If 10, people applaud you - so what? You think you will be in their mind, their attention forever? You will get some applause, they clap and then they go away; same people some other time may talk ill of you, too. You cannot separate time from an event, but you can separate the mind from both, time and events, and the way to do that is through meditation. Liberation is freeing the mind from time and events.
If you get bogged down by peer pressure, you can only be a follower and not a leader. Even if nobody comes along, walk by yourself, be a leader. When an attraction becomes a little difficult to attain, then love begins to happen more. And when it becomes a little difficult to capture love, possess love - then devotion starts happening.
From time to time keep a little distance from whoever is very close to you. Take a time off for your own space and go deep into your Self.
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A mistake should not be noticed - not justified, corrected or defended; so much energy is spent in trying to defend, such an unnecessary waste of time. Memory tends to hold on to the negative. That which reverses this tendency of holding onto the negative to becoming positive is spirituality. When you agree to be bogged down, that is the sign of failure. Resist getting bogged down. Be like a candle.
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We will see that the concept of causes, especially final cause, is very important for Aristotle, especially in his argument for the unmoved mover in the Physics. The soul is the actuality of a body. Alternatively, since matter is in potentiality, and form is actuality, the soul as form is the actuality of the body a Form and matter are never found separately from one another, although we can make a logical distinction between them.
For Aristotle, all living things are en-souled beings. Soul is the animating principle arche of any living being a self-nourishing, growing and decaying being. Thus, even plants are en-souled a Without soul, a body would not be alive, and a plant, for instance, would be a plant in name only. There are three types of soul: nutritive, sensitive, and intellectual. Some beings have only one of these, or some mixture of them. If, however, a soul has the capacity for sensation, as animals do, then they also have a nutritive faculty b Likewise, for beings who have minds, they must also have the sensitive and nutritive faculties of soul.
A plant has only the nutritive faculty of soul, which is responsible for nourishment and reproduction. Animals have sense perception in varying degrees, and must also have the nutritive faculty, which allows them to survive. Human beings have intellect or mind nous in addition to the other faculties of the soul. The soul is the source and cause of the body in three ways: the source of motion, the telos, and the being or essence of the body b The soul is that from which and ultimately for which the body does what it does, and this includes sensation.
Sensation is the ability to receive the form of an object without receiving its matter, much as the wax receives the form of the signet ring without receiving the metal out of which the ring is made. Mind nous , as it was for Anaxagoras, is unmixed a Just as senses receive, via the sense organ, the form of things, but not the matter, mind receives the intelligible forms of things, without receiving the things themselves. More precisely, mind, which is nothing before it thinks and is therefore itself when active, is isomorphic with what it thinks a To know something is most properly to know its form, and mind in some way becomes the form of what it thinks.
Just how this happens is unclear. So, mind is not a thing, but is only the activity of thinking, and is particularly whatever it thinks at any given time. This work is an inquiry into the best life for human beings to live. The life of human flourishing or happiness eudaimonia is the best life. Thus, it is possible for one to have an overall happy life, even if that life has its moments of sadness and pain. Happiness is the practice of virtue or excellence arete , and so it is important to know the two types of virtue: character virtue, the discussion of which makes up the bulk of the Ethics , and intellectual virtue.
Character excellence comes about through habit—one habituates oneself to character excellence by knowingly practicing virtues. To be clear, it is possible to perform an excellent action accidentally or without knowledge, but doing so would not make for an excellent person, just as accidentally writing in a grammatically correct way does not make for a grammarian a One must be aware that one is practicing the life of virtue.
If, says Aristotle, human beings have a function or work ergon to perform, then we can know that performing that function well will result in the best sort of life b The work or function of an eye is to see and to see well. Just as each part of the body has a function, says Aristotle, so too must the human being as a whole have a function b This is an argument by analogy.
So, the happiest life is a practice of virtue, and this is practiced under the guidance of reason. Examples of character virtues would be courage, temperance, liberality, and magnanimity. One must habitually practice these virtues in order to be courageous, temperate, and so forth. For example, the courageous person knows when to be courageous, and acts on that knowledge whenever it is appropriate to do so a Each activity of any particular character virtue has a related excessive or deficient action a The excess related to courage, for example, is rashness, and the deficiency is cowardice.
