Sunday, 27 February 2011

Aristotle's Ontology

Question: How does Aristotle answer the fundamental ontological question,” What are the basic realities (ousia/ substance)? How does his answer differ from Plato’s?

            Aristotle’s explanation was that there are two basic kinds of ousia: primary substance and secondary substance. Then, there are other kinds of things that pertain to these. Primary substances, according to Aristotle, are those things which are neither said of (asserted of), nor present in, a subject. That is, individual things, e.g. this man, this ox, this snake, this tree… etc. These ‘individual’ things require sentience; they need both a nutritive and a reproductive soul. Due to the presence of a reproductive soul, they must also be able to reproduce their own kind. Further, they must be of natural kinds, id est things given by nature. They must be identifiable (separate) and re-identifiable (capable of taking on contraries). Here, Aristotle is stating, contrary to Plato, that these primary substances ARE the things themselves, whereas Plato asserted that these things were composites of forms beyond themselves. So, according to Aristotle, the form ‘ox’ isn’t present in ‘this ox,’ neither is the ox participating in the form ‘ox,’ but the ox is an ox, and therefore the universal ‘ox’ exists. ‘This ox’ isn’t said of the universal ‘ox,’ however, because it isn’t all ‘ox.’ 

            Primary substances are those things of which everything is predicated, but which are not predicated of anything. In other words, the 'universal' [man] is predicated by the existence of things like Socrates, but the universal [man] does not necessitate the existence of the man Socrates. This brings us to the secondary substances. 

            The secondary substances, according to Aristotle, are ‘said of’ a subject, but not ‘present in’ a subject. For example, take the sentence,” Socrates is a [man].” Socrates is obviously the primary substance (this man) and so [man] is the secondary substance. Socrates is a man; [man] is said of Socrates. But, ‘Socrates’ isn’t said of [man]… otherwise, we would all be Socrates! So, Socrates is being (ontologically) a man. He is a man, but [man] is not Socrates. 

            I had said that there were other kinds of things which pertain to primary and secondary substances. Aristotle said that one of these other kinds of things, were 'in' individuals in categories other than substance. Of these he said that they are ‘in a subject,’ but not said of any subject. The example Aristotle gives is ‘knowledge of grammar’ and it is easy to see what he means here. The knowledge of grammar is ‘in’ Socrates, but no one would say that Socrates ‘is’ the knowledge of grammar. So, these things are an entirely different substance than ‘ox’ or ‘this ox.’ 

            The other kind of things that pertain to primary and secondary substances are those things which are both ‘in’ and ‘said of’ subjects. This idea has recourse to Aristotle’s belief that things are the primary basis. What I mean is, or rather what Aristotle means, is that the primary things are necessary to these things. An easy example is that I am blond. ‘I’ predicate ‘blondness,’ but blondness does not predicate me. [Blond] exists because individual things that are blond exist. Blond is both said of me and in me. 

            All of these ousia above listed form categories of themselves and develop a taxonomy of quantities, qualities, relations, and places. So, for example, if you have the primary substance (individual) of Socrates, the next thing is up the teleology is the species [man]. Then, above that is the genus [animal]. And above that would probably be [being] and it wouldn't go any higher, because being is being; it's not a composite of universals like Socrates, man, and animal are.

            Aristotle also classifies these substances according to their causes, of which there are four. These causes are teleological explanations and therefore pertain to teleology and the nature of the substances. The first cause is ‘that out of which a thing is made and which remains after the change;’ this is the 'material cause,' e.g. the metal out of which a hammer is made. The second cause is ‘that into which a thing is made;’ this is the 'formal cause,' e.g. the hammer itself. The third cause is ‘that by which a thing is made;’ this is the 'efficient cause,' e.g. the blacksmith who made the hammer. The fourth cause is ‘that for the sake of which a thing is made;’ this is the 'final cause,' e.g. the hammer was made for pulling nails and pounding them in. So, according to Aristotle, there is a teleological explanation for everything. 

