable that the first principle is not applicable but selectively, nor we should search an answer solely in genetics, given the Mozart example.
In which capacity potency of a being or a thing and reality are aligned? If we assume in their full capacity, for the ideas should contain traits such as smell and texture. I thought about this a lot. The potency of being (becoming) and capability of being (can) have to be distinguished. Prior deals with the infinite in terms of manifestation, while posterior deals with traits of a matter i.e. movement (capacity to move). Whence privation might be in a capacity of becoming, or trait that being posses in normal circumstances but that is for whatever reason disabled. But if the movement is the first principle, then the substance cannot exist separable from a capacity of that very first principle, whence there is no being deprived of that capacity. Such does not exist. Forms of arts are soulless, therefore are deprived of movement, therefore separable of the first principle, therefore they have to exist in some other form that occurs to a human being (an artist) other than the one of a first principle which is unknowable (where it begins and where it ends). If so, then my main question ‘where the ideas come from’ should be knowable and scientifically proven.
And it is not.
If an art is indivisible from senses, am I a writer of this text only while I am writing it (movement)? And when I am not, I am not a writer? Is this text readable only while someone is reading it? Am I blind every time I blink? If we presume that a dancer is a dancer only while dancing (if she is a ballerina that does not mean she is on a stage at the moment), which is a potential and not a movement, whence I am a writer of this text also while I am not writing it. Consequently, as in potential, there is no before and an after, whence I am a writer of this text even if I never start writing it. And everybody else as well. Overall, when I finished this text I am no more a writer of this text that anybody else is.
This text - if it exists as a form of a potential which is not mine or yours but a universal first principle, why did I write it and somebody else did not? And if it is readable, then there is no such reader to make the assessment about it, inasmuch as the text itself contained such a trait in its potential even before it has been written. Is a grapefruit bitter by itself or through our senses, and why to me personally grapefruit is not bitter at all, but my friend cannot stand it? Is it bitter, or is it potentially bitter, and if posterior than this text is not readable until it has been read. And I am not a writer of this text while I am not writing it. Let us posit this: I am a writer of this text, or not the writer of this text, before I have written it or after; and I am also a writer and not the writer before and after if I have not written it, whence everyone else is a writer of this text while still not written, but after it has been written as well. So how can this text be mine? If it is not mine, how can I call myself a writer of this text? I am no more writer of this text that I am a composer of The Magic Flute. If we observe a talent only through attempts (I tried to compose and failed), then there is no such form in the world of ideas that are abstract and universal and therefore exist separately from substances or senses, but rather indivisible from an artist and his craft/movement. On the contrary, if it exists before, then it exists after as well, whence if I delete this text I am still a writer of this text. But if I delete this text, it is not readable, consequently, I cannot be a writer of something that is not readable. If I am a writer of this text only while readable than ballerina is a dancer only while her dance is watchable.
Thinking about this I immediately recall the question of ‘now’ in time. 'Now' is not a substance, yet always is, it is not coming into being or ceasing to be, but it seems always different - a proof that it is not a substance.
From Aristotle’s point of view (and this is the main point where he counteracts with Plato regarded to ideas), the actuality is prior to potentially. I find this really interesting. Let us see: If all things considered above are accurate, what arises is a huge inquire of individual and objective truth. If we grant that the truth is inseparable from senses and not knowledgeable, there is neither eternal condition nor sustainability and therefore no such thing as the first principle.
To illustrate, if I fall asleep in the theatre, I am blind and the ballerina is not dancing. If so, there is no one truth but rather countless truths.
Is so, the science does not exist.
Now, there are two things to distinguish when it comes to potentiality. The eternal things and perishable things. If we grant that the actuality is prior to potential, we have to grant that it is a principle only to perishable things as well, thus eternal things do not exist potentially. And there is for a very simple reason: Potency of actuality has to contain the opposite. If something is potential, it might contain a capability of becoming, but it might not contain a capability of becoming as well. Regarded eternal things, there is no such ambiguity. Therefore, eternal things are prior in substance than perishable things (form), but deprived of potentiality. To illustrate, if the first movement is eternal, Earth is turning around consequently and there is no potency of stopping or tiredness, for there is no such ambiguity in eternal. Therefore, the ideas of actuality might be reachable to science, but the first principle of eternal not.