Since excellence is rare, most people will tend more towards an excess or deficiency than towards the excellent action. For example, if one tends towards the excess of self-indulgence, it might be best to aim for insensibility, which will eventually lead the agent closer to temperance. Friendship is also a necessary part of the happy life. There are three types of friendship, none of which is exclusive of the other: a friendship of excellence, a friendship of pleasure, and a friendship of utility b Likewise, the friendship of excellence is the least changeable and most lasting form of friendship b The friendships of pleasure and use are the most changeable forms of friendship since the things we find pleasurable or useful tend to change over a lifetime a For example, if a friendship forms out of a mutual love for beer, but the interest of one of the friends later turns towards wine, the friendship would likely dissolve.
Again, if a friend is merely one of utility, then that friendship will likely dissolve when it is no longer useful. Since the best life is a life of virtue or excellence, and since we are closer to excellence the more thoroughly we fulfill our function, the best life is the life of theoria or contemplation a This is the most divine life, since one comes closest to the pure activity of thought b It is the most self-sufficient life since one can think even when one is alone.
What does one contemplate or theorize about? Some have criticized Aristotle saying that this sort of life seem uninteresting, since we seem to enjoy the pursuit of knowledge more than just having knowledge. For Aristotle, however, the contemplation of unchanging things is an activity full of wonder. Seeking knowledge might be good, but it is done for the sake of a greater end, namely having knowledge and contemplating what one knows. For example, Aristotle considered the cosmos to be eternal and unchanging. So, one might have knowledge of astronomy, but it is the contemplation of what this knowledge is about that is most wonderful.
The end for any individual human being is happiness, but human beings are naturally political animals, and thus belong in the polis, or city-state. Indeed, the inquiry into the good life ethics belongs in the province of politics. Since a nation or polis determines what ought to be studied, any practical science, which deals with everyday, practical human affairs, falls under the purview of politics ab The last chapter of Nicomachean Ethics is dedicated to politics.
Aristotle emphasizes that the goal of learning about the good life is not knowledge, but to become good a5 , and he reiterates this in the final chapter b Since the practice of virtue is the goal for the individual, then ultimately we must turn our eyes to the arena in which this practice plays out—the polis. Laws must be instituted in such a way as to make its citizens good, but the lawmakers must themselves be good in order to do this.
Human beings are so naturally political that the relationship between the state and the individual is to some degree reciprocal, but without the state, the individual cannot be good. In the Politics , Aristotle says that a man who is so self-sufficient as to live away from a polis is like a beast or a god a That is, such a being is not a human being at all.
In Book III. The three good constitutions are monarchy rule by one , aristocracy rule by the best, aristos , and polity rule by the many. These are good because each has the common good as its goal. The worst constitutions, which parallel the best, are tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy, with democracy being the best of the three evils. These constitutions are bad because they have private interests in mind rather than the common good or the best interest of everyone.
The tyrant has only his own good in mind; the oligarchs, who happen to be rich, have their own interest in mind; and the people demos , who happen not to be rich, have only their own interest in mind. Yet, Aristotle grants that there is a difference between an ideal and a practically plausible constitution, which depends upon how people actually are b The perfect state will be a monarchy or aristocracy since these will be ruled by the truly excellent. Since, however, such a situation is unlikely when we face the reality of our current world, we must look at the next best, and the next best after that, and so on.
Aristotle seems to favor democracy, and after that oligarchy, but he spends the bulk of his time explaining that each of these constitutions actually takes many shapes. For example, there are farmer-based democracies, democracies based upon birth status, democracies wherein all free men can participate in government, and so forth ba The male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind. Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better , the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master.
Whereas the lower animals cannot even apprehend reason; they obey their passions. Politics b For Aristotle, women are naturally inferior to men, and there are those who are natural slaves. In both cases, it is a deficiency in reason that is the culprit. It is difficult, if not impossible, to interpret Aristotle charitably here. For slaves, one might suggest that Aristotle has in mind people who can do only menial tasks, and nothing more.