            Now, Plato’s ideas differ from Aristotle’s. Aristotle does a good job of explaining the difference in the sixth chapter of the Metaphysics. He points out that Socrates was in pursuit of what Aristotle termed ‘universals of ethics’ instead of the things themselves, i.e. ethical things. Socrates was looking for [virtue] and not virtuous things. Plato took this pattern of pursuit and applied it to all the things themselves. For Aristotle, universals were bi-products of individual things. For Plato, individual things were the bi-products of universals, and the individual things weren’t really individuals, rather, they were composites of what Plato called 'forms.'

            So, for a working example: Aristotle would say that heroism exists because individual things are heroic, and white exists because there are white things, and that the individual man is the predication of these things. Plato, however, would say that the body is merely organon (a tool or a vessel) which participates in the ‘form’ of heroism, and the ‘form’ of whiteness ‘itself.’ Further, because of this difference, they disagreed on the concept of 'flux' which originated with the Heracleiteans. For Aristotle, primary and secondary substances were always in a state of flux because they were taking on contraries at varying rates. For Plato, the organon of matter was simply participating in forms one instant and other forms the next. 

            So, very basically, Aristotle was a materialist; things were and are, in and of themselves, their own explanation. Plato, on the other hand said that a whole host of other things in and from the 'intelligible realm' were necessary to the existence of sensible things. For Aristotle, the rock is a rock, because it is a rock, and from the individual 'rock' comes the universal [rock] and [gray] and so forth. For Plato, the matter of the rock was participating in the form ‘rock,’ and the form ‘one,’ and the form ‘gray,’ and the form ‘hard.’ Plato’s philosophy multiplied problems by saying that the answers were elsewhere in the intelligible realm, doubling the subjects. Aristotle’s philosophy took the answers out of the intelligible realm and put them back into the sensible and said,” The answer is right here, and there’s no need to multiply the problem.”

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Sunday, 13 February 2011


 I am appalled at the attitude of so many people who think they are shining examples of Catholics. I'm really sick of the people who live, think, believe, do and think they have the right to do all kinds of thing against the teachings of the Church and then hold up the 'Roman Catholic' card.

There are some non-negotiables if you are going to be a Catholic, necessities if you will. They are necessities, because if you reject them, or if you verbally attack those who do agree with them and defend them, you are wrong. It is one thing for you to silently disagree and work it out, accepting that you are wrong even if you don't understand why, nobly sorting out your own error. But it is quite another to puff up your chest at your fellow Catholics and verbally attack them for standing by the teachings of the Church, to act like they need to "join the modern world," to call them idiots, and to call them bigots.

So, without these 'necessities' you don't get to pull the Roman Catholic card. The fact that you are a Roman Catholic is immaterial to whether or not your personal opinions are correct. If you believe in in vetro and a fellow Catholic calls you on you heretical point of view, don't you dare pull the Roman Catholic card as if to say the Roman Catholic Church makes provision for your opinion, as if to say you are the same as the person correcting you. You ARE NOT the same as the person correcting you, because you are wrong and the Church does not make provision for your heretical opinion because it is not orthodoxy, it is heterodoxy.

So, here are some non-negotiables:

Abortion is NEVER o.k. If you tell someone that it is o.k., and they get an abortion you are excommunicated. If you help them procure an abortion in any fashion, with knowledge, you are excommunicated. If you advise abortion, you are excommunicated. If you publicly defend and endorse abortion, you are excommunicated. If you do any of these you are hell bound and damned, unless you repent with true contrition and immediately seek out the sacrament of reconciliation.

If your opinion on abortion does not meet with the teaching of the Church, you are not to receive the Holy Eucharist, because you are anathema.

In vitro fertilization is NOT o.k. You may not do it, you may not endorse it, you may not counsel persons in such a manner that brings it about.

"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material." This falls under murder and abortion. It is a mortal sin that immediately cuts you off from the saving grace of Christ. If you do it you are hell bound and damned, unless you repent with true contrition and immediately seek out the sacrament of reconciliation.

If you get married in the Church, and you divorce, you can never marry again. If you do get married anyway, you have committed the sin of adultery, a mortal sin which damns your soul eternally unless you repent with true contrition and immediately seek out the sacrament of reconciliation.

Homosexual acts are forbidden. Homosexuals are called to live celibate and chaste.  There are absolutely no exceptions.

