The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

What is a human being? What is life? Can science give us reliable answers to such questions? The electricity of life. The meaning of human consciousness. Are we alone? Are the traditional contests between science and religion still relevant? Does the word "spirit" still hold meaning today?

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The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby polarityparadox » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:02 pm

hello forum

I would like to point out some connections between "wisdom" and knowledge that may not be familiar to some but are well grounded in many languages. They are a polarity that is retained in the old english forms of "witting" and "kenning" (like in old scot - i ken ye) or in german wissen and kennen. The wissen or wit-ting is related to (brain-mind) head knowledge, quantitative, linear, logical, while kennen is connected to the body mind (verified in modern physiology by the fact that the intestinal region has neuronal structures at least equal to the brain), visceral understanding, qualitative, lateral, associative "thinking".

In german, science is actually called, very appropriately, wissenschaft, thus specifically distinguishing it from the kennen understanding. You notice this in science today with its materialist, quantitative bias. It is believed that science cannot deal with qualitative phenomena. Look to Steiner, Goethe, Reich and Hahnemann for a true qualitative science merged WITH quantitative science. Tesla is in here too, consider how he would only read Goethe at one stage, which I guarantee led to his ability to phenomenologically "see" his scientific insights in a "living" manner. That was the essence of Goethe's contribution to science.

Consider that the greeks had seven different words for mind and they were NOT synonomous. Just to get a sense of their qualities think of these "minds" as roughly relating to the chakra sequence from sacral to crown. When greek is translated into modern english all the distinctions are lost. Consider how we sometimes say "we are of two minds", or i am at odds with myself, or more crassly, he's thinking with his little head instead of his big head....

We do not in our private lives use witting to pick our mates, but the kennen function is what works most in telling us if the relationship is right for us. Also if someone asked you to tell them what a person is like, you will generally share about their qualities as opposed to their quantities (height, weight, eye color, etc.)

i know initially this will seem arbitrary to some but if you allow yourself to sink into this polarity of knowing things (more profoundly understanding the relationship BTW. things) it can lead to a much richer understanding of phenomena.

Bringing these ideas to bear on the topic at hand, what has fascinated me about the saturn configuration is its three-fold nature - saturn, venus, mars and how it elegantly relates to the three-fold nature of man as described by esotericists everywhere, to wit: thinking, feeling, and willing or the tri-partite union of head, heart and hand. In alchemy these three processes are known as salt, mercury and sulphur. Is it not interesting how nicely these fit with the activities of saturn, venus and mars.

Saturn is associated with salt, thinking, formation. Thinking is a precipitative phenomenon, we must precipitate out linear, logical thought so as to communicate among each other. Thinking, esoterically, is considered a contractive, "death"-like process, perfectly appropriate to Saturn. This is the nature of salt, it is a precipitation, it is used to preserve things, it inhibits life, thus it is qualitatively associated with death. We need a cool head for thinking, as in don't be a hothead, use your brain. Thinking is best done in quietness and stillness and Saturn was the moveless mover. Elegant analogy for how thought operates, we don't need to move to think, yet thoughts can galvanize revolutions! Power indeed.

"Heaven (“when heaven was close to earth”)
Motionless sun, superior sun
Primeval unity, creator
Founder of the Golden Age
First in the line of kings
Dying or displaced god."

Mercurial, heart feeling is, of course, Venus. Consider her mercurial nature, always changing, isn't that the way of the heart, lashing out when it is hurt, nuturing when it is loved. The heart is always rhythmically pulsating, keeping the balance btw. still thinking and active willing. She is the midpoint btw. complete action and complete rest. That is actually how the heart can last so long, it embodies in its actions of systole and diastole this polarity, it is our sensing organ par excellance...

"Mother goddess as “Great Star”
Eye, heart, and soul of the primeval sun
Animating life, power, glory of the primeval sun
Hub and spokes of the cosmic wheel
Plant of life
Crown of the warrior-hero
Shield of the warrior-hero"

Willing is all mars, he was the executive power of saturn, his right hand. Think of his constant movement to and fro btw. earth and venus. The redness of mars can be associated with redness of sulphur, go look at any homeopathic descriptions of the state of mind and symptoms of sulphur and you will be amazed at the connections you can "qualitatively" make btw. sulphur and mars.