Yet, there is a great danger even here. We cannot always trust the judgment of the master who says that this or that person is capable only of menial tasks, nor can we always know another person well enough to say what the scope of his or her capabilities for thought might be. So even a charitable interpretation of his views of slavery and women is elusive. Motion is not merely a change of place. It can also include processes of change in quality and quantity a For example, the growth of a plant from rhizome to flower quantity is a process of motion, even though the flower does not have any obvious lateral change of place.
The change of a light skin-tone to bronze via sun tanning is a qualitative motion. In any case, the thing in motion is not yet what it is becoming, but it is becoming, and is thus actually a potentiality qua potentiality. The light skin is not yet sun tanned, but is becoming sun tanned.
This process of becoming is actual, that is that the body is potentially tanned, and is actually in the process of this potentiality. So, motion is the actuality of the potentiality of a being, in the very way that it is a potentiality. In Book 8. There could not have been a time with no motion, whatever is moved is moved by itself or by another. Rest is simply a privation of motion. Thus, if there were a time without motion, then whatever existed—which had the power to cause motion in other beings—would have been at rest.
If so, then it at some point had to have been in motion since rest is the privation of motion a Motion, then, is eternal. What moves the cosmos? This must be the unmoved mover, or God, but God does not move the cosmos as an efficient cause, but as a final cause. That is, since all natural beings are telic, they must move toward perfection. What is the perfection of the cosmos? It must be eternal, perfectly circular motion. It moves towards divinity. Thus, the unmoved mover causes the cosmos to move toward its own perfection. It is also arguably his most difficult work, which is due to its subject matter.
This work explores the question of what being as being is, and seeks knowledge of first causes aitiai and principles archai. First causes and principles are indemonstrable, but all demonstrations proceed from them. They are something like the foundation of a building. The foundation rests upon nothing else, but everything else rests upon it. Likewise, we can reason our way up or down to the first principles and causes, but our reasoning and ability to know ends there.
Thus, we are dealing with an inherently difficult and murky subject, but once knowledge of this subject is gained, there is wisdom Metaphysics a5. So, if philosophy is a constant pursuit of wisdom for Plato, Aristotle believed that the attainment of wisdom is possible.
Aristotle says that there are many ways in which something is said to be Meta. We can talk about the substance or being ousia of a thing what that thing essentially is , quality the shirt is red , quantity there are many people here , action he is walking , passion he is laughing , relation A is to B as B is to C , place she is in the room , time it is noon , and so on.
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We notice in each of these categories that being is at play. Thus, being considered qua being cannot be restricted to any one of the categories but cuts across all of them. So what is being or substance? The form of a thing makes it intelligible, rather than its matter, since things with relatively the same form can have different matter metal baseball bats and wooden baseball bats are both baseball bats.
Here, we are really getting at the essence of something. Since nothing is what it is outside of matter—there is no form by itself, just as there is no pure matter by itself—the essence of anything, its very being, is its being as a whole. No particular being is identical with its quality, quantity, position in space, or any other incidental features.
The Metaphysics then arrives at a similar end as does the Physics , with the first mover. But, in the Metaphysics, we are not primarily concerned with the motion of physical beings but with the being of all beings. This being, God, is pure actuality, with no mixture of any potentiality at all. In short, it is pure being, and is always being itself in completion. Thinking is the purest of activities, according to Aristotle.
God is always thinking. In fact, God cannot do otherwise than think. God is literally thought thinking thought b Since God is thinking, and thinking is identical with its object, which is thought, God is the eternal activity of thinking. Although the Academy and the Lyceum could be considered in a thorough investigation into Hellenistic philosophy, scholars usually focus upon the Epicureans, Cynics, Stoics, and Skeptics.
Hellenistic philosophy is traditionally divided into three fields of study: physics, logic, and ethics. Physics involved a study of nature while logic was broadly enough construed to include not only the rules of what we today consider to be logic but also epistemology and even linguistics.