Contraception is forbidden. This includes the 'pulling out method.' It is a grave sin. Condoms, the pill, and all other forms of contraception are forbidden. Sterilization is forbidden. Women will not intentionally make themselves infertile for the purpose of preventing pregnancy. The morning after pill would be classed under murder, in the category of abortion... a mortal and damning sin.

There will never be female priestesses in the Catholic Church.

Fornication of all kinds is mortal sin. All adultery is mortal sin.

Homosexual marriage is forbidden.

Those are non-negotiable. Are they judgmental? You bet! We agree with Christ and His Holy Catholic Church who have judged. Don't even try to pretend that individual Catholics are being  "un-Christlike," we're being very Christlike because it is Christ who has condemned what you allow. If you are a Catholic and you disagree don't get mad at Catholics, get mad at the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Get mad at Jesus Christ.

There is no room for charity when it comes to mortal sin. The Catholic Church has laid it on the line concerning mortal sin... you do it you are excommunicated and you go to hell. Don't expect Catholics to hold your hand and coddle you while you are damning yourself. There is only one thing to tell you in all the above cases: you are wrong, you are not in line with the Catholic Church, and it isn't ok. There is no wiggle room. It is not a matter of conscience. It isn't a grey area, there isn't room for a debate. You are wrong. That is all.

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Deliver Me, O Jesus "Blessed Mother Teresa"

Deliver me, O Jesus,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire to being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the desire of being popular,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being suspected.
~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta~

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Protestant Evangelical Attack On Christian Religion

This issue really gets me. APEs (American Protestant Evangelicals) constantly shove this "personal relationship" with Jesus down everyone's throat, yet never cease their attack on religion. Why is that? I'll tell you. They've unilaterally redefined what the term religion means in order to attack religion in general.

They say that by religion they mean dead man-made traditions. But they don't get to redefine what the word religion actually means. Religion means exactly what the dictionary would tell you: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity (Merriam-Websters). Religion is a way of life centered on the reality of God, extending to all venues.

The attack on religion really highlights the fact that Protestantism is a heresy, just like the Church has always said it is. The message Protestantism sends is one of," Live for God, but don't do it with any sense of order or regularity. Organize your life around God, but without any organization thereof. Order your life around Christ, but don't do it with any kind of order. Sanctify your life, but without sanctifying anything. Create a Christian culture, but without any traditions or culture. Have a relationship with Christ, but not through the Church. Seek the Truth, but once you've found it don't write it down authoritatively in order to help subsequent generations grasp the Truth; we want to keep reinventing the wheel in every generation. Bring something to the table of Christianity, but once you're gone, so is everything you brought."

Let me just cut to the chase: "The Holy Spirit is not the author of confusion." Christ did not intend for each generation of Christians to build so that the next generation could knock it down and discredit it. The Holy Spirit does not reveal the Truth to Christians so that they will forget it. The Holy Spirit does not reveal the Truth to the society of all Christians so that it's forgotten over and over and over again, only to be painfully relearned in every generation. That's like having to learn that fire is hot, every single day. The Truth is revealed in an accumulative fashion so that each generation builds, until the fullness of the Truth, once delivered by Christ, is revealed in full. This is the perfection of the Bride of Christ.

This "personal relationship" nonsense that Protestants push is designed by Satan to do one thing and one thing only: to cut Christians off from the brethren. It's designed to cut Christians off from the Body of Christ, the society of all Christians. It's designed only to blind people from the communal revelation of Christ, and the revelations that the Holy Spirit gives to the Body as a whole throughout the ages. And if you think those revelations are superfluous, look at some communal revelations: the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the Real Presence. You won't find the word trinity in the bible, or consubstantiality, or hypostasis, or transubstantiation for that matter. Those are communal revelations about the truth once delivered by Christ. Those are pretty substantial revelations.

The proposition of Protestantism which says," Forget religion! A deep personal relationship is all you need!" is counter intuitive and that's why they love it, it's a gimmick. It's the same as saying," Hey, eye ball, you don't need the head. Hey, finger, you don't need the hand." Go tie off your index finger good and tight, and tell me how long it takes before it turns green and starts to stink. The relationship of the Christian individual to the Church is more than going to listen to a sermon. It is a serious, life or death component to Christian life. The individual Christian needs the Body of Christ just like any body part needs the rest of the body.

