Estimated reading time: 50 minute(s)
Pythagoras. As for Pythagoras, we don’t know much about it. But if the tradition relating to his ‘arithmetic’ is correct, we can say that it was he (as Plato seems to admit, who has only contempt for the ‘Milesians’ but perhaps admires Xenophanes) who posed the question of the Concept explicitly. For what has the structure of a number is certainly not “matter” in the current sense of the word, nor the apparent “form” of corporeal objects. Nor is it a “meaning” in the ordinary sense of the word. However, it is what “determines” the forms of bodies and “defines” the (“true”) meaning from what is said about it. In any case, if the set of Pythagorean “Numbers” is supposed to be the Concept, it is for the first time in philosophy that we speak of it as something with a structure. -Whatever the philosophical content of pre-Parmenidean discourses, there is no doubt about their scientific character. The Cosmos of which they speak is not the World of which Magic speaks because the link between the Essence and the Body is, for them, unequivocal and necessary in all Objects, whatever they may be. And it may even be that such a vital and unambiguous link has also been affirmed about the link between Meaning and Morpheme in Discourse. No doubt we know nothing precise about this second point. But the polemic of the Sophists (as well as Plato’s Cratylus) suggests that at the origin of (Greek) Philosophy, the Discourse was taken and conceived in the image of Objects. In any case, the fact that the Greeks knew from the beginning the existence of several different languages is not an objection to this hypothesis. Because the cries of animals also differ according to the species, and nothing prevents us from saying that the Greeks and the Barbarians, placed in the presence of one and the same essence, link the unique meaning which relates to them to morphemes differently, but does so in each case in a necessarily and unequivocal way, according to their respective physiological constitutions. In any case, it would be natural for men to be struck first by the fact that the names of things impose themselves on them and are removed from their arbitrariness. And it would be normal that in the “scientistic” atmosphere of the beginning of Philosophy, an explanation of this fact, modelled on the explanation of phenomena purely “Natural” was the first that presented itself to the minds of those who spoke of the Discourse in general and theirs in particular. -Be that as it may, general scientism is sufficiently attested in Greece, at least as early as Thales. Because you have to be careful to believe that the notion of a unique Principle of all things is a magical notion: the “Water” of Thales has nothing to do with the “Mana” nor with the “spirits” of the so-called mentality “animist”. Indeed, on the one hand, unlike the ‘Mana’ of Magic, the unique ‘Principle’ of Greek Science cannot be or become anything at all. On the contrary, this Principle is only supposed to be able to become what it effectively is as Cosmos. Whence the idea of the cyclical character of cosmic becoming, which is the basis of all the scientific ideas of ”Natural Law”, is foreign to all that Magic, whatever it may be, says about the World. On the other hand, the “Mana” of Magic is in no way “unqualified” (in the sense not only of the Apeiron but also of the Milesian Water and Air) or “homogeneous”, while the Spirits of Animism are distinctly “individualised.” Now, it is in spite of or even thanks to their “qualifications” that the “Spirits”, like the Mana, can incarnate themselves in “anything” and change bodies “at will”. On the other hand, Greek Scientism could not admit the uniqueness of the Principle (interpreted as Essence, “Soul”, or “God”) only on the condition of emptying it of all “specific” content and thus also making it “homogeneous” and “neutral” as possible. The “Water” of Thales can only be the “essence” of earth and fire because it is something quite different from the water we drink and where we bathe. The essence of water is embodied only in water. But the Principle called ‘Water’ is other than this essence, which is why it can be taken and understood not only as the essence of the embodied water in water but still, like that of the earth incarnated in the earth, etc. And this is also why the evolution of Science does not lead to a diversification of the Principle, but to a unification of the Essence and, consequently, towards that of the Body [following which Science will no longer need either Essences nor the Principle and will be content with a “Matter”, where no essence corresponds to the meaning of any discourse whatsoever relating to it]. -In summary, when Parmenides began his authentically philosophical discourse, there were already discourses in Greece which posed the concept question or, at the very least, allowed it to be posed and answered. Now, all these discourses had a “scientific” or “scientist” character in the sense that they affirmed the necessary character of the unequivocal links which they established between the essences and the bodies of the objects which corresponded to the meaning of what they said of the essences, & in reference to the bodies. הבנה של הטקסט הזה מראה לך למה לא! פילוסופיה ויהדות, או:
