It is better to follow the Cosmos than opinion

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.

Struggle

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.

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3 responses to “It is better to follow the Cosmos than opinion

  1. As with any writings or teachings, they can be interpreted in an endless amount of ways.

    The 4 noble truths and 8 fold path is a nice guide, but I don’t believe anything buddhism (understanding that it is 2,500 years old, and MANY variations from various cultures led to different branched) tries teaching and absolute truths or values.

    Buddhism suggests considering the teachings, but only to apply them if they are useful to you,

    I see in Buddha, and however much of him is myth or historic fact, as someone very human, with very same frailties we all possess. His story could be anyones. To make mistakes, and learn from them, and to keep trying.

    It emphasizes on the acceptance of reality. That would include science, as best as we can determine, as well.

    To accept the transitory nature of our life’s and world. Because only then can we appreciate it’s true beauty rather than be caught in mere illusion of out fears and unhealthy desires.

    Also, it’s not about rejecting the material world. It’s about not being so attached to it, that the things we own, end up owning us.

    Buddha himself adopted an acetic lifestyle, rejecting most of the material, nearly staving himself to death. DIscovering his error, and understood one needs to walk the middle path.

    Not attempting to convince you, but show there are others perspectives.

    Interesting and well written post, take care

    • The great thing is the diversity of paths and ideas in this world. The other great thing is that all paths lead to one source. As always, the individual should question everything and walk the path that feels right for them. Thanks for your comment.

      • I fully agree with that. Granting ourselves the freedom to follow our individual paths, and understanding, respecting, even encouraging others pursue their own,

        When we adhere to that simple principle, not only do we learn and grow for ourselves, but find acceptance and peace with others. Which further more makes it possible to truly learn from one another.

        Since in the end, as you say, I really don’t feel the things we look for are really any different. Often times, the difference we perceive in others, are actually misunderstandings we have about ourselves. Especially in terms of who were once were, who we now are, and will or could be. Individuality is a precious thing, especially when we see just how much we actually mirror each other.

        Thanks for your reply

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