Epicurus B. Otherwise, we depend in large part upon the Epicurean Lucretius and his work On the Nature of Things , especially in order to understand Epicurean physics, which was essentially materialistic. The goal of all true understanding for Epicurus, which must involve an understanding of physics, was tranquility. Epicurus and his followers were thoroughgoing materialists. Everything except the void, even the human soul, is composed of material bodies. Epicureans were atomists and accordingly thought that there is nothing but atoms and void. Moreover, these atoms are always in motion, and will remain in motion in the void until something can offer enough resistance to stop an atom in motion.
For Democritus, atoms move according to the laws of necessity, but for Epicurus, atoms sometimes swerve, or venture away from their typical course, and this is due to chance. Chance allows room for free will Lucretius 2. Epicureans seem to take for granted that there is freedom of the will, and then apply that assumption to their physics. That is, there seems to be free will, so Epicureans then posit a physical explanation for it.
The goal of the good life is tranquility ataraxia. One achieves tranquility by seeking pleasure hedone , but not just any pleasure will suffice. The primary sort of pleasure is the simplicity of being free from pain and fear, but even here, we should not seek to be free from every sort of pain. We should pursue some painful things if we know that doing so will render greater pleasure in the end DL X. Indeed, he recommends a plain life, saying that the most enjoyment of luxury comes to those who need luxury least DL X.
Once we habituate ourselves to eating plain foods, for example, we gradually eliminate the pain of missing fancy foods, and we can enjoy the simplicity of bread and water DL X. Epicurus explicitly denies that sensual pleasures constitute the best life and argues that the life of reason—which includes the removal of erroneous beliefs that cause us pain—will bring us peace and tranquility DL X. The sorts of beliefs that produce pain and anxiety for us are primarily two: a mistaken conception of the gods, and a misconception of death.
Most people, according to Epicurus, have mistaken conceptions about the gods, and are therefore impious DL X. Similar to Xenophanes, Epicurus would encourage us not to anthropomorphize the gods and to think only what is fitting for the most blessed and eternal beings. We are not thinking clearly when we think that the gods get angry with us or care at all about our personal affairs.
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It is not befitting of an eternal and blessed being to become angry over or involved in the affairs of mortals. Yet, perhaps Epicurus is anthropomorphizing here. The argument seems to rely upon his argument that tranquility is our greatest pleasure and upon the assumption that the gods must experience that pleasure.
On the other hand, one could read Epicurus as a sort of proto-negative theologian who merely suggests that it is unreasonable to believe that gods, the best of beings, feel pain at all. One might wonder whether anthropomorphizing is avoidable at all. The key here is the first premise that good and evil apply only to sentient beings. We recall that, for Epicurus, we are thoroughly material beings.
Both mind and soul are part of the human body, and the human body is nothing if not sentient. Therefore, when the body dies, so too does the mind and soul, and so too does sentience. This means that death is literally nothing to us. The terror that we feel about death now will vanish once we die. Thus, it is better to be free from the fear of death now. When we rid ourselves of the fear of death, and the hope of immortality that accompanies that fear, we can enjoy the preciousness of our mortality DL X.
The Cynics , unlike the Epicureans, were not properly a philosophical school. While there are identifiable characteristics of cynical thought, they had no central doctrine or tenets. It was a disparate movement, with varying interpretations on what constituted a Cynic. This interpretative freedom accords well with one of the characteristics that typified ancient Cynicism—a radical freedom from societal and cultural standards.
The Cynics favored instead a life lived according to nature. The first of the Dogs, Antisthenes c. Yet, it was Diogenes of Sinope c. Thus, Diogenes wore but a thin, rough cloak all year round, accustomed himself to withstand both heat and cold, ate but a meager diet, and most sensationally, openly mocked everyday Greek life. He was reportedly at a dinner party where the attendants were throwing bones at him as though he were a dog.
One needs very little to be happy. This all seems a response to the cold fact that much of human life and circumstance is out of our control. One might wonder what drives the ascetic practice for any sort of luck. Is it that we see that moving from one superficial pleasure to the next is ultimately unfulfilling? Or, is the practice itself driven by a sort of fear, an emotion that the Cynic means to quell? That is, one might read the asceticism of the Cynic as a futile attempt to deny the truth of human fragility; for example, at any moment the things I enjoy can vanish, so I should avoid enjoying those things.