Greek Philosophy. The antithesis of Judaism. The Christian Synthesis. -By discovering that a cat is everywhere and always a Cat and that it can never and nowhere be anything else, the Greek Philosophers put an end once and for all to these mistakes, or: since this genuinely revolutionary discovery of the indissoluble link between the Essence of a Thing and the Existence of that same Thing, no sane man (who, by definition, avoids contradicting himself) has ever doubted the fact that there is a one-to-one relationship between a given Essence and a “thingist” Existence.-By linking Essence to Existence with a one-to-one and indissoluble link, the Greeks suppressed the very possibility of Magic as such, based on the negation or non-recognition of such a link. -But they have retained the great discovery of the Magicians of yesteryear, namely the radical distinction between Existence which they called “profane” and which we call “empirical” and Mana (which was “sacred” for them, and which has remained for us, since Plato, “ideal” or “intelligible” and in any case “essential”). In this suppression, the Notion of Mana has been transformed or sublimated into that of Essence. -The fact that the Primitives (in the tropics or in Paris) continue even today to admit (explicitly or implicitly) the “magical” conception of the relationship between the Essence and Existence only proves that “cultural” or discursive, even historical, human Existence includes “living fossils”, just as does “natural” life, plant or animal. -Psychologically, the Concept is no different from “magical” Mana, except that it can only exist in a perfectly determined Thing. At the same time, Mana was supposed to find Existence in any “freely chosen” Thing, by its given halo or by a Magician’s hand. -Thus, the Notion of Mana, “sublimated” by the Greek Philosophers into the Notion of Essence, is the basic Notion of all Science in the proper sense of the word.-Wanting to deny the Greek discovery of the Essence and return to the magical Notion of Mana would therefore be to want to deny Science as such, despite its innumerable technical successes, which is impossible for someone who is supposed to have a minimum of common sense.-Let us, therefore, admit as an “indisputable” datum, the assertion (of Greek origin) that the Essence of a Thing is necessarily (that is to say everywhere and always) linked to a determined type of “Thingist Existence”. -And that all “thingist” Existences of this type always and everywhere (that is to say necessarily) have the same Essence.- Henceforth, all cats will have the same Essence for us, which is precisely that of the Cat; we will not even try to look for this Essence elsewhere than in a Cat and we will admit that this Essence can only act, for example, by way of catching mice or walking along a gutter, that is, only through an “ordinary living Cat”, being “able to do anything Cats can do, but “essentially” incapable of doing anything else. -However, if we now pass from the Essence of the Cat to the Meaning of the notion CAT, we will see that it is not the same at all. The meaning c a t exists in the cat morpheme in the same way as the Essence of the Cat exists in the living organism. In particular, a CAT qua morpheme can be perceived (heard, seen, etc.) just as can be any cat or any other thing in Existence. -But if all the Things which “embody” the Essence of the Cat are everywhere and always Cats, all the morphemes which “embody” the Sense cat do not necessarily have the form (vocal, graphic, etc.) cat. If we compare all the morphemes which currently exist on earth and which have (for the one who compares them) the same meaning CAT, we will see that they differ from each other much more than a Cat differs from a Dog for example. -However, the difference between a Dog and a Cat is enough for the Essence of the Cat to have a thingistic Existence only in the latter and not in the former. Moreover, what does a vocal morpheme have in common with a graphic or mimic morpheme? -Yet, they can all have the same Sense, which exists within each of them. Moreover, we have seen previously that concerning “content”, there is no difference between the Essence of the Cat and the Sense of the notion cat. -What radically distinguishes Essence from Sense, therefore, is the fact that Essence is linked to a thingistic Existence of a determined type in a univocal way, while Sense can be linked to any thingistic Existence (provided it is a Morpheme). -In other words, Sense behaves exactly as “magical” Mana is supposed to behave. One could say that Sense is the “Essence” of the Notion (or of its morpheme), on the condition of admitting that