"Warrior-hero, warrior king
Innermost heart of the heart
Child in the goddess-womb
Child on the goddess’ lap
Pupil of the eye (or eye goddess)
Axle of the cosmic wheel
Active will of the creator"

I am bringing these qualitative distinctions up because I sense that Grey Cloud is attempting to bring this side of knowing into the equation, but it can be difficult without the appropriate verbal tools, so to speak. I hope I can become a bridge of sorts in this regard. When he is referring to wisdom, he is, I believe, trying to put his finger on the unific nature of the wisdom (as opposed to the endless splintering of todays scientistic knowledge where natural philosophy has no place anymore) of the past where all phenomena and processes were thought to go back to non-material, esoteric, qualitative distinctions that are somewhat linked to the ideal forms or archetypes of Plato but also to the idea of hierarchies of greater beings than ourselves that inform\influence our growth and evolution, materially and psychically. In that sense you could consider the planetary configurations to be a type of template through which these greater powers and principalities chose to direct mankind into individual consciousness.

This concept alone: of humanity rising out of atavistic union-consciousness and evolving into individual ego-consciousness is a profound qualitative process that, to me, is elegantly grounded in and partially explained by the shocking and traumatizing effects of the destruction of the grand planetary conjunction, the end of the golden age, the time to fend for ourselves and make our own way.

I have a great and profound respect for Donald, Wal and David in their attempts to unify and synthesize our understanding of the past and how it is informing the mind and culture of the present. It has truly illuminated my world and brought amazing clarity to many of the qualitative phenomena I study. However, I feel that they are possibly a little stuck in a subtle form of materialism, in the sense that to them the plasma processes are only physical phenomena that led to mimicry by awestruck people of the past. At one level I accept this, because their elaboration of how various culture glorified these cosmic processes naturally leads to these conclusions.

But can you not see how the very actions of these physical phenomena can be seen to be informed by greater qualitative processes. I have tried to, in a small way, show this concept in my associations of three-foldedness btw. quantitative and qualitative phenomena. Now one could argue that the physical processes were simply introverted, in a sense, into the psyche of mankind. Even accepting that idea I still see an amazing elegance to the concept that this three-folded planetary configuration with its life-like plasma movement could so profoundly generate the template for the rise of modern human consciousness with all its horrors AND wonders...(you and I here today discussing in this objective and co-creative manner) This associative thinking is more the earmark of wisdom and in fact that is what I see very much informing the study of this whole planetary/plasma phenomenon. I am very impressed with the work of the people of this site in that regard.

I would be happy to elaborate on more of these qualitative themes if there is any interest as they are many more connections than the three-foldedness I pointed out above.

warmly,
Benjamin

P.S. - It may be that this post will not be considered appropriate for this particular thread, so I would be just as happy if it was given its own heading of...let's say...the polarity of knowledge and wisdom.
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Re: Cautionary Note

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:02 am

It may be that this post will not be considered appropriate for this particular thread, so I would be just as happy if it was given its own heading of...let's say...the polarity of knowledge and wisdom.


I agree with Polarity paradox that his post will take us way off-topic. Would it be possible for one of the admin guys to port it over to the Human Question, if everyone agrees?
The Law of Three has been discussed in there and I'm pretty sure that some of the people in HQ would like to contribute to this.

Benjamin,
I will refrain from responding until a decision has been made. For now I'll just says thanks for the thought-provoking post.
If I have the least bit of knowledge
I will follow the great Way alone
and fear nothing but being sidetracked.
The great Way is simple
but people delight in complexity.
Tao Te Ching, 53.
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby kevin » Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:00 am

Polarityparadox,
great name.
I found your post akin to a fresh mountain breaze.
We are dominated by the occams razor , prove it society, it is leading off a cliff edge.
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby polarityparadox » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:40 am

hey kevin,

thats just it, the science of qualities has disappeared from modern consciousness. But I think there is method to the madness of the "gods". Due to the evolution of the intellect we have the most freedom in history, the freedom to destroy...or to create, that it the paradox of today, no?? The romantic upsurge, goethe being one of its best examples, was the reintegration of the qualitative side of "seeing" into western consciousness. However, that is why Goethe is also remembered as a poet not a scientist! Most of western science could not integrate him amazing contributions, just check out his theory of color, and how it proves newton's theory wrong.

