The principles of evolution cannot be fully described by some empirical disciplines such as archeology or paleontology, which narrate the history of humankind through artifacts, but do not determine their cultural and physical necessity and interaction in time. The study of evolution, after notable scientific developments in the field of neurology and biology, must instead be undertaken from the advanced principle of common causation resting on cognitive and genetic enrichment of human intelligence, which brings true core evolution and moves it toward the new paradigmatic ides of scientific methodology. Aristotle was the precursor of the study of the principles of “first causes” that move human nature forward. The movement of human evolution, from the first mover is now bound to continue to infinite horizons in time and consequently, must continue to rest on “first principles” of causation. Descartes’ Discourse on Method produced a generalization of the notion of evolution by establishing primary and secondary causes of development, but in reality, the Aristotelian method is what offers the broadest interpretation from the origin of the soul to infinite unknown, developments of human evolution
The author will start this excursus from the philosophical standpoint of “first principles” to arrive at a new notion of the inseparable connection of art and life in support of the principle of universalization of knowledge, which we all must advocate for the advancement of human intelligence and anthropology.
A first principle is a basic, foundational, self-evident
proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced
from any other proposition or assumption.
In philosophy, first principles are taught by Aristotelians
and a nuanced version of first principles are referred to
as postulates by Kantians. (Wikipedia Internet)
If artists had paid attention to what signifies thought development and put into practice some of the major realizations coming from ancient Greece, beginning from Pythagoras, (570 BC), the precursor of mathematics, today we would be living in a different world. Human thought continued to evolve with Parmenides,’ (500 BC), who arrived at the definition of being after studying natural phenomena. Then there came Socrates, who (399 BC) who began question the origins of life and the soul that characterizes the energy that move it. He also’ laid out the logical foundation of research. Plato (433 BC) began questioning the mind that produces thought by contributing to the foundations of research. Questioning is a form of dialogue, which is the foundation o political structures. Aristotle, Plato’ student, (284BC) produced a monumental work establishing the foundation of empirical philosophy, the logic of science, metaphysics, ethics and aesthetic, and more thus questioning the entire spectrum of nature. Then there was Plotinus, (270 BC), who determined the causal order of things.
If artists had learned, embodied and preserved all this body of knowledge, we would probably not be looking at “videogames,” but we would be living in a better world with ethical standard with more respect and observance of the natural laws. We would also be healthier and more secure. The world would live in peace and harmony without global warming and terrorism. Individuals would be healthier, happier and more intelligent for the laws of genetic evolution have always been the same since then.
Artists throughout history did very little to support the fundamental values that some philosopher have worked for their entire life. Whether we like it or not, like all things in life, the concept of art must mow rest on tangible existential reasons, which in philosophy are called first principles. We must remind ourselves that the existence of all things, including ideas and concepts must rest on the principles that establish their causation. Art, like all human concepts, is no exception. Aristotle in Book 1 singled out these principles, one by one. He laid out the empirical method of logical investigation and by that arrived at proving the existence and definition of “soul” as biological and spiritual source of life. In addition, he proved that mathematics always offer the logical method that proves scientific reality. With this thought he undertook the most fundamental ‘first principle’ that human life rested on the actuality and potentiality of being, (like the sum of the enclosed area of a triangle always amounting to 180 degrees). Life and art are bound like the internal equation of a triangle, non-dissociable and interdependent.
The soul is what allows all living things to exist and to multiply, which is another example of ‘first principles’ satisfying the causal notion of existence. He determined the definition of the soul by logical empirical means, but like Descartes his immense knowledge could not drive him to a higher state of mind, or he would have been considered godlike.
The comparison with the artistic quality produced throughout the history of art is here apparent, considering the lack of sharing the great knowledge available to artists, their consequential poor state of mind and their outlook at life. The soul is not made of material substance, but it is invigorated by its own accomplishments and realizations. Human feelings come directly from the soul, according to Aristotle, but true knowledge is what moves the soul. After all, we know that the soul is energy, energy that cannot be dispersed and that always returns to the source. Thus the soul is the source and the dispenser of energy, but it is also the light that brightens the minds like the sun that brightens the surrounding stars of our galaxy.
This pretty much describes the ideal idea of art. Aristotle proved the existence of the soul simply by the realization that it animates all living things as an element of biology (BookII) whose source is unknown, as a “first organized biological body beyond human understanding, but this is not the case when we speak of the living force of human life. Obviously, there is a point in which the causality of the physical body ends and metaphysics begins, which means that at this point physical causality ends and a mysterious forms of existence begin, which have been surmised by many esoteric minds. However, all the senses and all the human faculties that dwell on feelings are aware of the mystery that challenges human imagination. The constant postulations of thinkers and scientists though are not wasted energy. Nevertheless, whatever nourishes the body must have a scientific reason of existence, says Aristotle. The thought of art is not excluded from this rule, which means that one day artists and scientists together will discover a new way life energy being formed. What activates the soul is a compounded energy to be considered eternal because we know that it cannot be dissipated or dispersed, but it may be passed from one body to another, which brings about the potentiality of biological science to arrive at the origins of life one day or another.
