Thursday, May 1, 2014

525: Avicenna

The more you study Islamic philosophers, the more you begin to wonder, on what are these philosophers spending their time and why?

I should not say this, of course, but with the knowledge we have today it was such a waste of time and energy in my opinion.

And yet such an judgmental observation doesn’t satisfy me really, for the questions those people were thinking about and were fighting each other for, still exist today to some extend.

If there is one question which has puzzled mankind from day one then it is the question “What to do with religion?” In our world there always have been believers and non believers.

The reason for this is simple. You pray to a god and bring sacrifices to him or her and ask for help. The result is nothing, nada. You come up with all kinds of explanations, 

while the non believer say “I told you, that it won’t gonna rain when you perform all kinds of rituals. You should look at the sky, the clouds, the direction of the wind”.

That is something Aristotle might have said, referring to the eternal relation between cause and effect. And here we touch on the quintessence of Islamic philosophy

and on the fact that around 1000 AD this Islamic philosophy was enthusiastically embraced by the Western scholastic thinkers of the Catholic Church.

What the scholastic philosophers and Arab philosophers had in common was the problem of reconciling reason (the ratio) with religion, which for some in our time is still an issue.

For us it isn’t such a hot issue anymore, but in those days it was the prime issue among philosophers. Why would that be? 

In the Islamic world around 1000 AD religion was the dominating ideology to keep society organized under a rather totalitarian system.

So, of course, it is allowed to say “you should look at the sky, the clouds, the direction of the wind”, but to keep your head in place you had to add, that god is the cause of everything.

Ibn Sina, better know to us as Avicenna (980 - 1037) was one of the greatest in integrating Aristotelian rationality and religion.

In him you meet a philosopher who has a very clear and detailed knowledge of god. He knows exactly what god is , his properties….name it.

And then I begin to wonder. How can he formulate all such details theories? I think, I found an answer. Actually it is quite obvious. Some people today do the same. You reason backward, from the end to the beginning.

Aristotle came up with the relation between essence and existence. The essence is the abstract concept in the mind, derived from the observation of a lot of existing entities.

So you reason backward. You see the individual entities, abstract from them their essence. Then wonder “How come, that I call all these entities humans?” and then conclude that this is because this knowledge of the essence is from the Intellectus Agens…..

According to Avicenna the essences existed in three ways. In the first way it exists before it is materialized in something, in Latin….”ante rem”. It is an immaterial archetype in the mind of god.

In the second way it exists in the material things itself….in Latin..”in rebus”. There the essence is as real as in the first way.

Finally the essence can exist in our mind as an abstraction form our observations…in Latin…”post rem”, where we see them in their pure form again. That is…in relation to their first way of being.

In Avicenna’s belief there necessarily had to be a mind in which the essences existed, before we could be able to know them.

Like in causality there necessarily HAD to be a first cause, which only could be the First Mover, god. You just look around and say: this can’t be coincidental.

And as you see, for centuries the human mind likes to use backward inference as a proof for what only causes more questions, I would say .