What I like about the saturn people is that they are able to see the whole configuration process dynamically. That is why they have such a power to decipher myth, because they have brought a living viewpoint to the matter.

Francis Bacon talked about two forms of nature: natura naturata = nature as it is or nature on the surface, static, and natura naturans = nature becoming or nature "nature-ing", dynamic. In a sense, saturn theory has its profound power because they have tapped into this second mode of seeing. I use the same mode of seeing in homeopathy, I must detect living, unhealthy, sovereignty inhibiting states of mind in people that I then destroy through the application a remedy based on the law of similars.

Entering into the living context of a process is the essence of discovering the truth, while also verifying its legitimacy through concrete evidence.

warmly,
Benjamin
Truth is higher than everything but higher still is true living.

- Nanak

Complexity leads to perplexity and simplicity leads to Eternity.

- Kirpal Singh
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby junglelord » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:24 am

You just described the INFJ Personality Type. 50% Gut Instinct 50% Vulcan Logic.
Indeed the Autonomic Pelxus in the Abdomin (the Visceral Brain) has as many if not more Neurons then your Brain.
Think with your Heart and Your Head.
:D
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby bboyer » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:59 pm

polarityparadox wrote:hello forum

<snip>

This concept alone: of humanity rising out of atavistic union-consciousness and evolving into individual ego-consciousness is a profound qualitative process that, to me, is elegantly grounded in and partially explained by the shocking and traumatizing effects of the destruction of the grand planetary conjunction, the end of the golden age, the time to fend for ourselves and make our own way.


Hi Benjamin. I do think this is an important, and vital aspect, more than worthy of serious sincere exploration and exposition, if approached judiciously and with some wisdom in terms of recognizing the "acceptance levels" of our various reading public here. And that we respect the Rules and Guidelines as posted by our hosts. Particularly in that we don't attempt to turn it into a publishing house for personal missions or agendas, steer clear of promoting religious doctrine or dogma, and keep within the spirit of engaging gab, dialogue, discussion, genuine inquiry and interest; no teaching or instruction in a particular philosophy or esoterica for which there are plenty of sites and materials that can simply be referenced, not expounded upon unless truly relevant to the discussion.

I have a great and profound respect for Donald, Wal and David in their attempts to unify and synthesize our understanding of the past and how it is informing the mind and culture of the present. It has truly illuminated my world and brought amazing clarity to many of the qualitative phenomena I study. However, I feel that they are possibly a little stuck in a subtle form of materialism, in the sense that to them the plasma processes are only physical phenomena that led to mimicry by awestruck people of the past. At one level I accept this, because their elaboration of how various culture glorified these cosmic processes naturally leads to these conclusions.


I suspect we all might be a little surprised by what they personally hold dear to their hearts. We should probably be careful in discerning between 1) the manner in which the Thunderbolts Project chooses to present it's more objective scientific case for the EU perspective and the Saturn Hypothesis to its various audiences and 2) the privately held personal perspectives of its individual members, which may or may not be publicly aired to any degree.

But can you not see how the very actions of these physical phenomena can be seen to be informed by greater qualitative processes. I have tried to, in a small way, show this concept in my associations of three-foldedness btw. quantitative and qualitative phenomena. Now one could argue that the physical processes were simply introverted, in a sense, into the psyche of mankind. Even accepting that idea I still see an amazing elegance to the concept that this three-folded planetary configuration with its life-like plasma movement could so profoundly generate the template for the rise of modern human consciousness with all its horrors AND wonders...(you and I here today discussing in this objective and co-creative manner) This associative thinking is more the earmark of wisdom and in fact that is what I see very much informing the study of this whole planetary/plasma phenomenon. I am very impressed with the work of the people of this site in that regard.


I look forward to an enlightening, grounded discussion. Not only do I think that the "physical processes were simply introverted, in a sense, into the psyche of mankind," I think it was a reciprocal relationship whereby the ... how to term it? "archetypal psyche" (psyche as per it's original meaning) ... was similarly introverted, evolving into what we experience today as the common expression of what might be termed the fractional island-ego sense of "I" that we all seem to holographically share.

bryan
There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else. — Maitri Upanishad
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby bboyer » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:10 pm

polarityparadox wrote:hey kevin,

<snip>Francis Bacon talked about two forms of nature: natura naturata = nature as it is or nature on the surface, static, and natura naturans = nature becoming or nature "nature-ing", dynamic. In a sense, saturn theory has its profound power because they have tapped into this second mode of seeing. I use the same mode of seeing in homeopathy, I must detect living, unhealthy, sovereignty inhibiting states of mind in people that I then destroy through the application a remedy based on the law of similars.

