Tag Archives: Natura naturata

The logical ballerinas: “Progress”.

 

 

“Progress”.

In the image that flies over these phrases you see a centaur born inside the imagination of the painter John La Farge. A female centaur, actually. It is very likely that some day we will see those beings galloping and chatting and thinking and kissing in our parks, and on the streets; and it will also be very likely that someone will yawn watching them (the human being has a shocking  capacity to routinize prodigies) [See “Human being”]. I also imagine someone yawning, bored, devoured by the prosaic, in a glass house built in a ring of Saturn.

Progress. An almost mechanical mental association leads us to think about “technological” or “scientific” progress. How far can that Baconian magic go? I mean the so-called “Science”. What new essences -in an Aristotelian sense- are we going to be able to create with the matter that is given to us, that constitutes us? [See “Matter”].

Another type of progress: that of human societies (developed/non-developed countries). How can that be measured? Is a senior Google executive more developed than a Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer? Why?  What are we going for?

And another: “personal progress”. Where, in which realm, should the human being progress in order to reach his fullness? Is it possible personal progress in a society without progress?

It is assumed that believing in progress means believing that the number of happy people in Humanity can increase -progressively- and also the depth and “quality” of that happiness. But, is happiness so good? Is it the ultimate goal of our existence? Or is there something better, higher, than happiness? Maybe yes: freedom, creativity, admiration, creative suffering, love (even suffering love)…

But, in any case: What is exactly what is supposed to be progressing within human progress (in anticipation that at some point of time we can no longer sustain the universal “human”)? Can we talk about progress within God? Yes. Escoto Erígena, among many other thinkers, figured out – perhaps he felt- the possibility that God would go through a kind of metaphysical odyssey until it reached its own fullness.

Is it possible not to progress? Is there an option to return to models of society and morality as, for example, those that seem to offer the classical texts of Ancient Greece? I refer specifically to the supposed Socrates’ proposals that we find in Plato’s Crito: respect for laws, and the constant effort to improve but never, ever, break them: to configure them at the level of the human being. How high is that level?

I offer now some sketches of my ideas on what seems to be inside the flesh of the logical ballerina “Progress”:

1.- The big question might be whether or not the human being can intervene in the causal chains that, according to the materialists, move everything (societies included). If there is no freedom, the most we can yearn is that these deterministic chains provide moments of increasing happiness for a growing number of people (the basic presupposition of human progress).

2.- Both the parishioners of progressivism (the past was worse and all new -all “modern”- is good in itself) and those who long for restoration, or conservation, of past ideals (as it would be the case Leo Strauss) move, or are moved, towards something. There is an idea that magnetizes their action and their heart. They are lured, dragged, by something. And that something might be described as a poetic construct [See “Poetry” still in Spanish]. Political disputes are poetic disputes. The politician that offers more possibilities of dreaming and materializes those dreams will win those disputes. But always temporarily.

3.- We will progress or not towards something: towards an idea of ​​man and society -of cosmos eventually: an idea previously embodied in our mind by the magic work of some powerful word (human or non-human). It could be said -with Plato- that everything moves triggered by love towards an idea. To progress might mean to reconfigure the real in order to bring it closer to the ideal (to a myth, to a poetic construct in need of matter, of reality).

4.- Progress presupposes time. If, with Kant, and not only with him, we deny the existence of time beyond that which is the human psyche, we are forced to talk about something like progress in the contents of our consciousness: in our own mental secretions, if you want to put it that way. Thus, society, the entire cosmos indeed, would progress within us, because of our inner work. What a prodigious place we are! Or we have… Even if we do not really know what we are…

5.- Progress also presupposes a previous lack; this is: the description and acceptation of a state of pre-fulfillment. Which is the heaven of the Science-dream?  (By the way: heaven, like hell, is a place where there is no hope anymore). What heaven is supposed to be achieved with the scientific magic of Francis Bacon, that magic that is said it really works? Suddenly I imagine something like a network of magicians without conditioned matter (natura naturata), creating, being what they want to be in any possible universe. And impossible. Happy, if you want. Or unhappy. Is that an absolutely technological and free society? Is not that what is already happening behind the veil of the phenomenal?

6.- What if no more Progress were possible, if we had already achieve the limits of perfection (Spinoza)? Can any future, any progress, offer us more than what we already feel (and are) in a state of deep meditation? Maybe yes: Art; and love, love towards “the other” (even if that “other” is a Maya spell, an illusion). Love to children, to Nature … to the bodies and hearts of other human beings, and also of other non-human beings. Ultimately, to love Life, and also to love Death: to love Maya and its creators, with all its terrible shadows and dazzling lights. At whatever price, as Nietzsche would say.