this “Essence” has all the characteristics which Mana is supposed to have qua Magic. -We could therefore say that the Notion is a “magical” or “sacred” entity, while the Thing is a “scientific” or “natural” (even “profane”) entity. Or again, one could say that the same “entity” (of which we cannot yet say what it is) can exist as Essence, insofar as it is linked to a “natural Thing”. And at the same time, if not in the same place [the Sense is not an Essence, as we will see later], the Psychological Introduction of Concept is sacred, insofar as it relates to a “magical Thing”, which is, nothing other than a Morpheme. -The recognition of the “essential” difference between Sense and Essence is of capital importance. It is, therefore, necessary to stop there a little, to realize its full significance, although this observation seems to us today “trivial” or “banal”, that is to say, if we prefer, “necessarily and universally valid”. -First of all, it is not necessary to transform a thingistic Reality into a (virtual) Sense of a (future) Notion, to detach it separately from its hic and its nunc. It suffices that it would be detached from the hic so that or rather ipso facto, it would be detached from the nunc. conversely, to detach it from the nunc is to automatically detach it, by that very fact, from the hic. -Of course, it is not a matter of detaching a (“natural”) Thing from its given hic to situate it in some other hic. It is certainly not by moving Things in any way in space that we transform them into Notions. For it to become (and be) Notion, the thingistic Reality must (first) be detached from any hic whatsoever (the thingistic Reality itself not being, moreover, in any way affected by this “Secondment”). For a Thing to exist somewhere as a Notion, it must not (first) be (in Existence) anywhere (while being able to remain and exist, as a Thing, where it is). Now, a thingistic Reality that exists in a given nunc necessarily exists somewhere. -A Reality that does not exist anywhere, that does not have a hic, could therefore not exist at any given moment: it would have no nunc and therefore would never exist. Not existing anywhere, never coming into existence, it wouldn’t exist at all. It can only be “something” by subsisting “outside” the hic et nunc, as “detached” from its hic et nunc and all hic et nunc. It is therefore sufficient that a Thing is “detached” from its hic without being located in any other hic so that it would be transformed by this single fact into Sense, capable of existing in the hic et nunc of the Morpheme of a Notion. -St. Paul proclaims Christian wisdom as a double negation of opposing theses (“madness for the Greeks, a scandal for the Hebrews”). But if radical mysticism seems to have accepted the silence from the beginning, which corresponds to the Pauline negation of the antithetical couple, discursive Christianity endeavored from the beginning to translate the neither-no of Saint Paul through the classical Para-Theses of both-and; that is to say, the double partial and more or less partial confirmation of these contradictions which the Christian discourse assumes. -In addition, Christianity is acting, from the beginning, in and by the Hellenistic framework, in the sense that the Hebrew dogma as Christian doctrine is discursively expressed in a unity shaped by the Hellenic discourse. In other words, in and through Christian parathesis, the antithesis of Judaism proceeds from the pagan thesis of the Greeks. -By denying paganism, Christianity asserts itself. But it differs from Judaism as a parathetic compromise in which pagan paganism is only partially denied, i.e., to be completed by what is retained by Judaism. The relationship between one and the other also varied over time as the “contradiction in terms” was explained, which is inherent in Christianity and understood as a discursive para-thesis. -From the perspective that interests us here, two Judaic myths excluded the possibility of any philosophy whatsoever. On the one hand, the myth of the creation of the world ex nihilo by an act of will, “free” from the Parmenidean One-all-alone, affirmed (at least implicitly) the arbitrary character of the link between the Essence and the bodies in everything that exists empirically as an Object. On the other hand, the myth of the creation of the Discourse by Adam, who named as he saw fit all the objects whatever they were, establishes (explicitly) the arbitrary character of the link between Sense and Morpheme in The Notion “in general”. -Now, if all the connections are arbitrary, there is just as little sense to speak of the Concept as if all the connections are necessary. And, insofar as the thetic dogma of Hellenic Science affirmed the necessary character of all connections whatever they may be, the total negation of this necessity (that is to say the “affirmation” of the non-necessity of all the links) by the dogma of Hebrew Theology constituted an authentic Anti-thesis. -Monotheism