How Aristotle’s First Principles Can Help You Understand The World

Last week, we took an initial glance at how philosophy is the science that seeks to analyze and abstractly consider all things, until the simplest, most extensive and generally applicable elements of all things can be plainly seen, thence offering a synthetic and integral understanding of all reality. I’d like to flesh this idea out just a bit more, looking at some of Aristotle’s ideas about first principles.

What we generally think of as “science,” Aristotle correctly called αἱ ἐν μέρει ἐπιστήμαι, “the partial sciences,” because they do not deal with the integral whole of reality, but deal with parts thereof that share some thing in common—i.e., astronomy deals with the nature and activity of the heavenly bodies in a broad sense; biology deals with living cells and organisms, etc.

Now, it is plain that the first knowledge a child has is spontaneous and more or less immediately sensory. With maturity, the mind begins to form connections and can begin to ruminate and reflect on what it perceives. This is the beginning of forming a scientific approach to knowledge.


Now, a man would die long before he could consider all the things in the cosmos from all perspectives. Even if he could do this, he would still feel the urge to unify this knowledge into an integral understanding of the whole, for this is the nature of (the nobler) man. Thus, rather than waste ourselves in that impossible task, Aristotle made the best progress by seeking to identify, in the first place, what was common to all things—to all particular sciences, and all things subject to our intellectual investigation and reflection.

Many may be tempted to think that Aristotle lived a long time ago, and surely we’ve made “progress” since then… so perhaps he is a bit outdated, no?

we are not necessarily making progress just because time has passed

This is our modernist brainwashing kicking in. If one stops to think about it, we are considering the most basic principles of all things, and of all thought. It is the kind of thing that the first mind prepared to make such a reflection, and to share the fruits of his contemplation, would make. And so, it is not surprising that the classical period of the most ancient, developed literary culture in the West, would come to its crown and conclusion with such a systematic exposition of thought, so long ago. These principles obviously do not change over time, so we would certainly expect them first to have been discussed a long while ago.

Aristotle saw an hierarchy, indicating that the man of experience is keener than the man of mere sensation, and the craftsman more than the man of experience only; the man trained in a partial science is wiser still, but those trained in the speculative sciences are wiser than all (if well trained), because τὴν ὀνομαζομένην σοφίαν περὶ τᾶ πρῶτα αἴτια καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς ὑπολαμβάνουσι πάντες (“all understand the thing called ‘wisdom,’ to treat of first causes, and principles”). St. Thomas agrees, defining philosophy (sapientia, “wisdom”), as scientia quae considerat primas et universales causas (“the science that considers the first and universal causes”).

The cardinal explains to us what a science is not.

“It is not “spontaneous intellectual knowledge, which scarcely gets beyond the surface of things and does not center in a systematic way around any one object… It is opposed to belief and historical knowledge. ‘To know’ (scire, “science”) is not to accept on the authority of another, but to have a personal understanding. Lastly, it is opposed to uncertain, conjectural knowledge, for science implies certitude.”

science is not conjecture

As we continue down this path, we may be surprised to learn how many things we may know with certitude, contrary to the rampant subjectivism that defines our epoch.

So, philosophy is the science dealing with universal principles. What are principles? The English term is from Latin principium, identical to Aristotle’s Greek term, ἀρχή (arche): “beginning.” The Cardinal explains that this is because, by “principle,” we mean to denote the origin of a certain influence or contribution to the things naturally subsequent to these principles. He makes a distinction when discussing principles: we call principles “causes,” when we speak of actual causes in the real world. But when they are considered in a man’s mind, they are called “reasons.”

He further calls upon us to observe the distinction between a real cause, albeit contemplated in the mind as a reason, and a reason which is merely one of logical order, and not of causation in any sense. He gives the example of triangles and right angles, saying the mind can perceive the reason why the sum of triangle’s angles must equal the sum of two right angles; but this is not because the triangle is a “cause” of this truth in any sense; we merely perceive the logical predication involved.

Aristotle saw that there were four ways of describing all things by their causes. It will help to remember that “cause,” here, is not mere “cause and effect;” rather, “cause” here means “a principle contributing to subsequent existence.” The four causes are: the Formal Cause, the Material Cause, the Efficient Cause and the Final Cause.

