Religions such as Christianity and Buddhism, and philosophers such as Aristotle, say that God and reason are the same thing, or at least are very similar. Reason is that which flows and is "the greatest good of man". Of course, reason is the only thing that can bring happiness to us in a more or less stable path, if we are smart and observant enough and we are right in finding the elusive truth, every day, over and over again (which is not easy, it’s obvious). Reason is the appearing world flow; therefore it is time, "logos", sequential activity of mind. It is reason, ultimately, that we experience as the continuing search for truth, the multiple truths, also truths day to day, the search for meaning of the things of the world and the times and situations in life.
Reason, then, is something highly fickle. Reason is the evolution itself of what we perceive of the world, the evolution of life situations, while the evolution of the mind. It is not, therefore, any static nor unique to each particular person, but on the contrary, is terribly dynamic, has not stability to become an attribute of anything or anyone, its evolution is outside the effective control of the person who feels himself as subject or agent but actually he is not, because the future always escapes: Who can predict what will happen the next moment even?
Reason is something of nature so variable that it is unattainable to reason itself. Never stops. Bhagavad Gita says that activity in general, and the actions of the mind in particular, develop in time with the intervention of the forces of nature, beyond individuality, though man, deceived by a selfish illusion, thinks he is the actor.
Our minds, led by a logos that moves by itself and that we do not know where it comes from but beyond our own will, every moment build nothing less than our life. Life and mind are the same. What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and today our thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind... Dhammapada says.
For Plato and Aristotle the soul is literally life and movement. Life is defined by movement, and what causes movement of a particular living being are will or desire and thought or reason, which are the “higher functions” of the soul. The will -or desire- searches the apparent good (the object of desire) and thinking -or reason- searches real good (the truth).
Human soul is set to both. The first driving force is the desire, because desire is the type of movement that seeks to achieve its purpose without being prompted by any other previous cause. Thought is the second cause of motion, which directs desire to the good of truth. But these causes are not generated in the isolated individual but in nature as a whole. Both philosophers argue that the soul is identified with the essence of the universe or nature, because it really is the only thing capable of moving by itself of all that exists in human nature and the entire universe. Desires and thoughts are all able to render themselves and to initiate an action or behavior in an entirely autonomously, without any previous cause. The soul, which acts in the person and throughout the universe, therefore, is the prime mover, the most important, the "unmoved mover" which moves without being moved.
Aristotle in his biological works says more than once, with scientific caution, starting from the observation of particular cases, that it is not easy to draw the line between what is alive and what is not, and highlights the continuous nature. For Aristotle the entire natural world is "almost animated", there is a kind of soul-substance present in all matter. The sky is alive and has its own source of motion, stated in De Caelo.
The sky is where the Prime Mover is, which the soul is. The prime mover or soul is incorporeal and therefore does not have a certain amount of life, but it is life itself. And as the first transmission gear mechanism of life, from the Prime Mover or "universal soul", the origin of life, to biological organisms, through all forms of organization of nature, there is the purest type of matter, the aither, ethereal and “divine” substance, extending throughout nature, surrounding the stars and spheres of the universe and that moves the other elements and acts on living beings and gives them life.
The First Unmoved Mover is God. Therefore God is an all-natural: is the life, the soul, is what moves, by aither, thought and will. Aristotle, who could not bear the idea of anthropomorphic gods, states that the First Unmoved Mover is God and God is happy and blessed, not by any external good, but in himself and his own natural character. And maintains that if we remove the anthropomorphic aggregate and servitude to the interests of law and order and stay with the central fact that gods name the primary substances, then we can consider them an inspired idea. We must separate God from all forms of myth. And as soon holds that God is the unmoved mover, says immediately afterwards that their activity is, in fact, thought. Aristotle immediately joins the action of the Prime Mover, or God, with the highest faculty of man, which is thought (and will). And it seems that he not only affirmed that, but the austere Aristotle defended the idea of a supreme intelligence which is acting continuously throughout nature and over every particular across the aither with unusual enthusiasm.
It was an idea that he worked a lot along his life and that evolved with his philosophy. The initial Platonic aither would possess itself a soul with all mental faculties, would be a real god, and Aristotle settled back to his system as a physical element (the fifth) having a continuous movement which transmits to living beings and gives them the soul, thought and motivation, all natural mechanisms. This fifth element, aither, not subject to change or to decomposition, but only to eternal circular motion, surrounds and permeates the entire cosmos around, albeit with decreasing purity in its lower and closer to the earth levels. From friction of the fifth element to the other, and of these together, the movement becomes a flow of energy in the form of light, heat and life, and finally also in soul form and thought.
With almost exalted words Aristotle defends the naturalness of this flow, fully formed by physical actions, and the consequent naturalness of mental manifestations that correspond, which are manifested in each individual, true, but really come from outside, as pure material and physical phenomena of nature, which all do not have an internal origin autogenously or metaphysical. It is collected very well by the words of a previous post of this blog: Reason of man does not emerge arbitrarily. But man believes that and often becomes a slave of this feeling and this worldview. It is at this point that he lost the way (reason), he becomes dependent on the false sentimentality, and he is mastered by fantasy. A global vision is required to not miss all, which one is given to us by intelligence, by reason, by the flow of pure knowledge as it occurs naturally. And occurs naturally fluctuating and with wide variations. Variable human mind can not think continuously at a constant level, says Aristotle, there is a remarkable variability from one moment to another. The availability of thinking is the real logos, and is variable per definition. We operate in brief gusts of thought, as they are given to us. And abstract reflexion can force and damage even our health, says the stagirita. Reason and truth, or lack thereof: stupidity, false sentimentality, detachment from reality... they are not logical or moral issues but pure natural biology.
The soul is the disposition of the body, the form that the body presents, the subjective experience of life processes. The body, of course, is the matter on which act the material elements of nature, which manifest aither and Prime Unmoved Mover action. The body manifests and charges aither flow, and of the rest of material elements, in a succession of vital processes that soul "translates" as a logos of thought, or rather, this succession of vital and mental processes (logos) is the soul itself. The heart, with the processes of respiration and blood circulation, is the principal organ of the soul's experience or, as they say when in this topic refer to Aristotle, is "the seat" of the soul. This vital organ, as the philosopher says, provides innate warmth that makes life possible (and mind) as a function of the evolution of aither.
Aither has intelligence, or rather, when acting (physically) on man brings a flow of thought, a logos, an intelligence. Exactly so fascinating statement compiled and tried to give a scientific explanation Hippocratic physicians and, later, also physician Michael Servetus. Out there appeared some theories that provided empirical evidence to the original genius of Aristotle and gave, and still give, a radical change in the conception of man, nature and religion that have dominated over time. ...My contribution is to recover them, modestly and with some consistency, from the present and the extent of the possibilities that allows publishing and sharing in this blog.