Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aristotle (384-322BC): Pondering the Yin and the Yang.

"Moreover, if it is possible to make no affirmation that is true, even would this very position be false - I mean, the assertion that no affirmation is true. If, however; there exists any assertion that is true, that point which is put forward by these Heraclitics would be decided - I mean, such philosophers as resist the truth of things of this sort, and, in fact, altogether do away with rational discussion." - The Metaphysics, XI.5

Wow! This basically claims that Heraclitus (535-475BC) was a Gen-Y post-modernist, yet Heraclitus is the first Greek philosopher on record.

"What is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account." - Ecclesiastes 3:15

Aristotle's gripe against those who deny absolutes continues, but per the title I gave, the theme is the existence of opposites:

"But similar to the statements that have been just made is that which has been asserted by Protagoras; for likewise, he said that man is a measure of all things, - in this way affirming nothing else than that what appeared to every man, that this, also, indubitably is that which it appeared to be. If, however, this is admitted, the same thing will happen to be and not be, and to be both evil and good, and the rest of those things that are expressed in accordance with opposite assertions, ... " - The Metaphysics, XI.6

Skipping several more pages of similar discussions, we are goaded to ask if something can be both a Yin and a Yang? Can a statement be both true and false? There is a related quote from Anselm that talks of an action being both Just and Unjust at the same time. The main example that comes to mind is when a corrupt judge gets randomly mugged on his way home from work.

Launching off into the wild lands of speculation, I was pondering matter and anti-matter. Taoism and physicist-oids claim that every particle of matter must have a corresponding particle of anti-matter. This is definitely not observed in the universe, and we are left pondering why matter is so overwhelmingly superior to anti-matter. Of course evil is anti-good, and Christianity tells us that there is an anti-Christ opposed to the Christ. My Christian viewpoint is that good and Christ will overwhelmingly prevail, in spite of the current observables. They don't simply annihilate each other nor do they permanently exist in a Taoist balance of opposites. For evil to transform into good is also unthinkable except for a post-modern Heraclitic.

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