Using the traditional example of a statue—say, a bronze statue of St. Michael the Archangel, let us look at these causes.


Formal Cause

This deals with what this thing is, specifically. If it is a statue, why is it a statue? What kind of statue is it? What makes it a statue? The recognizable form of St. Michael—i.e., not St. Michael himself, but his image or traditional appearance, formed from some material—is the Formal Cause. But we can distinguish further between an accidental form, and a substantial form. The imaginary form of St. Michael the Archangel could be formed in many substances, and because his form is not a subsistent thing in this case, but must inhere in another substance, we call his image the accidental form of the statue.

“Accidental” does not mean “by mistake;” it comes from Latin ad + cadere, meaning “stumble upon, happen upon, befall.” The form of St. Michael “happens” to be the form, but we could have formed the bronze into the image of St. Paul just as easily. The bronze itself can be said to be the substantial form, so long as we are considering the form of the statue in front of us – i.e., not a statue “made from a bunch of bronze,” but a brazen statue existing in the moment as brazen, rather than as wooden or as stone. The pithy Latin phrase describing a formal cause is: id quo ens est id quod est (“that by which a thing is, what it is”).

Material Cause

This is the matter of which something is comprised. You will perhaps see why I was making a careful distinction, before. Bronze is the Material Cause, when we are wondering of what substance this statue’s form was derived. The matter of bronze itself is the Material Cause; but the brazenness (as opposed to woodenness) of the existing statue is the substantial form, in which the accidental form adheres. The Material Cause is id ex quo aliquid fit, et in quo forma exstitit (“That from which a thing comes to be, and in which the form exists”).

Pausing here for a moment, one can see the rich field of enquiry that would open up. We have been dealing with the Formal and Material Causes of the statue, but now let us take it down a level to the bronze itself. We could look at bronze as itself a “sculpture” comprised of copper and tin. Then, the nature or form of bronze is the Formal Cause, and the Material Cause is matter of this alloy. We can then consider the separate elements of the alloy, and thence break things down all the way to atoms, to leptons, to quarks, etc., only stopping where we find the prime matter, and principle of all other matter. But, moving on…


Efficient Cause

This is what people usually mean, when they speak of a “cause.” This is “cause and effect.” What made the statue? Why has the statue come to exist? In this case, it is the sculptor. But this, again, can be drawn back ad infinitum: what made the sculptor, and his material? This takes us back to the Prime Mover, as we’ll discuss later.

Final Cause

This is the one that most confuses our modern sense of “cause,” because it points forward to the reason for which a thing exists. But really, this is often what we denote when we use the word, “because.” I made dinner because we’re hungry; dinner exists for the purpose of satiating our hunger; our hunger is the cause, or reason, of making dinner. In the case of our statue, the final cause may be to win a reputation for the sculptor, to earn a commission, to ornament a church, etc., etc. And again, this can be extended out ad infinitum: why make money? To be happy. What is the ultimate end of happiness? Why ornament a church? What is the purpose of a church? This will take us to the last end of all creatures.

Now we’re beginning to get an idea of the scope of philosophy, and of how, by looking at the simplest principles and causes of all things, we lay the ground work for understanding everything altogether. We’ll continue next week.


Read More: How Philosophy Can Revive Your Dormant Critical Thinking Skills

74 thoughts on “How Aristotle’s First Principles Can Help You Understand The World”

