Professori Bruce Charltonin blogin kommenttiosastosta:
Without forms, there is no theory, but rather only an ever-growing body of facts – only natural history, raw data that has not been processed, but rather only collected. When scientists begin to understand the patterns and regularities that to their patient contemplation become apparent in the raw data, and to develop a series of equations that seem to describe them, they have begun to build a *formalization* of the data. They have begun, that is, to discover and express in mathematical terms the *form* of the data, the form of the phenomena under consideration. The really strange thing about forms, so far as I am concerned, is the fact that some of them are attractive. Physical systems seek to realize them; this is the whole meaning of cybernetic homeostasis and the statistical reversion to the mean. It is seen also in physics, with. e.g., the Pauli Exclusion Principle, or for that matter the conservation laws. That matter seeks out these arrangements, that these arrangements are thermodynamically stable, that they are equilibria, regularities of nature, is deeply spooky. We take it for granted because it is everywhere in the world; but it needn't be so. Which is to say, there needn't be a causal *order,* i.e., a world, at all. This attractiveness of certain forms comes from – where? It is expressed in Aristotelico-Thomistic metaphysics as final causation: the tendency, the nisus, the urge, of a given state of affairs toward the production of a certain form at some point in the future. Urge, erg, work, ergo: all the same word, at root. Things want to be a certain way, that is typified by justice, or harmony, or krasis, as the Greeks variously expressed the same notion; or as the Hebrews thought of it, righteousness, tsedeq. It is only a step to infer that physical transactions are without exception transmissions of information - of form - from one event, and about that event, to another. But information is intensional; it is always about something other than itself. It is, that is to say, a sign, and a signal; so that physical transactions are more like accepted proposals or answered prayers than they are like one dead thing bonking into another. Whitehead added that the forms are attractive because they are beautiful, absolutely beautiful, beautiful as such. I.e., their beauty is an aspect of their essential nature. It is given necessarily, along with what they are, and by definition. I.e., it is eternal. This is why he, and Augustine and Plato, referred the beauty of the Forms to the Form of the Forms, from which they all derive; which is the Form of the Good – to God. Certain Forms are beautiful and attractive to creatures because God from all eternity finds them beautiful and attractive, and would that they were realized concretely. So that, when we experience the sublimely beautiful, we experience a bit of what God experiences. And, also, so that when creatures actualize a form, they are accepting God’s proposal (at least in part, and even if only poorly, or disagreeably). The pattern evident in matter, then, derives in the first instance from the Pater. As Professor Digory said in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: "What are they teaching in the schools these days? It's all in Plato; it's all right there in Plato."
27 October 2011 08:54
@Kristor - thanks for that excellent comment. Given the attractiveness of the forms, the fact they are so widely and systematically violated is indirect evidence of *purposive* evil at work, it seems to me. Because accidental or random-error violation of the forms would be self-correcting - due to regression to the mean and other phenomena you mention - therefore that there is no regression to the mean over time or generations implies that there is a force maintaining, and increasing, deviation from the mean. This in turn suggests to me deviant 'forms' - which are presumably partial and/or distorted true-forms (i.e. with some good in them, but unbalanced) - which might stand as a definition of evil. These deviant forms are (presumably) maintained and amplified by morphic resonance, which is fuelled (and the process would need plenty of fuel) by something akin to 'demonic energy' - a force which is motivated to distortion and disruption of natural forms.
27 October 2011 13:14
In my field of work, jurisprudence, it is hard to make sense of what most academic lawyers are saying, because there is no structured metaphysical theory of law. Jurisprudence in the West was born when the medieval scholars started to study ancient Roman lawyers and recognized the forms (person, property, contract etc.) that they used in legal reasoning. The understanding of such a finite number of legal forms was continued in various modern theories of "natural law" until the 19th century, although the number and status of these forms was debated. One Adolf Reinach had written a good account of the finite number of legal forms and their metaphysical status in the early 20th century. Unfortunately he was killed in the Great War. In the 20th century, discussion of metaphysical questions has generally been avoided in jurisprudence. The theory of legal positivism stated that the democratically elected parliaments or common law judges can create new rules in whichever forms they like. This corrupted traditional jurisprudence, and now the only theory is deconstruction of law: which means accepting chaos. Basically jurisprudence nowadays is political advocacy or justification of political decisions post factum. Non-political jurisprudence would mean accumulating data on various laws and decisions.
