Thursday, March 5, 2009

A reply to Aristotle that would make Plato proud

Connections highlights interesting and delightful folks I'm meeting along The Sage Age journey.

My Twitter friend Dana Ben-Yehuda has delivered perhaps the best response I've ever seen to an idea presented by Aristotle.

My Twitter post was: “Aristotle stated all things fell to Earth because all was made of earthly substances and were attracted to their natural home.”

Dana's response was: "Does this mean that what we call death is really just that our spirit is attracted to its natural home and falls up?"

Besides her keen wit, Dana's reply also alludes to a disagreement between Plato and Aristotle. The two great philosophers are pictured here in a partial of the painting by Raphael, with Plato on the left and Aristotle on the right. The way their hands are pointing indicates the difference in their philosophies. Plato's famous notion of the Realm of Ideas and the templates of the Forms was transcendent and mystical in nature. Aristotle's views were based in realism and observation of actual events.

Plato's suggestion that the repository of the Immutable Forms being transcendent was revisited in more modern times by Carl Jung and most recently by Morphic Fields expressed in Rupert Sheldrake's book The Presence of the Past.

The painting is generally called "The School of Athens", which was founded by Plato. Aristotle attended this school and often argued with Plato and criticized his writings. Aristotle's own writings on ethics, physics, and metaphysics remained the foundation of the Church's scientific attitude until the European Renaissance.