On the other hand, perhaps the asceticism of the Cynic is an affirmation of this fragility. Stoicism evolved from Cynicism, but was more doctrinally focused and organized. While the Cynics largely ignored typical fields of study, the Stoics embraced physics, logic, and ethics, making strides especially in logic. Zeno of Citium c. This was the beginning of a long and powerful tradition, which lasted into the imperial era. Indeed, one of the most famous of stoic ethicists was the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius C. Epictetus C. Like the Cynics, the Stoics strove to live in accordance with nature, and so a rigorous study of nature allowed them to do so all the more effectively.
The Stoics were materialists, though not thoroughgoing materialists as the Epicureans were. Since we are part of this universe, our lives, too, are causally determined, and everything in the universe is teleologically oriented towards its rational fulfillment. Diogenes Laertius reports that the Stoics saw matter as passive and logos god as active, and that god runs through all of the matter as its organizing principle DL VII.
This divinity is most apparent in us via our ability to reason. At any rate, the universe is, as the name implies, a unity, and it is divine. The knowledge we have of the world comes to us directly through our senses and impresses itself upon the blank slate of our minds. The naked information that comes to us via the senses allows us to know objects, but our judgments of those objects can lead us into error. If it is true that the correspondence of our descriptions of the object with the actual object can bring us knowledge, how can we ever be sure that our descriptions really match the object?
After all, if it is not the bare sense impression that brings knowledge, but my correct description of the object, it seems that there is no standard by which I can ever be sure that my description is correct. Stoic ethics urges us to be rid of our desires and aversions, especially where these desires and aversions are not in accord with nature.
For instance, death is natural. To be averse to death will bring misery. Some things are up to us and some are not up to us. Our opinions, and our impulses, desires, aversions—in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.
The things that are up to us are by nature free, unhindered, and unimpeded; the things that are not up to us are weak, enslaved, hindered, not our own…If you think that only what is yours is yours, and that what is not your own is…not your own, then no one will ever coerce you, no one will hinder you, you will blame no one, you will have no enemies, and no one will harm you, because you will not be harmed at all. This passage might be shocking to us today when, especially in the United States, many of the things that Epictetus tells us to avoid are what we are told to pursue.
We therefore might wonder why our bodies, possessions, reputations, wealth, or jobs are not in our control. For Epictetus, it is simple. Possessions come and go—they can be destroyed, lost, stolen, and so forth. Reputations are determined by others, and it is reasonable to believe that even the best people will be hated by some, and even the worst people will be loved by some. Try as we might, we might never gain wealth, and even if we do, it can be lost, destroyed, or stolen. Again, public office, like reputation, is up to others to determine.
Just because, however, I live as Epictetus recommends, how can I be sure that I will never be harmed? Even if I fully grant that someone who, for instance, pushes me down a flight of stairs has committed his own wrong, and that his wrong actions are not in my control, will I not still feel pain? Physical pain, for a Stoic, is not harm. The only real harm is when one harms oneself by doing evil, just as the only real good is living excellently and in accordance with reason. In this example, I would harm myself with the judgment that what happened to me was bad.
One might object here, as one might object to Cynicism, that stoic ethics ultimately demands a repression of what is most human about us. For the Stoic, being moved by others brings us away from tranquility. Stoic ethics risks removing our humanity from us in favor of its own notion of divinity.
Somewhat like the Cynics, each major Skeptic had his own take on Skepticism, and so it is difficult to lump them all under a tidy label. Also like the Cynics, however, there are certain characteristics that can be highlighted, despite differences between particular thinkers. Rather, the goal of their skepsis was tranquility and freedom from judgments, opinions, or absolute claims to knowledge.
Skepticism, broadly speaking, constituted a challenge to the possibility and nature of knowledge. Arcesilaus found the inspiration for his skepticism in the figure of Socrates. Arcesilaus would argue both for and against any given position, ultimately showing that neither side of the argument can be trusted. He directed his skepticism primarily toward the Stoics and the empirical basis of their claims to knowledge. We recall that, for the Stoics, a grasping of sense impressions in the proper way is the true foundation for knowledge. The argument runs roughly as follows. For any given presentation of an object to the senses, we can imagine that something else could be presented to the senses in just the same way, such that the perceiver cannot distinguish between the two objects being presented, which Arcesilaus thought the Stoics would grant.