was, in a way, predestined theological Judaism to come by a parathetic (Christian) compromise with scientist paganism. -For, Judaism, the link between the Essence and the body in objects depended not (as was the case in “magical” paganism) on the arbitrariness of the essences themselves, but only on that “Unique transcendent”, called “God”. -If one could, per impossible, eliminate God in Judaism, all the connections in the World would be for this atheistic Judaism just as necessary as they are for the “secular” Science of the Greeks. -In other words, it would suffice to submit to a necessary “law” the will of God alone so that the “Judaic” dogma coincides with the scientific dogma of the Hellenes. -Conversely, it suffices to introduce into the “brazen law” recognized by the latter an element of” free will “(or conscious and voluntary If action) for this dogma to take on a (more or less) “Judaic” (that is to say theological) color. And this is precisely what Christian parathetic dogma is trying to do. -But if monotheism predestined (religious) Judaism to undergo a parathetic compromise with (scientist) Paganism), (moralizing) Christianity was encouraged to promote a compromise; indeed, to let in a few ‘miracles’. Nearly the incarnate Judaic God (as Logos) underwent the need for connections in the World and in some way consecrated these as necessary. -In the whole of the extended duration of the World, the essences bound themselves in a univocal and necessary way to their respective bodies in all the objects whatever they are, since this whole was the World, where the incarnate God lived or was to become such a world or ever has been. In other words, the Christian World in which the Judaic God is being incarnated is a Cosmos of Hellenic science that has received a “linked end”, that is to say, a goal and a final term, determining its beginning. -Now, the Christian parathesis of “telos”, which is the God” of Jewish(“free) incarnated in a body” Greek (“necessary”) naturally joins the parathetic teleology of pagan philosophy inaugurated by Plato (following some precursors) and developed by Aristotle (both having had a whole series of successors) where “scientistic necessity is tempered by” magical voluntarism”. -Except that, for Christian dogmatics, the Incarnation itself is an act of absolute freedom, of the same type as that of creation ex-nihilo, while the Greek telos is much more a “cause” (final) than an end proper (which is not a re-beginning). Be that as it may, it is to the pagan parathesis of the natural teleology that the Christian parathetic theology of the Incarnation has opposed itself over time. -Finally, the dogma of the Incarnation (which supposes that of creation) has prompted Christianity to set up as a (third) dogma a simple error in the interpretation of an evangelical text referring to the “Holy Spirit.” (in a sense, of course, of the one and only Judaic God”). Having had to distinguish between the creator God (biblical) and the incarnate God (Pauline, if not evangelical), of Christian dogma, there was no reason to oppose the introduction of a third divine hypostasis, advocated by the parathetic (neo-Platonic) philosophy of the time. -But since the Catholic dogma of the Incarnation identified the incarnate God with the Creator God, there was no reason not to identify the “third God” with the other two. And this is how the dogma of the Trinity was formed, which was regarded as just as fundamental as the Incarnation and the Creation dogmas. It is the discursive development of the dogma of the Trinity, that is to say, of the Trinitarian structure (and no longer unitary or dualist) of the Being we are talking about. It was up to Philosophy (Christian or Kantian) to transform itself into Hegelian Wisdom. -But in the meantime, that is to say during the Christian period, and what, then, the current sense of the term, Philosophy (which remained pagan) excluded from its discourse the discursive development of the dogma of the Trinity, which was opposed to philosophy as specifically Christian theology. -In summary, in and through Christianity, the (pagan) philosophical thetic Para-thesis, where predominated the Thesis of Philosophy, as well as the anti-thetic (pagan) Para-thesis, which contradicted it and where predominated! the ‘Philosophical anti-thesis, were both posited and supposed by Christian theology, which opposed it by proposing in their place the dogmas of creation, the Incarnation, and Trinity. -We can say that the Christian period of Philosophy is constituted by the discursive process, which progressively transforms the pagan thetic and anti-thetic Paratheses of Plato and Aristotle into the fully developed Synthetic Parathesis of Kant.
*“things are, but he who can think what they are is their master” (Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion, Lasson’s ed., Part II, ii, p. 5). For the thinker, the subject, things have no self-subsistence; they lose their reality and become “ideal.”