Holding ideas and acting in concordance with the Cosmos is better than opinion.
Heraclitus at this moment is my favorite Greek philosopher, I find nothing I can disagree with in his philosophy. Heraclitus worked towards listing a series of principles that the Cosmos worked by, which modern science appears to agree with.
The Cosmos behaves in a certain way (its design) and manifests in a certain way (form). Heraclitus called how the Cosmos behaved and manifested, the “common”, and thus built a solid foundation for any philosophy to build upon. Heraclitus listed principles such as the Cosmos is always in motion, that it has its opposites, and that strife is a natural state of the Cosmos. Heraclitus said that if human beings offered ideas contrary to the “common” this was just opinion, likened to childrens playthings, we should only follow the “common” as the supreme and only authority of the universe.
As I cast my attention across the wide expanse of philosophers and their philosophies I regrettably notice a number of regular errors, where what is obviously “common” is being rejected as “evil” and rejected.
Matter and the senses
An error amongst many Greek philosophers was to reject matter and the senses as “bad” or illusion. Plato, Plotinus, Zeno and Parmenides all fell into this trap of thinking. Pyrrho of Elis was so extreme in his views that the sensory world was an illusion that people had to prevent him walking off cliffs as he was sceptical they existed. Aristotle brought some balance to the absurdity infecting Greek minds with his ideas on entelechy and the “Golden Mean”.
Whilst I accept that our senses may give a distorted view to the Cosmos, I follow the middle way of Aristotle that we have evolved senses and a brain that is directly related to the “common” of the Cosmos. If the material universe was illusion, why then would we evolve an array of sensory organs for mere illusions? Equally, if any supporter that the material universe and the senses should be rejected as illusion. places their leg under the wheels of a moving bus, what then is their “opinion” of the resulting consequence of that action?
The material universe is “common” and the senses have evolved to exist in this state. To hold positions counter to the “common” is opinion, and false.
Ego and demiurge
Ego and demiurge are tautological constructs for “Logos”. To Heraclitus Logos was “common”. Aristotle introduced the Logos into his idea of entelechy, where an agency is at work converting the potential into the actual.
Sigmund Freud introduced “ego” into the popular lexicon, where it joined with existing ideas of ego in multiple philosophies from Christianity to Buddhism as something evil, to be destroyed in favour of a larger “something”. Ego is that part in human beings that mediates between the demands of the environment, and the inner needs of Id (basic instincts). Logos exists in all objects in the Cosmos, where it mediates between the potential in the object and strife, in accordance with the principle of Heraclitus “strife is justice”. Convert the words ego to Logos, super-ego to strife, and id to potential, and it is seen Freud has merely hashed together ideas from Greek philosophy.
The demiurge is another version of Logos, which mediates between strife (chaos) and nous (potential) in the universe to bring about material reality. Christians and other “Gnostic” groups corrupted Pythagorean and Platonist ideas of the demiurge to turn it into an evil thing, as like Satan, to which the human body, material things, ego, and even human nature became vilified as “corrupt” and “evil”, to be rejected and fought against
Logos is “common” just as anything that comes from it. Ego and demiurge are Logos, and thus “common”. Anything that rejects the “common” is opinion, and false.
An issue I have with Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) and Buddhism is their “noble truths” which appears to conflict with the “common”. Heraclitus observes that strife is the natural order of the Cosmos, which causes things to “become”, that is to exist and evolve.
I saw a crow last year rip apart a screaming starling. The Logos in the crow caused the crow to attack the starling for food, to feed its own body. The Logos in the starling caused the starling to unsuccessfully get away from the Crow, to struggle, to scream and to suffer. The moment between crow and starling is “strife” in action, and it is “common”.
Struggle (strife) is the natural way of the Cosmos, it is “common”, as is suffering. There can be two types of suffering, that where the potential of a thing is denied, like an elephant in a zoo is unable to fully express its elephantness; or that of the starling who loses its life to feed the body of the crow.
Buddha outlined four “noble truths”. The first “noble truth” reflects that of Heraclitus that suffering and strife is the “common”. Buddha starts going wrong with his second “noble truth” that suffering is the product of insatiable desire, where he is heading into opinion of “good and evil”. Every object in the Cosmos has potential, and this potential is being actualised constantly in a state of renewal as entelechy through an interaction of Logos with strife. We have a body, whose life is in a constant moment of working to completion, but being complete – entelechy – from which a constant need arises from the Cosmos for water, oxygen, minerals, warmth to actualise. Denying any of the needs of the body will result in suffering and possible death.
Buddha goes badly wrong with his third “noble truth” where he requires that the “common” of ego (Logos) and need (potential) is rejected. When my body needs water (potential) it signals thirst, to which my Logos meets by finding and drinking water. This cycle of need and satisfaction is a constant aspect of living, and to reject this process ironically leads to the suffering Buddha seems to be fighting against.
The fourth “noble truth” considers that there is an ending, that people can get off the wheel of endless lifetimes of suffering. There is no evidence in the Cosmos of any endings, but a constant cycle of death and renewal, leading to ever complex states. In probability the fourth “noble truth” is opinion rather than “common”.
Finally, Buddhism appears to focus too far to one extreme, that of reflection, non-action, and the rejection of the material world, rather than an embrace of a middle ground between two extremes, which can only lead to suffering.
Struggle is “common”, that which holds that anything or anyone can step outside of the “common” is opinion, and false.