The Discussion
[13:20] herman Bergson: Thank you ^_^
[13:20] herman Bergson: .
[13:20] Gemma Allen: Aristotle and all sounds very logical ... of course
[13:20] Daruma BoaDaruma Boa claps
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:20] herman Bergson: Well....Avicenna added  some Platonism to it.....
[13:20] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:20] Gemma Allen: well
[13:20] herman Bergson: For Aristotle the essences were in fact only abstractions in the mind.....
[13:21] Genji Shikibu: wouldn't that ultimately make the mind itself...God?
[13:21] herman Bergson: But Avicenna and other Arab philosophers said that they had to be Ideas in the mind of god.....which is Plato's way of thinking
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: there have to be some supernatural being that everything originated from sort of?
[13:22] herman Bergson: What do you mean Genji?
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: being
[13:22] herman Bergson: Well Bejiita...that is the great intellectual mystery to me....
[13:22] Genji Shikibu: well, if god is abstract and can only be realized in the mind... then the mind must be first... and it creates the god
[13:22] herman Bergson: why comes the human mind to such a conclusion? :-)
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: cause that seems how they must have terrorized
[13:23] Gemma Allen: well most religions believe the mind is part of god so....
[13:23] herman Bergson: As long it is just the mind....
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: i just say they should study more physics
[13:23] Honey  Bee: excuse me , everything in the universe is natural
[13:23] Daruma Boa: well physics have also a lot mysteries
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:24] Daruma Boa: which can not be explained
[13:24] herman Bergson: Honey, I would say...everything in the universe just IS.....
[13:24] Daruma Boa: i just read a book about it
[13:24] Honey  Bee: i dont see anything as supper natural
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: but i dont believe some big mind or being created all electrons protons and so
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: that builds the entire universe up
[13:24] Daruma Boa: we humans do not know so much as we want^^
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: including us
[13:24] Areyn Laurasia: we are here to see what's possible?
[13:24] Daruma Boa: the god or big mind is in us
[13:24] Daruma Boa: but humans are too stupid to fid´nd it^^
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: i d say something like that
[13:25] Daruma Boa: find #
[13:25] Honey  Bee: i don’t think we will ever know everything about our history of creation
[13:25] Gemma Allen: they keep trying tho daaruma
[13:25] herman Bergson: Voltaire had a nice idea about it all...Dieu Horloger
[13:25] Daruma Boa: oh gemma, very less is trying to find^^
[13:25] Daruma Boa: i am afraid
[13:25] herman Bergson: Some God created the whole thing and then left it ticking...:-)
[13:25] Daruma Boa: the most watches tv...
[13:25] Gemma Allen: well science is getting closer and closer to the beginnings
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: the closest to find god we are now i d say is the LCH machine t CERN that i popularly call the god machine
[13:26] Gemma Allen: with telescopes that reach out so far
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: LHC
[13:26] Gemma Allen: and the cern thing
[13:26] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:26] herman Bergson: I dont agree Daruma...for that is begging the question......
[13:26] Daruma Boa: mh bejita i find this machine just a toy.
[13:26] Gemma Allen: oh i don’t
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: bu study the smallest bits and understand how they tie together thats as close we can come how all was created i’d say
[13:26] Gemma Allen: i think it is finding good stuff
[13:26] herman Bergson: to say that we are to stupid to find the "Big thing" behind everything already assumes the Big thing
[13:26] Areyn Laurasia: "The more philosophically simple a thing is, the more perfect it is."... back to the atom?
[13:26] Gemma Allen: that god ma hine named is misleading
[13:27] Daruma Boa: i saw a documentation about the refute of darwin
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: maybe but as said its the closest we have to find the creator if we relate t to religion
[13:27] herman Bergson: Refute Darwin even???
[13:27] Daruma Boa: yes that there are a lot of gaps in evolution
[13:27] Daruma Boa: and no one likes to explain that
[13:28] Daruma Boa: cos there are no answers
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:28] Genji Shikibu: that does not disprove it tho
[13:28] herman Bergson: but that observation doesn’t justify a thing. I would say
[13:28] Honey  Bee: life is
[13:28] Daruma Boa: we humans are afraid to see new things
[13:28] herman Bergson: those are assumptions Daruma.....
[13:28] Gemma Allen: not scientists
[13:28] Areyn Laurasia: I love to see new things :)
[13:29] Gemma Allen: Yes-ah!
[13:29] Daruma Boa: no there are a lot of scientist how explain it mom
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: religious people however often totally oppose science
[13:29] Gemma Allen: as long as they don't make life more difficult
