Sunday, September 13, 2015



D, R. Khashaba

Philosophy is the child, the ekgonos, of the inner reality of intelligent humanity. The inner reality of a human being is intelligence. Intelligence demands intelligibility. That is the core of the principle of sufficient reason. The mind as the inner reality of a human being decrees that to be is to be intelligible. That was first explicitly formulated by Parmenides: “It is the same thing to be intelligible and to be” tauto gar ehsti noein te kai einai.

Philosophy highlighted her identity when she differentiated herself from her twin sister Science, That was when Socrates, unfolding the implications of his distinction between the intelligible and the perceptible, saw that the investigation of physical nature, useful and necessary as it is for our bodily life, does not answer any of the philosophical questions with which he was primarily concerned, questions of meaning, value, and purpose. He saw that all meaning, value, and purpose were constituted and determined by ideas engendered by the mind, in the mind, and may be exemplified by things in the world, but are not themselves to be found in the world.

Plato saw that the ideas are what is truly real, as opposed to the transient things of the natural world. He also saw that both the intelligible ideas and the perceptible things are not inert stuff but are in constant activity, that in truth they are nothing but activity, ta onta hôs estin ouk allo ti plên dunamis (Sophist, 247e). He also saw that the mind in its aspiration for the Whole and the All, the ultimate goal of intelligibility, forms the notion of perfect Being or perfect Reality. Plato imaged perfect Being as the Form of the Good. The Form of the Good as the ideal of perfection, being beyond all specific forms and all determinations, cannot be captured in any determinate formulation of thought or words. It can only be intimated in myth and parable and metaphor.

Where do we find that notion of perfection imaged by Plato as the Form of the Good? Nowhere but in the human mind. It is our ideal of Reality and it is our own reality. The idea of the Whole makes us whole, the idea of Reality constitutes our reality. In philosophizing we explore our reality, gain understanding, and give expression to that understanding and that reality in creative visions. Philosophers err when they fancy or when they claim that their visions have any substance other than the substance of dreams, for we are indeed “such stuff as dreams are made on”.

This is the alpha and the omega of all philosophy, an act all philosophers haven enacting, but all of them, with the exception of Plato, were deluded, thinking they had got hold of definitive Truth.

Cairo, September 13, 2015.


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