Entering into the living context of a process is the essence of discovering the truth, while also verifying its legitimacy through concrete evidence.

warmly,
Benjamin


This reminds me of the difference of approach in microbiology, for example, as in the thread I began here Pleomorphic Theory of Microorganisms. The standard methodology of viewing static, dead microorganisms vs the discarded lineage of viewing dynamic, living microorganisms in the context of their dynamic environment(s)—and thereby gaining an entirely different perspective on what's going on. You state it very well: "Entering into the living context of a process is the essence of discovering the truth, while also verifying its legitimacy through concrete evidence."
There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else. — Maitri Upanishad
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby polarityparadox » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:55 am

hey bryan

thanks for the heads up. I dont ever want to come across as preachy. I will only expand on certain esoteric concepts if I cant find a link that elaborates it well. And I will make no more assumptions about the perspectives of the three musketeers :)

What is the original definition of psyche for you??

Truth, Love, Freedom, Beauty
Benjamin
Truth is higher than everything but higher still is true living.

- Nanak

Complexity leads to perplexity and simplicity leads to Eternity.

- Kirpal Singh
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby bboyer » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:37 am

polarityparadox wrote:hey bryan

thanks for the heads up. I dont ever want to come across as preachy. I will only expand on certain esoteric concepts if I cant find a link that elaborates it well. And I will make no more assumptions about the perspectives of the three musketeers :)

What is the original definition of psyche for you??

Truth, Love, Freedom, Beauty
Benjamin


Well, the same applies to myself as far as coming across as preachy, it's not what I intend but I'm sure I have come across as such to others at times, which would be to my dismay when really my only objective is to just gab. Anyways, sounds like you have some interesting takes to share yourself.

Guess what I was getting at was taking into account the etymology and spirit (pun intended) of the word. Variously, as ["L psych" < Gk psyche lit., breath, deriv. of pséchein to breathe, blow, hence, live; Random House Unabridged Dict.], [[Latin psyche, from Greek psukhe, soul. See bhes-.; bhes-. To breathe. Probably imitative. Zero-grade form *bhs-.PSYCHE, PSYCHIC,PSYCHO-; METEMPSYCHOSIS, from Greek psukhe, spirit, soul, from psukhein (< *bhs-u-kh-), to breathe.[Pokorny 2. bhes- 146. Am. Heritage]
[Main Entry:psyche Pronunciation:*s*(*)k*
Function:noun
Etymology:Greek psych* life, spirit, soul, self; akin to Greek psychein to breathe, blow, make cold, Sanskrit babhasti he blows Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dict.]

That's an interesting take you have on the correlation between the Greek word forms for mind and the chakra system. I'm familiar with the three words for love, but hadn't run across the info on mind. What are they, can you elaborate a bit?

best,
bryan
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby redeye » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:58 am

I would like to point out some connections between "wisdom" and knowledge that may not be familiar to some but are well grounded in many languages. They are a polarity that is retained in the old english forms of "witting" and "kenning" (like in old scot - i ken ye) or in german wissen and kennen. The wissen or wit-ting is related to (brain-mind) head knowledge, quantitative, linear, logical, while kennen is connected to the body mind (verified in modern physiology by the fact that the intestinal region has neuronal structures at least equal to the brain), visceral understanding, qualitative, lateral, associative "thinking".


Thanks man, I didnae ken that.

Cheers!
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby bboyer » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:24 am

redeye wrote:
I would like to point out some connections between "wisdom" and knowledge that may not be familiar to some but are well grounded in many languages. They are a polarity that is retained in the old english forms of "witting" and "kenning" (like in old scot - i ken ye) or in german wissen and kennen. The wissen or wit-ting is related to (brain-mind) head knowledge, quantitative, linear, logical, while kennen is connected to the body mind (verified in modern physiology by the fact that the intestinal region has neuronal structures at least equal to the brain), visceral understanding, qualitative, lateral, associative "thinking".