The body shares a nervous system made out of the same substances as all it's parts; that is analogous to religion and tradition. The electrical impulses that move through the nervous system are analogous to the Holy Spirit. APEs are basically saying," You don't need a nervous system. Let me paralyze you." It's spiritual suicide. It's a bullet aimed at the head of Christ, His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

This heresy is a darkening of the intellect, which is why Evangelical Protestantism is world renowned for its sophistry, its fear-mongering, its anti-intellectual nature, its hatred of logic and reason, and its enmity with scientific and historical facts. This specific heresy of only needing a "personal relationship" is illogical and evil; it's designed to stunt human souls through ignorance. In fact, it was St. Augustine who famously said," Sin darkens the intellect." and as an Orthodox friend of mine aptly translated," Sin makes you dumb." Beware of this heresy! This IS NOT kosher, this IS NOT Christian, and most of all it IS NOT true. You need the Church, humanity needs the Church. The path to Christ is the Church and all of its sacraments. The Church is not merely some vague concept of you and me and everyone who calls on the name of Jesus. The Church is a way of life, it is religion, it is the sacraments. And don't forget it.      

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Why Circumcision?

This practice has always been strange to us, even those who bear the mark of circumcision. It seemingly is the last thing a man should want to do, yet interestingly it is a symbol of the very thing he wants to do.

Abram was a man called out of his fathers house from the city of Ur of the Chaldeans and led into the land which the Lord had prepared for all his descendants. Abram was accompanied by his relatives and their slaves and their children, free and slave and all who had joined themselves to Abram.

Insomuch as we may derive from this knowledge that they had a common understanding having been from one nation and even further one city. According to the nature of God, we must presume that the covenant which He would construct with Abram was one that would have symbolic meaning and peculiar depth. So, let's look at how the Chaldean would perhaps perceive the practice of circumcision.

The head of the penis, as is commonly accepted, is a mystical symbol of the head itself. However, just as today one might presume, so too then was the head synonymous with the heart. So, circumcision is the removal of the crown which crowns the head. This would lead us to assume it is symbolic of recognition of a superior crown or even a foreshadowing of that saying that we will cast our crowns before the Lord, even as Zipporah cast the foreskin of Gershom at the feet of Moses her husband who was confronted by the Lord; therefore casting that fleshy crown before the Lord as an appeasement.

Then, as well, we must assume that it could be percieved simultaneously as a hood or a sack which had shrouded the head and heart of the man. That same shroud of sin which man did don originally in the garden. God was calling them, perhaps, to display the removal of depravity and ignorance. Circumcision was almost certainly a symbol of enlightenment, seeing that the head was no longer covered and could now see the truth and the heart could feel all things as they truly are.

There is, now, another reason for circumcision which is perhaps just as blessed as the others. The Semitic people known as the Habiru (Hebrew), which is a Semitic term that embodies simultaneously vagabond, nomad, gypsy, and stranger, grew very quickly as a nation. Anyone who was a run away, a freed slave, a man-slayer, a merchant, any refugees could join themselves to the Habiru. They were in fact a frightening force, looked at as locusts in the countries in which they wandered into. However, the kings of varying cities sought to make use of them by making buying them as military allies, which is demonstrated in the Book of Genesis.

However, to create a uniformity in the society and to preserve their culture, circumcision would have been an effective deterrent against all those who were not worthy of character to dwell with the Habiru. The lack of courage to under go the surgery would have presumably been a disqualifying factor. It was a means of preservation, I think, that God wisely instated. Further, it is evident that circumcision is the healthier of choices in that it prevents the spreading of disease. Men who are circumcised are less likely to instigate cervical cancer in their partners. It was a symbol that these people were conceived in truth and understanding, where as the rest of the world was conceived in darkness and ignorance.

Also, we see the males only receiving the circumcision, though female circumcision did exist, but not among the Habiru. This is most probably because God stated the males, but secondly and less importantly, many primitive societies believed that the man made people and planted them in the woman (the homunculus). However, I can not speak certainly concerning the Habiru on this particular view, but it does to appear to have been the common consensus. This would reinforce the idea that the offspring would be conceived in knowledge of God, owing their generation to the male in the primitive mind. Anyway, just something to think about... ponderings, you might say. 

"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~