Further, if we grant that forms are actuality and do not exist but as a potentially (abstraction), and as potentiality are not eternal or part of the first principle, where the ideas come from? (My foremost inquire and the reason why I decided to immerse myself in philosophical state of mind). The ideas are certainly potential in substance and form, but are not part of the eternal, for regarded the eternal, there is no such probability as not becoming. Now, if we differ two first principles, one for the perishable things, and the other for the eternal, then the things that fall under the principle of the eternal are eternal as well, and they are not. The same unsolvable challenge arises regarded perishable things, if the forms are actuality and perishable, then the first principle of the forms cannot be eternal inasmuch eternal things do not contain duality, i.e. a potency of not becoming. On the contrary, if we assume that there is only one first principle for all the perishable forms (substance) and all the eternal (number), then it is a principle of a unit. But the substance is divided, it is ‘this’ and not ‘such’. All forms of a substance cannot be observed under the same undivided first principle. If they can, all things are the same.
If they can, science does not exist.
We need to distinguish creation as a consequence of human, and creation as a consequence of nature or God, so humans creation is one step under creation which is a cause of a first principle, that is why Aristotle labeled it as a shadow of a shadow. Human’s create actuality out of something that already exists potentially (which is not the case with the eternal, as we already discussed). If the knowledge to create the eternal is unreachable for the first principle of the eternal is unknown, how can we ever claim that something which does not exist in potentiality does not exist at all when all things (made of a substance or not) are knowable only if they exist as a potential? Noticing a perfect order in math does not assume knowing the first principle of the eternal. We still do not know the first principle of number. Noticing the consequence of movement (Earth is turning around) does not assume knowing the first principle of movement.
If the actuality is prior to the idea, and actual is a form of a substance, therefore there has to be something of which the substance is prior. Stating that lines and dots have caused forms of a substance is not plausible, for lines and dots cannot be made out of substance. On the contrary, if there is the idea for each thing, where does it come from if not from numbers? From what sort of number will this man and this animal come from if we assume that similar numbers are infinitely many, so any particular 5 is no more a man than any other 5, and no more an animal than any other 5. So where the ideas come from if a number comes from 1 and from infinite dyad, and the principles or elements are said to be principles or elements of the number, and the ideas are neither prior nor posterior to the numbers?
If we grasp that an idea is a number, we need to determine whether that number is infinite or finite. If it is infinite and every idea is an idea of something, and every idea is the infinite number, that infinite number has to be the idea of something. But the infinite number is neither odd or even, therefore indivisible, therefore not a part of potentiality, therefore it cannot be one universal idea as we differ them and they are a part of potentiality, therefore capable of becoming, which infinite number is not. On the contrary, if we grasp that it is finite, then where is the end? If a number is a separable unit in which small number is part of a bigger number (2+3=5), then, if 5 is Lord Byron and 3 is a pig, Byron would be partly a pig. Not sure if I illustrated this well, I hope I did. If we assume that 3 is an idea of a pig, but 3 as a part of another bigger number is an idea of something else, whence 3 also is not a pig but it is a unit as well (1+2). If we assume that only 1 is a unite (1+1+1), then we also have to assume that number is infinite and indivisible and therefore one single idea - we already determined that it is not plausible regarding ideas whence all forms, elements, and substance would be the same.
This plainly crystalized to me while I was reading Metaphysics, so I will try to formulate it in a way that makes sense, and in a way that it is not perplexing but rather ascending I hope:
The reason why the first principle of infinite and eternal things is not knowable is that the cause of it, same as the consequence, is not part of potentiality, and potential (whether in becoming or in not becoming) is what is knowable for humans, and therefore can be taken into a scientific assessment.
The first principle of number is not knowable for the number itself is a consequence that is not part of the potentiality. If it would be part of potentiality, it would also mean that it is possible that the number is potentially not; but eternal things cannot be potentially not, therefore number always is. Whence cause of number is eternal as well and presumably a consequence of some other cause that is not potential as well but rather eternal, and therefore cannot be knowable.
The first principle of movement is not knowable for there is no such possibility that the consequence, which is movement itself, is potential. If it would be potential, it would also contain a possibility of being as well as not being; and movement always is, there is no such possibility that movement is not, therefore the cause of movement always is. Presumably, the cause of movement is a consequence of something eternal that also does not contain ability of not being, whence it is not potentially, whence it cannot be knowable.
I will stop here.