Thanks man, I didnae ken that.

Cheers!


I woulda kenned it the other way, though; knowledge to the brain-mind and wisdom to the viscera [i.e. "an internal organ of the body; especially : one (as the heart, liver, or intestine) located in the great cavity of the trunk proper)"], particularly the heart; and perhaps as a nuance, the intuitive to the "gut feeling" [or lower dantien, intestinal neurons]. But that's just my own personal take on it.
There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else. — Maitri Upanishad
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby polarityparadox » Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:54 pm

In regards to your question about the different greek words for mind (and I think that are up to 20 words for mind, none synonymous!), Arc-us, here is one example. When Jesus was walking along and the woman touched his robe, he stopped and said who touched me (who impinged on my radiant field). She desired to be cured and the literal translation of what occurred is: his bowels (the aspect of mind that resided in the intestines) were moved with compassion, not his heart-mind or brain-mind was moved with compassion. And she was cured....

In greek every organ was understood to be an aspect of your "mind". Your mind did not just exist in your head but your whole being was interpenetrated by it and thus the diff. organs were it's mediators and means of explication. Check out some pages from this book in google books, starting around pg. 30 - http://books.google.ca/books?id=qCtd2ux ... n#PPA38,M1
The Greeks grounded the diff. terms of mind in the actual organs in which they felt/sensed/knew their experiences of life but we moderns have become divorced from this natural visceral understanding/experience of reality.

i connect instinct (willing) with gut, inspiration (feeling) with the heart and intuition (thinking, in its higher aspect: Reasoning, not intellection) with the head

And junglelord, I see the true use of heart intelligence arising out of the polarity of kennen and wissen. Through the balanced application of gut and head real love from the heart can flow and actually "love it's enemy". Pretty cool to note that the heart, also, is composed of over 50% neurons... I love Joseph Chilton Pearce's work in regard to the actuation of heart intelligence...
Last edited by polarityparadox on Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Truth is higher than everything but higher still is true living.

- Nanak

Complexity leads to perplexity and simplicity leads to Eternity.

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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby polarityparadox » Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:05 pm

You mentioned about the three words for love eros (sexual), philia (brotherly), agape (transcendant). I was also fascinated by the proper translation of the story of how Peter was asked by Jesus three times do you "agape" me Peter and he could only answer,"I "philia" you, my lord. Then it makes sense why Jesus asked three times, to see if Peter was actually able to be a real disciple who had actually absorbed what the Teacher had taught regarding love...Interesting correlate of the three times Peter denied his affiliation with Jesus before the cock crows when fearful for his life...

The Nature of Love: Eros, Philia, and Agape

The philosophical discussion regarding love logically begins with questions concerning its nature. This implies that love has a 'nature', a proposition that some may oppose arguing that love is conceptually irrational, in the sense that it cannot be described in rational or meaningful propositions. For such critics, who are presenting a metaphysical and epistemological argument, love may be an ejection of emotions that defy rational examination; on the other hand, some languages, such as Papuan do not even admit the concept, which negates the possibility of a philosophical examination. In English, the word 'love', which is derived from Germanic forms of the Sanskrit lubh (desire), is broadly defined and hence imprecise, which generates first order problems of definition and meaning, which are resolved to some extent by the reference to the Greek terms, eros, philia, and agape.

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a. Eros

The term eros (Greek erasthai) is used to refer to that part of love constituting a passionate, intense desire for something, it is often referred to as a sexual desire, hence the modern notion of 'erotic' (Greek erotikos). In Plato's writings however, eros is held to be a common desire that seeks transcendental beauty-the particular beauty of an individual reminds us of true beauty that exists in the world of Forms or Ideas (Phaedrus 249E: "he who loves the beautiful is called a lover because he partakes of it." Trans. Jowett). The Platonic-Socratic position maintains that the love we generate for beauty on this earth can never be truly satisfied until we die; but in the meantime we should aspire beyond the particular stimulating image in front of us to the contemplation of beauty in itself.

The implication of the Platonic theory of eros is that ideal beauty, which is reflected in the particular images of beauty we find, becomes interchangeable across people and things, ideas, and art: to love is to love the Platonic form of beauty-not a particular individual, but the element they posses of true (Ideal) beauty. Reciprocity is not necessary to Plato's view of love, for the desire is for the object (of Beauty), than for, say, the company of another and shared values and pursuits.