7. – Recovering from the metaphilosophical abyss of Mysticism, already with the feet set on the solid land of Maya, one could ask about the type of society, about the idea of ​​social beauty, to which we should aim (the very idea we should plant in the precious garden of the soul of our children). Aristotle thought that the human being is actualized  -it reaches its essential fullness- when he philosophizes. So we should create a society of philosophers.

8.- Perhaps we could measure the progress of a society by the brightness of the eyes of its members. I have seen a very special brightness -really sublime- in the eyes of people who practice Philosophy; radical Philosophy: the one that dares to look and think – and even love- the mysterious immensity that we are and that surrounds us. I also see that shine in children. Not in all of them, unfortunately. Embarrassingly.  There is no possible progress that does not consider the laughter and illusion of children a priority. The extreme sacredness of children.

(Almost) in summary, I think we have to create a society of philosophers: big, ever expanding minds, and also hearts…. ready to open the (even legal) possibility of self-configuring of the human body -his visible part- and, thus, why not?, becoming a centaur: a centaur-philosopher able to gallop, with its eyes dazzling of Metaphysics, in an infinite meadow.

David López

The logical ballerinas: “Matter”.

 


 

“Matter”.

Another logical ballerina. Just a word. “Matter” is only -only?- a word.

And that word comes from the Greek hyle: a symbol that allows us to transmit a model of mind, a concept: something like the one we feel with the symbol “cut wood” or, also, “raw material with which to do anything”. In Latin the symbol is materia, and the concept associated with it would be something like “wood for any type of construction”.

And what is built with matter? The world? The whole reality? Can the matter itself be constructed with something even more esencial? Is the world a sum of material bodies (molecules, atoms, electrons, quarks…) that are enslaved to some eternal, never changing physical laws?

What is a dream made of? I mean, for example, a kiss on the lips of a beloved woman, a kiss wanted, desired, dreamt years ago. Is that kiss – and the hearts and fantasies in it intertwined – constituted by dead atoms subjected to physical laws as implacable and dead as numbers written with chalk on a blackboard?

Why do most models of reality feel dread towards freedom and creativity? Well, some of them do only consider possible the freedom and the creativity of human beings.

What is the matter of our dreams made of?

Some years ago I had this dream: I was walking down the staircase of the apartment building where  I lived until I was nine years old. On that staircase there was a window from which a garden could be seen. Suddenly I knew that I was actually dreaming, that I was inside my own artificial reality and that, therefore, I could build whatever I wanted within the unlimited matter of my mind.

I just wanted to fly. And, flying, I was able to reach the branches of one of the trees. Once there I spent a good while touching with my irreal fingers the dreamlike surface of that vegetable/dreamed entity that was being softly moved by a very real and mysterious  breeze.

The point is that I was able to touch the matter of dreams. It was one of the most extreme and sublime experiences I can remember from this level of consciousness. The matter of dreams/the matter of the real universe. Is there a difference? Shakespeare wrote what follows in the first scene of the fourth act of The Tempest:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

One may ask: Who -or What- sleeps in that sleep that envelops all lives? And, above all, is that dreamer a creator? Are dreams outcomes of a conscious creative effort?  Is it possible to freely configure matter or is it eternally subject to unconscious, but also omnipotent laws that determine all possible configurations of matter?

“Matter”. Before presenting my ideas / sensations, I would like to suggest the study of the following subjects:

1.- The Arche in ancient Greek Philosophy: What is everything made of? Hylozoism: Thales of Miletus (matter is alive; and all is full of gods).

2.- Matter in Aristotle: that out of which something is made.

3.- Neoplatonist philosophers (Plotinus, Proclus, Simplicius of Cilicia and Iamblichus): matter as pure receptacle without qualities or measure. I recommend once again the Philosophy Dictionary of José Ferrater Mora, now specifically his article “Materia”. It is written in Spanish, and, unfortunately,  not yet translated into English.

4.- Matter according to scientist thinking and to magical thinking (enslaved matter versus free matter).

5.- Dualists. Matter is Evil. Matter in Samkya metaphysics: suffering and slavery derive from identifying with the psychic-mental experience (prakriti or matter).The Charvakas of ancient India: matter is the only reality; and its great. Descartes´ dualism: body and mind as different realities.