    1. Thanks, I’ll check them out. Though, realistically, I don’t know that I’d have time at the moment to add another site.
      I have known three guys (known them in person, that is), for whom the discovery of the natural balance and roles of the sexes, pried open the prison-door of Modernism and pseudo-Egalitarianism. I feel like other sites with a more philosophical or high-brown bent are going to have lots of readers who have either already looked into these things, or have already written them off for their own reasons. I have a soft spot in my heart for this site, because of the way I’ve seen it take “regular guys” and introduce them into a new world, where questioning the narrative of modernity is possible for the first time. I like being here, to give guys in that position something to latch on to.
      I know many Catholics think I shouldn’t write for a site like this. And I also know how many liberal or neo-Catholic folk stretch our Lord’s mercy in the Gospels into an excuse to tolerate anything. Trying to avoid either extreme, one thing that really does strike me in the Gospels, is how many “sinners” our Lord found in His time, who were ready to hear something good and true, and how many “pious” people He found, who were perishing in their smugness. Often, we don’t know what we have ’til it’s gone; I think the current chastisement and apostasy in the Church is a result of Western man growing tepid in the faith, taking it for granted, failing to understand how precious it was. They have therefore been deprived of it. When I find young men struggling with their base passions, who seem more excited about truth and the prospect of learning something noble, than many of the folk already in the Church, I feel a certain affection for them, and a compulsion to share whatever I can in the hopes that they may lift themselves up and, perhaps, become the new crop raised up by the Lord. As our Lord said:
      “But I say to you, that to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound: and from him that hath not, even that which he hath, shall be taken from him.”
      The men around here may have little, but there’s a chance that more will be given them if they progress in honesty; and of course, some of the men may already have quite a lot; certainly there is better reason to hope for them, than there is for many of the great destroyers and apostates who profess to be members of our Lord’s sheepfold at present. I hope the Lord will bless whatever is worthy of Him here, and will be kind to me, and give me light, if my prudential judgment has not been as keen as one could wish.

      1. “one thing that really does strike me in the Gospels, is how many
        “sinners” our Lord found in His time, who were ready to hear something good and true, and how many “pious” people He found, who were perishing in their smugness.”
        Took the words out of my comment above. This is exactly why Christianity took hold and exploded in growth. There were far too many good people, doing good actions, living as good a life as they could… who found ZERO recompense or acceptance in a pagan society that, for the time, said there was no ULTIMATE reason for actually being good or doing good. There was the whims and capricious judgements and actions of all too human Gods who only reflected all that was bad and wrong with living life on THIS earth.
        When the real possibility, and the intellectual justification for, an afterlife… a LIFE AFTER death… took hold, human beings grabbed onto it as if their life depended on it… because it did, in the NEXT life.
        Regardless of religious affiliation… take away any concept of a NEXT life… and man reverts back to pagan times and all the ills and suffering it entailed for good folks trying to live good lives. They are surrounded by people who care nothing for others and live only for themselves.

        1. I’d need to think more, before I could say yes or no to this. In the Old Testament, it wasn’t clear whether there was an after life, for some time, to many Jews. And the pagans certainly had a strong sense of duty to the patria, to their kin here and now. Certain very great souls, like Plato, even exposited a system of virtue which did not look forward to an explicit afterlife (though I admit the average Joe is not likely to act as Plato advised without some incentive). I think the desire to make our current life good, and the lives of our children better, is powerful enough that a purely natural religion may motivate some people to behave well even without hope of an afterlife, as in fact has happened in the past.
          I think the key to modernity’s collapse, is the spirit of individualistic rebellion against reality, which has reached such a pitch because modern technology enables it. I mean, a century ago people avoided promiscuity if only because they didn’t want to die of stds or get pregnant out of wedlock. Now, we just treat the symptoms of our decadent evil (or decapitate and vacuum up the “accidents”). God’s judgment upon this civilization will be horrific and richly deserved.
          The concept of an afterlife certainly helps to motivate people, but even with that concept, we see how easily the people in our age either set it aside, or convince themselves that essentially everybody goes to heaven, except perhaps for a few Hitlers here and there. It seems to me that people have been good without this concept, and have been very bad with it. I think the diagnosis has to lie elsewhere.