It is possible, then, that the perceiver thinks one presentation is true and the other is false, but he has no way of distinguishing between either. Carneades B. Again, like Arcesilaus, Carneades relied upon the typical skeptic tactic of presenting arguments both for and against the same thing and claiming that we cannot therefore claim that either side is correct.
We know almost nothing for sure about Pyrrho of Elis B. He wrote nothing, which is perhaps a sign of his extreme skepticism, that is if we cannot know anything, or cannot be sure whether knowledge is possible, then nothing can definitively be said, especially in writing. Perhaps what most differentiates Pyrrhonian Skepticism from Academic Skepticism is the profound indifference that Pyrrhonian Skepticism is meant to generate.
Diogenes Laertius relays the story that, when his master Anaxarchus had fallen into a swamp, Pyrrho simply passed him by, and was later praised by Anaxarchus for his supreme indifference DL IX. The first mode argues that other animals sense things differently from human beings, and that we cannot therefore pretend to place any absolute value on the things sensed. In the quoted example, then, the hemlock is clearly not in itself evil, but neither is it in itself good, but it is a matter of indifference. The remaining modes follow a similar pattern, highlighting relativity—whether cultural, personal, sensory, qualitative or quantitative—as evidence that we ought to suspend judgment.
That is, they do not adhere to any philosophical position, but use the tools of philosophy to gain a sense of simplicity and tranquility in life, thereby ridding themselves of the need for philosophy. By using dialectic, and opposing one argument to another, the Skeptic suspends judgment, and is not committed to any particular position. The Skeptic,. In everything he did…was to limit himself to describing what he experienced, without adding anything about what things are or what they are worth.
He was to be content to describe the sensory representations he had, and to enunciate the state of his sensory apparatus, without adding to it his opinion. Hadot We might wonder just how practical such an approach to life would be. Can we flourish or thrive, effectively communicate, or find cures for diseases by merely describing our experience of the world? For example, antibiotics can help, more often than not, to cure diseases born from certain bacteria.
Could we not say, for practical purposes, that we know this to be the case? We are not, after all, ignorant of the fact that bacteria are becoming resistant to certain antibiotics, but this does not mean that they do not work, or that we cannot someday find alternative cures for bacterial infections. The Skeptic could reply in several ways, but the most effective reply to the example provided might go something like this: Medicine does not bring us knowledge, if knowledge is certainty. Medicine, and what it claims to know has, after all, changed significantly.
The practice of medicine is just another way of describing the way certain bodies interact with other bodies in a given time and place. But the Skeptic would go further. The curing of a disease, he would say, is neither good nor bad. Perhaps my disease is cured, and the next day, I am killed in some other way.
If death is a matter of indifference, then the cure for illnesses must be, too. Again, we might wonder in this case how one is ever spurred to action. Platonic thought was the dominant philosophical force in the time period following Hellenistic thought proper. Plotinus C. In other words, Plotinus inherits concepts of unity, the forms, divine intellect, and soul, but makes these concepts his own. The result is a philosophy that comes close to a religious spiritual practice.
The One is the ineffable center of all reality and the wellspring of all that is—more precisely, it is the condition of the possibility for all being, but is itself beyond all being. The One cannot be accurately accounted for in discourse. We can only contemplate it, and at most relay our own experience of this contemplation Corrigan We can speak negatively about the One VI, 9.
Thus, for example, we say that it is impassive. Teach Yourself. Understand Music Theory Understand Music Theory offers a practical approach which uses active learning to impart knowledge. Make the Most of Your Caravan Do you want to get maximum value and enjoyment out of your caravan? Sign up to the Teach Yourself newsletter More information. Workbooks A hands-on approach to self-improvement. Coach Books Your personal guide to business success. Master the key skills of management and leadership. Complete Languages Beginner to Intermediate courses for the serious language learner.
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