6.- Matter in current Physics. The definition of Matter by CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire): “All ordinary matter in today’s universe is made up of atoms. Each atom contains a nucleus composed of protons and neutrons (except hydrogen, which has no neutrons), surrounded by a cloud of electrons. Protons and neutrons are in turn made of quarks bound together by other particles called gluons. No quark has ever been observed in isolation: the quarks, as well as the gluons, seem to be bound permanently together and confined inside composite particles, such as protons and neutrons”. The quark-gluon plasma. A.L.I.C.E.

I proceed now to share some personal philosophical sketches caused by the dance in my mind of the logical ballerina “Matter”:

1 .- First of all I think it might be useful to differentiate between matter as formless “mass” with potential to adopt any form (something that for the Neoplatonists was a receptacle without measures or qualities) and matter as “what fills the space”, or “set of physical bodies” , or “density variations in a unified field”, etc. The first conception of “matter” suggests a kind of “nothing” able, and ready, to be anything. The second is a legalized, enslaved something. I see more life (more truth) in the first concept of matter.

2.- If matter is such in-formable mass, we could imagine a prodigious “mass” that might had, at the same time, infinite potentiality (infinite capacity to adopt forms, to be a natura naturata) and infinite creative power (natura naturans). That prodigious “mass” may be called “God” (the metalogical God: being essentially formless) because it might be able to build any world (any form) with and within  Himself.

3.- I believe that the terms Matter, Maya and Magic might share the same ontological meaning: they name the essence of the show that is presented before our consciousness. And in that show our thoughts and our own psychical and optical self (what appears on the mirrors, what we see in the photos, the parts of our body we can see from the position of our eyes…) should be included. I agree with Schopenhauer that we are the secret directors of the theatre plays of our lives.

4.- According to the above I consider myself a materialist. Why not? I love the matter. A lot. I love the texture -sometimes fierce, terrible- of this prodigious dream. My rejection of materialism, let’s say, dualist materialism (the one that distinguishes between matter and spirit) derives from its contempt for the worlds and, over, for its contempt for the real, “imperfect” human beings.

5.- In a meditative state we can experience something that I would like to call “pure matter”. In such state, the experienced “nothing” [See “Nothing” still in Spanish] seems to be able of configuring itself in any imagined world: any Creation might occur in such prodigious Nothingness.

I return now to that dream in which I could touch the branches of a, lets say metaphysical, tree. What did I really feel while caressing that dreamlike vegetable, while breathing the air and light of “my” own imagination?

I felt astounded and amazed: feelings that -very powerfully- trigger Philosophy.

David López

Las bailarinas lógicas (Un diccionario filosófico): “Materia”.

“Materia”.

Una palabra.  “Materia” solo -¿solo?- es una palabra.

Proviene del griego hyle. Este símbolo permitía transmitir y compartir tribalmente un modelo de mente, un concepto: algo así como el que nosotros sentimos con el símbolo “madera cortada” o, también, “materia prima con la que hacer cualquier cosa”. En latín el símbolo fue materia, y el concepto a él asociado sería algo así como “madera para cualquier tipo de construcción”.

¿Y qué se construye con la materia? ¿El mundo? ¿Es el mundo una suma de cuerpos materiales que bailan y mutan, esclavizados, al son de unas leyes que lo explican, o que podrían explicarlo, todo?

¿De qué está hecho un sueño por fin conseguido? Me refiero, por ejemplo, a un beso en los labios de una mujer amada.  ¿Está ese beso -y los corazones y las fantasías en él entrelazados- constituido por átomos muertos sometidos a leyes físicas tan implacables como muertas?

¿Por qué la mayoría de las metafísicas tienen pavor a la vida, a la libertad, a la creatividad?

¿De qué está hecha la materia de los sueños?

Hace algunos años tuve yo este sueño: bajaba por la escalera de la casa de pisos donde viví hasta los nueve años. En esa escalera había una ventana desde la que se divisaba un jardín. De pronto supe que estaba soñando y que, por lo tanto, podía construir en la materia de mi mente lo que yo quisiera.

Y quise volar. Y volando pude llegar a las ramas de uno de los árboles. Allí pasé un buen rato rozando con mis dedos la superficie onírica de ese ser vegetal que se movía con la brisa de mi mente.