27 October 2011 14:28
@Matias - That is a very interesting and important point, which I had not previously considered. Modern Law (especially as influenced by the European Union) is actually a kind of anti-Law: it has retained its aspiration for coherence and non-self-contradiction but only achieves this by introducing fundamentally vague and arbitrarily-enforced subjectivity at key nodal points: such as 'hate' laws, the idea of 'offense' and radically-confused notions of 'equity'. We have the worst of the two basic systems of justice - the old medieval idea of judging people by their reputation and the later medieval idea of procedural justice. We now have the impersonality and incompleteness of procedural Law to the nth degree (vast numbers of detailed laws); combined with an inversion of judgment by reputation: so that we are more concerned to avoid incorrectly punishing a bad person for something they may not have done; than to avoid punishing a good person for a non-wicked procedural transgression. And we have indeed inverted the categories of good and bad persons (in order to avoid 'prejudice).
27 October 2011 15:02
When Kepler speaks of geometry, he refers to the Pythagorean/Babylonian music of the spheres, the numerical order and harmony that men through most of history saw governing nature both above and below. It is coterminous with the Stoic/Judeo-Christian Logos Judeo-Christian in that John and Philo, both orthodox Jews, used the Greek Logos to refer to the second Person of the Trinity – they both recognized that the Stoic Logos was YHWH. It is the Tao: when the Jesuits were translating the Bible into Mandarin, they translated “Logos” as “Tao” (doubly apt for the Person Jesus described as the Way; the Tao is the Way of Heaven). Note finally that the music of the spheres is sung by the Heavenly Host; the spheres are embodiments of angels. “Sabaoth” means “Cosmos,” and both those terms mean “Host arrayed as for battle.” So the Logos is the Order of Heaven as well as of Earth. When Kepler says that geometry is co-eternal with God, then, all he is saying is that the Logos is co-eternal with the Father. When he asks, “What exists in God that is not God Himself?,” he asserts the consubstantiality of the Father and His Son, the Logos. Whatever is true of an eternal being is by definition true eternally. Kepler is expressing monotheism. When he says that geometry provided God with a model for the Creation, he simply rehearses the ancient doctrine that creation is the image of God, or as Plato had it, the moving image of eternity. Because God is the only eternal being, there can be no other being than He that could have operated for Him as a model for His creation. Everything other than God, then, follows upon Him (in every sense of “follows”). Thus is Man – and by extension the whole world that produced him, that forms the proscenium of his existence, and of which he is an integral part – made in the image of God. This is all to say that the forms of things are derived from the aboriginal instantiation of the Forms in God. All the Forms, then, are present implicitly in everything that exists; for each Form is logically related to all the others (if only by negation: giraffe = ~~ giraffe (so that the explicit expression of the form of the Giraffe in a given actual giraffe = the explicit non-expression of all non-Giraffe Forms = the implicit expression of all non-Giraffe Forms)), so that if we express one of them, we may work our way thence to any other, stepwise. This is how the whole domain of the Forms is made available to our introspection. It is how we are able to recognize them in our sensorium. It is how we are able to reason our way through maths; is how Socrates could elicit from the untutored boy an explicit, precise statement of arcane geometrical truths that had always been apparent to his inherent unconscious apprehension, as aspects of his very being. And this is how the Forms are made available to a new occasion of becoming, so that they may inform it and guide it in the way that it ought to go; it is how morphic fields are present to operate on events that are widely separated in space and time (and evolutionary history – the omnipresence in nature of the formal notion of vision (and, ipso facto, of the potentiality of becoming oneself a seeing thing) accounts for the independent invention of vision by several diverse branches of the morphological tree)(NB: “in-vention” = “in-Spiriting”)(it should also be noted in this connection that with each new moment of a seeing animal’s existential career, that animal re-invents vision, along with every other formal aspect of its substance; continuity is just reiterated quanta of actualization of the same forms). Every concrete recurrence of a Form, then, is an instance of anamnesis.
27 October 2011 20:09
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