        2. Thank you for your reply. It’s good food for thought.
          Quote:” I think the desire to make our current life good, and the lives of our children better, is powerful enough that a purely natural religion may motivate some people to behave well even without hope of an afterlife, as in fact has happened in the past.”
          This I think goes a long way to proving my thesis that the adoption of a real life after death/consequences mindset is what set Christianity apart from paganism.
          You are right… the Old Testament and Jewish faith never does explicitly spell out an afterlife/judgement. Hence, the message of Christ with that very update to the creed. It is absolutely explicit that there IS a life after this one and that rejection of God (as a single unitary being) will not go in your favour in the life to come.
          The quote above only proves what I said.. good people… had no system/society to live in that JUSTIFIED and CONFIRMED that living a good/pious life of truth and honesty was NECESSARY for actually living in the here and now.
          So you are correct… good people would be good regardless of the theological system in place for their time in human history.
          What CHANGED with Christianity… was an intellectual argument of both fact and proof that those who DO NOT live a good/pious life… can just go about doing what they are doing and laugh/sneer/denigrate those who are good.
          Christianity, for the first time in human history, introduced the idea of REAL CONSEQUENCES for how one lived one’s life in the here and now.
          I have done a lot of research on the Greeks and pagan thought in general. Some good lessons, but ultimately, death is seen merely as a natural cycle of life. In Greek thought, all souls return to hades where most dwell in an unconscious state, not necessarily “hell”. But, even with pagans, their was a place reserved for truly evil people – tartarus.
          What was missing from Greek thought was an actual place of beautitude and felicity, of repose and blessing, that Plato I think began to flesh out in his concept of the world of forms – the pure, the absolute, the essence. I just don’t think (in my study to date), that he extended to an actual place that SOULS could reside after death, but the beginnings of such a concept started with Plato and his musings on this metaphysical “real” world that was not dependent on any material origin to exist.
          You can extrapolate this line of reasoning to your thoughts on promiscuity and the decline of moral thought and deed in the west today.
          What we are seeing IS the death of God/afterlife. Atheism is now the predominant life view of many in the west who are more militant in destroying religion with “argument”. While the vast majority are now of the opinion that God/afterlife is a non question. He/it simply does not exist for them, just as it did for the pagans.
          There is this life… we live it… we die… and that’s it… is most likely the response you will get from a westerner today as they see religion/God as too divisive and in the majority, not needed to function.
          This is precisely WHY those who were doing good in pagan times NEEDED a system to justify being good.
          If there is no God/judgement and a life after death… there is no REASON to actually do good.
          How do you criticize someone, denounce bad behaviour as bad to themselves and society… when THEY believe there is no judgement at all after they die?
          Christianity was THE single intellectual revolution in patriarchal thinking that allowed good people to say – “Hey, sin is wrong and will result in punishment. We need to stop sinning because there are REAL consequences to engaging in it.”
          Is this not the very difficulty ALL religions are having right now? That ROK is having in pointing out the degeneration of morals in the west?
          We point out to the whoring and slutification of women… and the response is “Yea so? WHY does it matter to you? There are NO CONSEQUENCES to our actions after death, so why can’t we do as we wilt?”
          This article you wrote was the first time I was able to clearly see, from my study of pagan Greece (and thus Rome, they copied the Greeks), WHY Christianity was the galvaning and revolutionary force it was.
          It elevated the good, the true, the just… to an ABSOLUTE. Made judgement for one’s lived life TRUE, not some theory or idea of do gooder’s who don’t know how to let loose and have “fun.”
          Reflect on this deeply. Try to put yourself in the sandals of a pagan, who lives a chaste life, believes in telling the truth and that truth does exist, of being fair and just to all fellow human beings, of living a loving life for others, not a selfish one for oneself…
          Where in the pagan system do you find support that your way of life is THE CORRECT ONE? The right life. The true life.
          How do you convince your friends, your family, that there is an absolute God, absolute truth, absolute justice… when the gods themselves are plural, capricious and, along with the pantheon of goddesses, act no better, if not worse, than human beings. And these gods and goddesses, are what is true about the origins of the world and man.
          I am just now finally digging into St. Augustine’s The City Of God. I assume you have read it, but if not, I think you will see the very same logic I have outlined above in only the first two books of this massive intellectual tome that SET the moral compass for the entire west a mere 3 years after the collapse of Rome.

  1. The obverse is equally true in that you can equally have effects which cause something to occur. Ever since Hume, it´s become a misplaced mental construct of the western mind to always view causes leading inexorably to particular effects. In Mathematics, often this Humian maxim is ignored as you´re dealing with the probability of something occurring, which may or may not happen, and this is determined by certain measurable effects that cause the “something” to either occur or not.
    I don´t agree that Science is always as objective as it claims and this dispute goes back to Kant´s key insight that science only makes theories (which are approximations based on evidence or experimentation) about the phenomena of our world, or to be exact the visceral, sensuous data we know and actively absorb everyday in what we call “reality”. We don´t, however as Kant maintains, have a right to make truth claims about these phenomena in any objective sense, because, ultimately and with the exception of pure mathematics, theories about biology and chemistry again are theories about the phenomena of the world and are constructed by the human mind no matter how objective they claim to be. An Alien could land tomorrow and say to us that 90% of our physics is wrong becuase we made assumptions that we thought “were objective”.
    Interestingly, it was Thomas Kuhn who made the point that scientific theories largely become accepted by “consensus” and not necessarily by their inherent truth value, which in a sense points back to Aristotle´s first principles which most scientists would consider to be irrelevant.

