Perspective

Back to Reality

The modern age has been a 500-year revolution against Aristotle.  Bacon and Galileo assailed his authority in the natural sciences; neoplatonists rejected his metaphysics in favor of a false mysticism that was little better than black magic; Epicureans, thrilled with the insights of the rediscovered poem of Lucretius, preferred hedonism and materialism to Aristotle’s morality of balance and prudence and metaphysics that gave credit both to the world of the senses and to the higher reality that Parmenides and Plato had revealed.  Most significantly, perhaps, was the war waged by moral and political philosophers, from Descartes and Leibniz to Kant and Marx, on Aristotle’s approach to human moral and social life.

In the official version of modernity, Aristotle was a false idol overthrown by brave men seeking the truth.  In reality, Aristotle never intended to set up a reigning ideology; his whole method of patient accumulation of fact and careful analysis is against it.  His greatest disciple, Thomas Aquinas, was no less open-minded in his explanation of reality, and neither, if presented with the evidence, would have quarreled with the results of a truly scientific investigation.  They would both, however, have deplored the alchemical search for divine power that was pursued by the originators of modern science.  

The magical quest to transcend human limitation and assume the divine...

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