Still in Book II Aristotle tries to sustain the theory that all animals possess sense perception and perhaps imagination since the latter is the product of human thought still very much unknown to science. Nevertheless, beside the ability to feel pleasure and pain and distinguish a house from a tree, animals may be recognized with various forms of linguistic intelligence, which is the theoretical initiation of basic Aristotle’s logic and Hegel’s phenomenology. The rationality of the soul is discussed in Book III, which grants the human soul a limitless capacity opening the prospect of anthropology. The ability to think and retain ideas in memory and to act upon them progressively, which is an exclusive capacity of the human brain from a biological and intellectual point of view not granted to common animals whose behavior must rest on simpler necessities for the survival of their species. The intellect is not just a common storehouse, but a special one that places every object in the proper order and allows logical conceptual thinking and causal movement, which he refers to as “the agent” of all possible actions.
Ultimately, the argument on the “immortality” of the souls makes sense though it is built on metaphysical assumptions. According to him, ‘immortality’ of the soul should rest solely on the fact that the soul does not possess, like the other faculties, a thinking organ to sustain it. Spontaneity is a brain function that must arise by gathering energy here and there or from human feelings arising from substantial values. However, for this reason it is free to live without boundaries, which renders it “immaterial” and like magnetic energy in space can be here, there and nowhere to be seen or found. An overall synthetic thinking may be the only way possible to be reached through phenomenological means. Nevertheless, what constitutes ‘first living principle’ of existence is also what allows us to believe in its immortality questioned by many philosophers and critics of logical thinking. We have a soul because we are alive and able to think.
In the 5th Tractate, 2nd Ennead, Plotinus simply makes a distinction between two qualities determining the principles of “actuality” and that of “potentiality” of the soul. The two principles are not dichotomous, but consequential, meaning that once the first becomes clear in the perceiving mind, the second becomes consequential and causational. Our main consideration would be to determine whether we want art to belong to the first, the second category, both or a category of its own encompassing neither the first or the second principle of existence.
‘Actuality’ signifies true existence, while potentiality exists in the realm of sense and imagination as something to become intentional or something else with the participation of human action, like “bronze may be seen as potentiality of a statue, says Plotinus. The distinction of these qualities does not render the realm of sense totally abstract. It clearly defines our capacity to imagine an actual thing, which is to become something else and produce new ideas and new actuality. This is why Plotinus expresses preference for the “embodied” actuality, rather than the “disembodied” actuality, i.e., presumably that which exists as potens of being.
In the fourth Tractate, Sec.2, Plotinus deals with the notion of authenticity, which will later be expanded by Heidegger to signify the truthfulness of Dasein’s model of existential being. The greatest sign of authenticity is given by whatever belongs to the universe as essential matter. Plotinus divides universal forms in two categories both deriving from the essential and inessential universe as mothers of all beings enveloped in their own boundaries. It is hard to believe that such immensity of space was once and still is “authentic” void not contained to allow the universe to expand.
Plotinus, in this Tractate seems to want to remind us that totality and actuality are what we realize as true independent potentialities demanding the actualization we realize in the mind is not beyond possibility, i.e., beyond what is still unknown to us that does not appears in our constructive imagination as totality of being. The question is that we will never know what is encompassed in the totality of being, perhaps the entire universe, which may not include the void beyond space perception.
The important thing is to live in the present in order to embody reality as a whole and leave open the constructive imagination for future becoming. For this reason Plotinus is telling us to stay with the reality of being in whatever thought and whatever action may establish consonant coexistence since, “ Being cannot lodge in non-Being, but, if anything, non-Being within Being” and in what follows an analogy with the notion of the social artist is mandatory
Being, then, is present to all Being;
an identity cannot tear itself asunder;
the omnipresence asserted of it must be presence
within the realm of Being; that is, it must be
a self-presence. And it is in no way strange that
the omnipresence should be at once self-abiding
and universal; this is merely saying omnipresence within
a unity. (4TH Tractate, Sec. 2)
This is great teaching toward the anthropology of art. Reality is truth, which moves cognition and genetic movement to the right direction this is not in opposition to Husserl’s phenomenological reduction] Being to the sense of being known to one self and to others, which would signifies underestimation of the sensible incarnation and what counts for us, anthropologically speaking.
Being to the sense-known and therefore to think of omnipresence in terms of the concrete, and in our overestimation, sensible apprehensions, we must question how that other Nature can reach over such vastness of space;
but our great is small, and this, small to us, is great;
it reaches integrally to every point of our universe- or,
better, our universe, moving from every side
and in all its members towards this, meets it everywhere
as the omnipresent All ever stretching beyond. (ib.)
About the future of the universe, Plotinus predicted a stop to accept “subordination” and still assert its presence.
1. This shows how advanced in thought and imagination Plotinus was, to foresee an expanding universe, which was recently discovered by astronomers after nearly 2,300 years.
2. At this point there seems to be a contradiction from a phenomenological standpoint, for Plotinus expands the concretion of being to the “omnipresence,“ which may well be an error of translation. In fact the “concrete” can only be realized by sense-knowing (perception), which is unlimited and never reaches concretion.
Raffaele Martini Pandozy, Ph.D. July 2017