Many in the Platonic vein of philosophy hold that love is an intrinsically higher value than appetitive or physical desire. Physical desire, they note, is held in common with the animal kingdom and hence of a lower order of reaction and stimulus than a rationally induced love, i.e., a love produced by rational discourse and exploration of ideas, which in turn defines the pursuit of Ideal beauty. Accordingly, the physical love of an object, an idea, or a person in itself is not be a proper form of love, love being a reflection of that part of the object, idea, or person, that partakes in Ideal beauty.

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b. Philia

In contrast to the desiring and passionate yearning of eros, philia entails a fondness and appreciation of the other. For the Greeks, the term philia incorporated not just friendship, but also loyalties to family and polis-one's political community, job, or discipline. Philia for another may be motivated, as Aristotle explains in the Nicomachean Ethics, Book VIII, for the agent's sake or for the other's own sake. The motivational distinctions are derived from love for another because the friendship is wholly useful as in the case of business contacts, or because their character and values are pleasing (with the implication that if those attractive habits change, so too does the friendship), or for the other in who they are in themselves, regardless of one's interests in the matter. The English concept of friendship roughly captures Aristotle's notion of philia, as he writes: "things that cause friendship are: doing kindnesses; doing them unasked; and not proclaiming the fact when they are doneÖ" (Rhetoric, II. 4, trans. Rhys Roberts).

Aristotle elaborates on the kinds of things we seek in proper friendship, suggesting that the proper basis for philia is objective: those who share our dispositions, who bear no grudges, who seek what we do, who are temperate, and just, who admire us appropriately as we admire them, and so on. Philia could not emanate from those who are quarrelsome, gossips, aggressive in manner and personality, who are unjust, and so on. The best characters, it follows, may produce the best kind of friendship and hence love: indeed, how to be a good character worthy of philia is the theme of the Nicomachaen Ethics. The most rational man is he who would be the happiest, and he, therefore, who is capable of the best form of friendship, which between two "who are good, and alike in virtue" is rare (NE, VIII.4 trans. Ross). We can surmise that love between such equals-Aristotle's rational and happy men-would be perfect, with circles of diminishing quality for those who are morally removed from the best. He characterizes such love as "a sort of excess of feeling". (NE, VIII.6)

Friendships of a lesser quality may also be based on the pleasure or utility that is derived from another's company. A business friendship is based on utility--on mutual reciprocity of similar business interests; once the business is at an end, then the friendship dissolves. Similarly with those friendships based on the pleasure that is derived from the other's company, which is not a pleasure enjoyed for who the other person is in himself, but in the flow of pleasure from his actions or humour.

The first condition for the highest form Aristotelian love is that a man loves himself. Without an egoistic basis, he cannot extend sympathy and affection to others (NE, IX.8). Such self-love is not hedonistic, or glorified, depending on the pursuit of immediate pleasures or the adulation of the crowd, it is instead a reflection of his pursuit of the noble and virtuous, which culminate in the pursuit of the reflective life. Friendship with others is required "since his purpose is to contemplate worthy actionsÖto live pleasantlyÖsharing in discussion and thought" as is appropriate for the virtuous man and his friend (NE, IX.9). The morally virtuous man deserves in turn the love of those below him; he is not obliged to give an equal love in return, which implies that the Aristotelian concept of love is elitist or perfectionist: "In all friendships implying inequality the love also should be proportional, i.e. the better should be more loved than he loves." (NE, VIII, 7,). Reciprocity, although not necessarily equal, is a condition of Aristotelian love and friendship, although parental love can involve a one-sided fondness.

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c. Agape

Agape refers to the paternal love of God for man and for man for God but is extended to include a brotherly love for all humanity. (The Hebrew ahev has a slightly wider semantic range than agape). Agape arguably draws on elements from both eros and philia in that it seeks a perfect kind of love that is at once a fondness, a transcending of the particular, and a passion without the necessity of reciprocity. The concept is expanded on in the Judaic-Christian tradition of loving God: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 6:5) and loving "thy neighbour as thyself" (Leviticus 19:18). The love of God requires absolute devotion that is reminiscent of Plato's love of Beauty (and Christian translators of Plato such as St Augustine employed the connections), which involves an erotic passion, awe, and desire that transcends earthly cares and obstacles. Aquinas, on the other hand, picked up on the Aristotelian theories of friendship and love to proclaim God as the most rational being and hence the most deserving of one's love, respect, and considerations.