Pude tocar la materia de los sueños. Fue una de las experiencias más extremas y sublimes que puedo recordar desde este nivel de conciencia. La materia de los sueños/la materia del universo real. Shakespeare escribió esto en la primera escena del cuarto acto de La tempestad:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Somos de la misma materia con la que están hechos los sueños, y nuestra pequeña vida está rodeada por un dormir.

Cabe preguntarse: ¿quién –o qué- duerme en ese dormir que envuelve todas las vidas? Y, sobre todo, ¿ese soñador es creador? ¿Cabe moldear la materia o está ya eternamente sometida a leyes inconscientes de sí mismas?

La materia. Antes de exponer mis propias ideas/sensaciones, recomiendo echar un vistazo a los siguientes temas:

1.- La pregunta por el Arjé en los presocráticos: ¿De qué está hecho todo? El hylozoísmo de Tales de Mileto: la materia está viva, tiene alma (espíritu). Y todo está lleno de dioses.

2.- La materia en Aristóteles: “aquello con lo que algo se hace”.

3.- Neoplatónicos (Plotino, Proclo, Simplicio y Jámblico): materia como puro receptáculo sin cualidades ni medida. Recomiendo una vez más el Diccionario de Filosofía de José Ferrater Mora, ahora en concreto su artículo “Materia”.

4.- La  materia en el pensamiento cientista y en el pensamiento mágico. Materia esclavizada versus materia libre.

5.- Dualistas. La materia en la metafísica Samkya: el sufrimiento y la esclavitud derivan de identificarse con la experiencia psíquico-mental (la prakriti o materia). Los Charvakas de la India antigua: La materia es la única realidad. El dualismo de Descartes: mente y cuerpo como realidades diferenciadas.

5.- La materia en las Física actual. La definición del CERN: “All ordinary matter in today’s universe is made up of atoms. Each atom contains a nucleus composed of protons and neutrons (except hydrogen, which has no neutrons), surrounded by a cloud of electrons. Protons and neutrons are in turn made of quarks bound together by other particles called gluons. No quark has ever been observed in isolation: the quarks, as well as the gluons, seem to be bound permanently together and confined inside composite particles, such as protons and neutrons”. Recomiendo entrar en este enlace: A.L.I.C.E.

Procedo ya a exponer algunos esbozos filosóficos personales:

1.- Creo oportuno diferenciar entre materia como “masa” informe con potencialidad para adoptar formas (lo que para los neoplatónicos era un receptáculo sin medidas ni cualidades) y materia como “lo que llena el espacio”, o “conjunto de cuerpos físicos”, o “variaciones de densidad en un campo unificado”, etc. La primera concepción de “materia” sugiere una especie de nada que podría ser cualquier cosa. La segunda es ya un algo legalizado. Veo más vida (más verdad) en el primer tipo de materia.

2.- Si la materia es esa masa in-formable, cabría imaginar una “masa” prodigiosa que tuviera, a la vez, infinita potencialidad (infinita capacidad para adoptar formas, para ser una natura naturata) e infinita potencia creativa (natura naturans). Esa “masa” prodigiosa sería Dios –el Dios metalógico-: siendo Nada puede fabricar consigo mismo cualquier mundo.

3.- Creo que los términos Materia, Maya y Magia significan lo mismo: nombran la esencia del espectáculo que se presenta ante nuestra conciencia. Y en ese espectáculo estarían incluidos nuestros pensamientos y nuestro propio yo tanto psíquico como óptico (lo que aparece ante los espejos, lo que vemos en las fotos, la parte de cuerpo visible desde donde están nuestros ojos…). Estoy de acuerdo con Schopenhauer en que somos los secretos directores de esas obras de teatro.

4.- Según lo anterior me considero materialista. Amo la materia. Amo la textura –a veces feroz- de este sueño prodigioso. Mi rechazo al materialismo, digamos, dualista (el que distingue entre materia y espíritu) se deriva de su desprecio hacia los mundos.

5.- En estado de meditación podemos experimentar algo que me gustaría denominar “la materia pura”.  Nuestra conciencia siente que esa nada que es experimentada en meditación  [Véase “Ser/Nada”] podría autoconfigurarse en cualquier mundo imaginado: cualquier Creación podría ocurrir en esa prodigiosa Nada.

Vuelvo ahora a aquel sueño en el que pude tocar las ramas de un árbol. ¿Qué sentí en realidad mientras acariciaba ese vegetal onírico, mientras respiraba el aire y la luz de “mi “propia imaginación?

Sentí estupor maravillado: dos sensaciones que desencadenan el impulso filosófico con enorme fuerza.

David López