Introduction to the Essay
Innovator, free-thinker, philosopher, scientist, and inventor of the field of formal logic, which is not the point of this small essay on one of the greatest philosophers known to the Western world. Emphasis has been put on “Western” because it has been steadily discovered over time that many a Greek traveled to Egypt for study, before returning home to Greece, much like is the case with every upper echelon civilization today. Many would agree this is the case with those who would travel abroad to Cambridge in Britain, or for those who travel to the United States for educational purposes.
My purpose in speaking on Aristotle is mainly to introduce his thought process while delivering a few commentary notes on my favorite ten quotes(notice I did not say top ten, as it is impossible with an educator and philosopher of his stature to be limited to a top ten) that have impacted my way of thinking, and helped influence my writing of these Grail texts that I am delivering to you over the next few years. Along with Aristotle, we will make stops at his teachers Socrates and Plato(yes, we will cover in reverse order, as this helps us understand better in retrospect how thought processes developed, I find this better than teaching in order, because it helps the brain stay fluid), then dive into some Eastern philosophy with Lao Tzu and Bruce Lee. To learn more about Aristotle in general, please see the article from encyclopedia Brittanica here.
Aristotle’s thought processes had a hand in contemporary philosophy, political thought, scientific philosophy, metaphysics, most of the sciences, and human ethics. His main course of study was discovering “what made a human life good,” and how one could live their life making sure they achieved that goal. Obviously, all teachers and students differ, that’s the inherent point behind passing down ideas of thinking; to make the ideals better, to expound on previous thought and improve upon it for the good of the world. I don’t want to take too much time breaking down exactly what Aristotle did, but it would be quite impossible for me, as the world only has about a third of his works available, most of which were probably notes. Let’s move on to his quotes and my thoughts on how they affect us as humans on Earth today.
Aristotle on Life
- “Personal beauty is a better recommendation than any letter of reference.” We inherently know this to be true. Beautiful people are our celebs, models, citizens that we look up to. It’s a matter of merit to be beautiful, as one who is beautiful(not just outside, but also within) are typically believed to take better care of themselves, be more educated, and with those good looks, it’s desirable for common folks to be around them. Attractiveness is a magnet, and we know from last weeks Seeker article that symmetry is built into the human consciousness as something to be desired. One can always become beautiful; it requires a knowledge of good nutrition, which in turn feeds the body to look well, which in turn feeds the confidence, which feeds a thirst for more knowledge about taking better care of oneself, which breeds symmetry and beauty.
- “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” To be truly educated is to know that one doesn’t know everything. Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” To predate him, Confucius stated, “What you know, you know, and what you don’t know, you don’t know…true wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” This is why the truly educated are always searching for more information, to either prove or disprove their own thought processes. One by default becomes a scientist of sorts, using information in the laboratory of the mind to conduct experiments for the sake of knowledge itself, not proving a point. We desire to entertain thoughts outside of our own without fear because only through finding and testing new information can we become just a little bit smarter than we were previously.
- “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Most of us know this, if only in the back of our minds. It is easier to follow the path of negativity, as the human body is a mortal one, destined for death. It is the path of the superior, or spiritual man/woman, to seek higher elevation, especially in times of “distress.” To seek to drown oneself more in darkness and pity is the sign of a weak individual, and the only thing negative about being weak is the refusal to admit one’s weakness, and attempt to become stronger. To stay weak is the sin, as the sin wills us towards the death that already awaits us.
- “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” This is the purpose of socialism and especially democratic socialism. My point isn’t that one way of political thought is better than another, as each has their merits. That in itself is a “point.” That we should take the merits of all and do our best to use them to the advantage of all. Each individual has their own talents AND shortcomings. The true leader is able to use each individual to their strengths while putting them also in a position to minimize the use of their weaknesses. Nature is balanced, everything and everyone plays its role perfectly. This means that all roles are equal. Everyone and everything is equal in nature, and so it should be with every earthling and system of thought.
- “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” Many disagree on this for the simple fact a lot of people are never taught HOW to deal with the mind. We aren’t taught about it, or why those voices in our head are so strong. This is explained if one can understand that there is an “I” and there is a “ME.” Humans have a dual nature, and we are taught mostly from the physical, not understanding a base on the physical is exactly what leads us to be LED by the physical. Its hormonal processes and desires will swing us on the pendulum of life until we ascend to the “I.” I have a tidbit on that here. To understand that dealing with one’s self, to control and discipline the body to exist as the “I” takes energy, knowledge, and dedication, all of which can be created in solitude.
- “The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” Again, this is a reference to the negative influences our body exerts on us, as it steadily marches towards death. The mind, the “I,” is immortal, and cannot be killed along with the body. The mind will remain, and as long as one can contemplate and understand this, one has the opportunity to understand the power of life itself. Instead of the constant thought of “avoiding death” and “surviving” one can realize the true potential inside one’s own mind. Remember, what we focus on or give energy to becomes our reality, due to the power of the mind. If one believes he can or cannot, it is true. Understanding the true power and nature of the mind becomes the source of life itself when contemplated.
- “Democracy is when the indigent(poor, needy) and not the men of property, are the rulers.” We must first understand the definition of democracy. Put simply, it is the control of an organization or group by the majority of its members. The only participation that most of the members of the USA have is in a voting process which is still unequal due to the electoral college, which gives power to a certain few individuals based on various rankings and statistics. Unless the people are allowed the choice in making the rules, we cannot consider this a democracy. For instance, did you know that there are 20,000 laws governing just the use and ownership of guns? Or that in a seven-year period “Congress” created 452 new crimes, which brings the total of Federal crimes available for punishment to almost 5,000? When a small group has control over the majority, democracy doesn’t exist. A democracy cannot exist THROUGH representation either, as one person cannot represent the thoughts of many, and that is why a divide exists. This is why the people who have everything, the people who make the most money, cannot lead, as they, by default, CANNOT actually have the voice of the needy in mind when making laws.
- “Nature does nothing in vain.” This was discussed a few points ago. Nature is perfect, and never does anything outside of the cause and effect system, the system of rhythm, a system of natural order and balance. Everything in nature happens because it’s supposed to, as the Earth is a living organism designed to survive regardless of the demands put on it by every species here. The Earth is designed to maintain and support life, so its processes must also happen to support that cause. Knowing this, it must be a singular species that causes bad things to happen on earth, as everything is connected BECAUSE it is a singular unit.
- “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” Also discussed in point six. The more one connects to the mind, the more one desires to be led by it, and less by the physical body, which tends towards negative energy and death. It is essential that one contemplate this. If one desires to be led by the physical, the up and down swing of energy by the food one eats, belief systems, thought processes due to the environment and hormonal changes, etc., will cost one dearly. To be led by the mind is to have the energy of the mind, which is infinite. The mind is an infinite power source to the body, and accessing this can help one understand the essence of life.
- “If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature’s way.” The best way is nature’s way, as it is THE natural way. No pun intended, however, the truth remains. One should always take the path of least resistance, as in that path one can find the natural order of things, especially for themselves. To find out how you naturally exceed your “limitations” is nature’s way. Do what is natural, as nature does, and you will find it is the best way.
This ends my essay and commentary on ten great quotes from teacher Aristotle. I hope that you were able to take away some things that can help you find your path in life and exceed limitations. This is the point of the Grail that I am composing. I must help you find the power within yourself to change. Next week is Socrates. I hope you will join.