The universalist command to "love thy neighbor as thyself" refers the subject to those surrounding him, whom he should love unilaterally if necessary. The command employs the logic of mutual reciprocity, and hints at an Aristotelian basis that the subject should love himself in some appropriate manner: for awkward results would ensue if he loved himself in a particularly inappropriate, perverted manner! (Philosophers can debate the nature of 'self-love' implied in this-from the Aristotelian notion that self-love is necessary for any kind of inter-personal love, to the condemnation of egoism and the impoverished examples that pride and self-glorification from which to base one's love of another. St Augustine relinquishes the debate--he claims that no command is needed for a man to love himself (De bono viduitatis, xxi.) Analogous to the logic of "it is better to give than to receive", the universalism of agape requires an initial invocation from someone: in a reversal of the Aristotelian position, the onus for the Christian is on the morally superior to extend love to others. Nonetheless, the command also entails an egalitarian love-hence the Christian code to "love thy enemies" (Matthew 5:44-45). Such love transcends any perfectionist or aristocratic notions that some are (or should be) more loveable than others. Agape finds echoes in the ethics of Kant and Kierkegaard, who assert the moral importance of giving impartial respect or love to another person qua human being in the abstract.

However, loving one's neighbor impartially (James 2:9) invokes serious ethical concerns, especially if the neighbor ostensibly does not warrant love. Debate thus begins on what elements of a neighbor's conduct should be included in agape, and which should be excluded. Early Christians asked whether the principle applied only to disciples of Christ or to all. The impartialists won the debate asserting that the neighbor's humanity provides the primary condition of being loved; nonetheless his actions may require a second order of criticisms, for the logic of brotherly love implies that it is a moral improvement on brotherly hate. For metaphysical dualists, loving the soul rather than the neighbor's body or deeds provides a useful escape clause-or in turn the justification for penalizing the other's body for sin and moral transgressions, while releasing the proper object of love-the soul-from its secular torments. For Christian pacifists, "turning the other cheek" to aggression and violence implies a hope that the aggressor will eventually learn to comprehend the higher values of peace, forgiveness, and a love for humanity.

The universalism of agape runs counter to the partialism of Aristotle and poses a variety of ethical implications. Aquinas admits a partialism in love towards those we are related while maintaining that we should be charitable to all, whereas others such as Kierkegaard insist on impartiality. Recently, LaFallotte has noted that to love those one is partial towards is not necessarily a negation of the impartiality principle, for impartialism could admit loving those closer to one as an impartial principle, and, employing Aristotle's conception of self-love, iterates that loving others requires an intimacy that can only be gained from being partially intimate ("Personal Relations", Blackwell Companion to Ethics). Others would claim that the concept of universal love, of loving all equally, is not only impracticable, but logically empty-Aristotle, for example, argues: "One cannot be a friend to many people in the sense of having friendship of the perfect type with them, just as one cannot be in love with many people at once (for love is a sort of excess of feeling, and it is the nature of such only to be felt towards one person)" (NE, VIII.6).
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby Plasmatic » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:19 pm

Its funny how all tyrants have used altruism ,mycsticism ,and subjegation of oneself for the collective to implement their evil schemes. Without reason faith and force are the only alternatives. A truth tyrants have known and relied upon all too well!
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Re: The polarity of knowledge and wisdom

Unread postby davesmith_au » Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:33 pm

polarityparadox wrote:You mentioned about the three words for love eros (sexual), philia (brotherly), agape (transcendant)...
[...]
... just as one cannot be in love with many people at once (for love is a sort of excess of feeling, and it is the nature of such only to be felt towards one person)" (NE, VIII.6).


Once again, I find myself between a rock and a hard place. But the bottom line is this. Discussion of religion is to be discouraged on this forum. Nothing in the post quoted has anything at all to do with EU, and as such should be relegated to personal discourse in private or on a forum where the discussion of such matters is encouraged. It may well be an interesting discussion for some, but it has no scientific basis nor does it discuss anything proposed by EU theory, and as such should not be discussed further on this forum.

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