[13:29] herman Bergson: Science is nothing but finding new things....even show that Einstein was wrong if possible :-)
[13:30] Daruma Boa:
[13:30] Genji Shikibu: people pick and choose which science to believe
[13:30] Daruma Boa: but its a german scientist from the munich university
[13:30] herman Bergson: what  is it Daruma? :-)
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: hmm science however proves how stuff really work but observing it, not relate it to some strange being no one have really seen
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: some
[13:30] Genji Shikibu: they are happy to get electricity, technology or surgery without understanding it
[13:30] herman Bergson: But to get back to our Arab philosophers.....
[13:31] Daruma Boa: a refute of darwin
[13:31] Genji Shikibu: but deny other things for the same reason
[13:31] Daruma Boa: not all what darwin said is not true
[13:31] herman Bergson: What puzzles me is how they could have such extensive descriptions of god
[13:31] Areyn Laurasia: Arab philosophers who are muslims and learn from christians and teach to jew
[13:31] Daruma Boa: but well, we must be now now a bite more
[13:31] Daruma Boa: and we don’t
[13:31] Areyn Laurasia: it's a pursuit of knowledge..
[13:31] Gemma Allen: LOL
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: i guess so
[13:32] Genji Shikibu: the descriptions and stories are parables and poetry... to assist understanding... but they are taken as dictionary definitions
[13:32] Gemma Allen: i guess it is what they would want their god to be
[13:32] Daruma Boa: and that must us keep think
[13:32] herman Bergson: The Arabs learnt from the greek and then taught the catholics in 1000 AD
[13:32] Daruma Boa: or think in another way
[13:32] Genji Shikibu: the Koran is poetry
[13:32] herman Bergson: a lot of philosophy is too in my opinion :-))
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:33] Genji Shikibu: poetry explains more than prose
[13:33] Gemma Allen: true
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:34] herman Bergson: this would lead to a discussionon the concept of "explaining" Genji.....
[13:34] Honey  Bee: yes professor Philosphy is poetry
[13:34] Genji Shikibu: do you really want to go there?
[13:34] herman Bergson: actually ^_^
[13:35] Gemma Allen: LOL
[13:35] herman Bergson: I think now you have some idea how the debate between ratio and religion is an old old one....
[13:35] Gemma Allen: another 5 years of class
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: hahha
[13:35] Areyn Laurasia: only 5 years? :)
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: loool
[13:35] Gemma Allen: well
[13:35] herman Bergson: and that is rather fascinating.....
[13:35] Daruma Boa: yes it is herman.
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:36] Daruma Boa: they all knew 1.000 of years ago
[13:36] herman Bergson: But one thing you can conclude.....
[13:36] Daruma Boa: and wedo not know more now
[13:36] Daruma Boa: ^^
[13:36] herman Bergson: in that debate in Islamic philosophy the ratio lost the debate after 1100AD
[13:37] herman Bergson: We do know some more now Daruma....I would say.....
[13:37] herman Bergson: for example....the flue is not a punishment of the lord but just a virus for instance
[13:37] .: Beertje :.: sorry I have to go...have a goodnight all
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:37] Areyn Laurasia: good night Beertje
[13:37] Honey  Bee: good night
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: night beerte
[13:38] herman Bergson: Bye Beertje :-)
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: good night beertje
[13:38] .: Beertje :.: bye bye
[13:38] Genji Shikibu: good night beertje
[13:38] Daruma Boa: in some things yes
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: indeed sickness are caused by bacteria and virus, not your sins
[13:39] Daruma Boa: but not the main questions.
[13:39] Daruma Boa: what is life and where are we from^^
[13:39] herman Bergson: neither are earthquakes the wrath of god...but just moving tectonic plates on this globes
[13:39] Gemma Allen: that is why the class does continue... always more questions
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: haha yes
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: and we don’t want this to end don’t we?
[13:39] Bejiita Imako:
[13:39] Daruma Boa: i want to know^^
[13:40] herman Bergson: "what is life and where are we from"...besides Islamic philosophy but a big question indeed
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: there is always more to know
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: aha
[13:40] herman Bergson: To begin with it contains an ssumption.....
[13:40] Areyn Laurasia: does it matter?
[13:40] Daruma Boa: i am SO curious^^
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: many big questions remain to be answered
[13:40] herman Bergson: and that is ...Where are we FROM?"
[13:41] herman Bergson: from where....who says we are form somewhere...we are jsut here :-)
[13:41] Honey  Bee: my question is WHY?
[13:41] Daruma Boa: yes but why we are here?
[13:41] herman Bergson: the WHY question....
[13:41] Daruma Boa: we can think and no one can think^^
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: cause we are
[13:41] herman Bergson: this….. :-)
