Saturday, January 31, 2009

Regarding metaphysics

Regarding metaphysics, it has long been engulfed, for several centuries now. It is quite the task to take up a brute metaphysical thought, for not only is it inaccessible, but it is recovered by layer upon layer of errors. It’s as if you wished to find the original wood of your shutters: you must scrape off layer upon layer of paint. It is a tough job, and even wearisome, in particular because some layers which have been deposited are quite tenacious.

For us, it is notably necessary to unstick Descartes, Kant, Hegel and the Marxist dialectics, Nietzsche and then Heiddeger….and then one must pass Plotin, the Fathers of the Church, notably Thomas Aquinus and Augustine of Hippo, and go back in such a manner to Plato, all whilst regularly receiving bits of wood in the teeth, for when one swims upstream of a river one’s face is besieged by any which sort of junk, and at the source, one progressively understands that the world is entirely neoplatonician, and then, one must ultimately decide to start afresh with Aristotle, he who radically faced off with Plato, because that’s where everything plays out…I’d even say that for the Oriental world, for India is very close to Plato, or vice versa, but between Plato and India there is a stunning proximity.

But this task is nothing more than very long, tedious and even fastidious, for the immediate difficulty is that of translations, without mentioning understanding Aristotle, which cannot be done in a day, for ethics or physics or logic is one thing, but the 14 books of metaphysics is another matter, and one must read the Zeta book of metaphysics 100 times before even just hoping to understand the problem under review. Very few consent to this, and the majority flow downstream at a rapid clip, the cadavers being those that descend the most swiftly since they do not oppose any resistance.

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  1. If you are confused, you may be on the right track :))) Metaphysics is a science which seeks the first principles - a principle being what is first in its order (of being, of life, of intelligibility). A principle stands on its own, it is simple, whereas what is downstream is more complex... Meedless to say, a complex person is not simple... :)

  2. Great post Harvey. You have reinvigorated my interest in philosophy. I need to look into my closet and search for my Artistotle and Nietzche books!

  3. I like this one too Teresa (Ill take credit for the translation, whoever I am, thank you). Avatar used to say it's important not to mistake the source of human thought... This also reminds me of an Aristotle quote:"The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold."

  4. Hey Antonio,
    Yes, Avatar wrote up a great post! Btw, one must beware the translations of Aristotles metaphysics, there are few really reliable ones (I'm not even sure if there is a reliable translation in English).