[13:41] Daruma Boa: but i am sure there is a reason why humans can think^^
[13:41] Areyn Laurasia: so we can create?
[13:42] Daruma Boa: yes but what we create?
[13:42] herman Bergson: the first thing we know is that we are....
[13:42] Daruma Boa: mostly not useful things...
[13:42] Areyn Laurasia: for survival.. out of necessity
[13:42] Genji Shikibu: yes... survival
[13:42] herman Bergson: the second thing we know when we look around is that we can ask ..why is that happening....
[13:42] Genji Shikibu: the rest is gravey
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: one thin we are good at is build machines to make us faster and stronger
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: cars and hydraulics for ex
[13:42] herman Bergson: but here is the catch....
[13:42] Daruma Boa: mhh bejita....
[13:42] Gemma Allen: internet for example
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: and help our mind with the computer
[13:42] Daruma Boa: is that really necessary?
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: with
[13:43] herman Bergson: does it make sense to apply this question to ourselves?
[13:43] herman Bergson: why are we here?
[13:43] Daruma Boa: thats a question which everyone should ask himself
[13:43] Daruma Boa: perhaps
[13:43] Genji Shikibu: i say yes
[13:43] Honey  Bee: it might be to keep us alive , this is why we do all or most things
[13:43] Daruma Boa: no only hope keeps up alive.
[13:43] Daruma Boa: the hope that everything will be better
[13:44] herman Bergson: the question has two sides...a subjective one and an objective one....
[13:44] Daruma Boa: without that i do anything fro that^^
[13:44] herman Bergson: dont confuse them
[13:44] Daruma Boa: true herman
[13:44] Daruma Boa: lol ok^^
[13:44] Genji Shikibu: instinct keeps us alive...
[13:44] Daruma Boa: mhhh long discussion about that
[13:44] herman Bergson: that is not an answer to a why Genji, but yet a fact
[13:45] Genji Shikibu: you are right
[13:45] Honey  Bee: we must evolve and change or we will not continue to live
[13:45] Genji Shikibu: we must face Climate Change or we will not have much of a life
[13:45] herman Bergson: that "must" in your statement Honey......
[13:46] Honey  Bee: yes
[13:46] Areyn Laurasia: it's not like we really have a choice
[13:46] herman Bergson: I think we evolve indeed in a Darwinian sense....
[13:46] Daruma Boa: ah i guess we all have a choice
[13:46] Daruma Boa: i do not guess
[13:46] Honey  Bee: yes we have a choice , we change or not and have disaster like we have today
[13:46] Daruma Boa: we have it
[13:46] herman Bergson: but look at it in periods of at least 500 years....not in a single lifetime
[13:47] Areyn Laurasia: barely a blink of an eye
[13:47] Genji Shikibu: look at what in terms of 500 years
[13:47] herman Bergson: yes Honey.....we have to evolve and leave our present stupidity behind :-)
[13:47] herman Bergson: but that will take centuries :-))
[13:47] Gemma Allen: yep
[13:48] Gemma Allen: well at least we know it
[13:48] herman Bergson: but we will eventually is my expectation
[13:48] Gemma Allen: too bad we won't be here to see it
[13:48] Daruma Boa: who knows^^
[13:48] herman Bergson: maybe first 90% of the worldpopulation has to be destroyed...I dont know...but we will
[13:48] Honey  Bee: yes herman
[13:49] Gemma Allen: or find a new planet
[13:49] herman Bergson: no I said....a lifetime is just a drop in the ocean
[13:49] herman Bergson: but I dont mind..:-)
[13:50] herman Bergson: And when you ask me "Why are we here?"
[13:50] herman Bergson: I would answer...
[13:50] herman Bergson: I dont know but I am here because I enjoy life ^_^
[13:50] Daruma Boa: ;-)
[13:50] Honey  Bee: :)) heheh good answer professor
[13:50] Genji Shikibu: I believe each of us must find our own purpose
[13:51] herman Bergson: yes Genji....
[13:51] Gemma Allen: that makes sense
[13:51] Daruma Boa: true.and i hope we all will find it
[13:51] Genji Shikibu: actually, you taught me that
[13:51] Honey  Bee: true but humanity as a whole why where we created
[13:51] herman Bergson: My pleasure genji...
[13:52] Genji Shikibu: didn't say I liked it... just said you taught me that
[13:52] herman Bergson: why are there birds inthe sky Honey....
[13:52] Gemma Allen: ohoh
[13:52] Honey  Bee: ok because they are
[13:52] Bejiita Imako:
[13:52] herman Bergson: I know has a meaning
[13:52] Genji Shikibu: yes
[13:52] herman Bergson: and thus we are Honey :-)
[13:52] Areyn Laurasia: by thinking and overflowing thoughts.. to bring the next level into being... like al farabi thought?
[13:53] herman Bergson: Welll I think we got quite philosophical today :-)
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:53] Areyn Laurasia: but it's practical and very present :)
[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your good thinking....
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:53] Daruma BoaDaruma Boa claps
[13:53] Gemma Allen: Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!!
[13:53] Bejiita Imako: ok cu soon all
[13:53] Honey  Bee: Thank you Professor :))
[13:53] Bejiita Imako:
[13:53] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...
[13:53] Areyn Laurasia: Thanks for class..
[13:53] Gemma Allen: Bye, Bye   
[13:53] Gemma Allen: for now

[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: thanks hermann thanx all

No comments:

Post a Comment