    1. In what texts does Kant discuss that “Science makes theories” as you say? Its been years since I’ve read him. That would be a great point of departure for me.

      1. Kant is such a difficult philosopher to read, even in German, his style is extremely prolix and subtle, that you’ll just about intuitively grasp the truth of what his idea pertains to, only to suddenly loose it in the next sentence.
        Essential, to Kant’s whole philosophical endeavor is the notion of the “Hinterwelt” which literally means “back-world” in English. The conception is not oddly dissimilar to the modern idea made popular in movies like the Matrix that our world is merely a phenomenal projection or “glare” from what he called the super-sensible world where ideas like the “thing-in-itself” which we can never know directly, as we’re part of the phenomenal world (in-part) too, are perceived by us in a largely confused and distorted manner. He however makes exceptions, like perfecting our moral character, like the pursuit of purely mental pursuits like philosophy or Maths or the harmony and sublimity that comes into our being through our appreciation of nature. Underpinning these experiences in Kant’s thinking is a keener understanding or indeed sharing in the knowledge that we can never fully directly know, to give us a type of freedom from the world of becoming with all its resultant false freedoms we all know and are ultimately fooled and disappointed by. Why? You may ask, and Kant would answer, that you were duped because you never were free in the first place. Kant’s notion of freedom is very subtle and disciplined and represents a very different notion to the everyday nominal notion of freedom.
        As I said, his philosophy is both tricky and nuanced and is very stubborn to any convenient type of paraphrasing. In terms of books, people will recommend to the two Critiques (Pure and Practical Reason) which will probably cause most people to pull their hair out after a couple of pages. I find his later Critique of Pure Judgment his most accessible and interesting work. His section on the Sublime and on the Appreciation of Nature and Art is an expose of our deep yearning for harmony through such appreciation that helps fill that primordial void or rupture between ourselves (the only talking animal) and everything else in nature (that’s silent). Alternatively, I would look out a copy of Roger Scruton’s Kant, A very Short Introduction, which is about the best synopsis (if still in print) of his most important ideas.

        1. You’re welcome. He’s always, even before I read him, been a subterranean presence in the remote background of my life. He admits without saying it about our fragile and corrupt nature, essentially that we’re all sinners (although he’s too academic to use this term) who nevertheless can know the good, (the divine/god) through exercising our freedom in the real sense whilst we’re alive as sentient human beings.
          I’d go for the Oxford, but that’s just me!

    2. Chaotic systems can “fly through a keyhole” into an observably different behavior. Think of two bowl shapes, partially merged, carved into a block, with a ball bearing rolling around inside the merged cavity, occasionally but not often crossing the saddle between the bowls.
      It is true that each time the ball bearing crosses from one bowl to the other it does so by purely deterministic laws of motion. And it is /also/ true that we *cannot* know its current attributes well enough to predict its future motions.
      This unknowability is of a different kind than the no-hidden-quantum-variables consequences of Bell’s theorem, but each of them leads us in time to the same answer to “why?”. Because God willed it so.

      1. Interesting. Would imply that God is very busy playing dice all the time. I like Bell’s Theorem- an elegant, logical and profound piece of work.
        Additionally it implies that mechanistic or classical laws are deterministic at one level of description and not perhaps at another.

    3. Sure, but effects which are also causes can be just as easily studied using this method.
      “Science,” as we know it, certainly has not been objective. As Cardinal Mercier mentions, and as the very root of “science” implies (scientia = knowledge), science should only deal with things that are certainly known. But the practice is often very different from the ideal, as you point out.

  2. Man I’d really like to ask you some questions along these very lines. If only this were the time or place. Someday, perhaps – but more importantly thanks again for laying this out on RoK. I am so happy to see this level of maturity within the manosphere, and even if half the readers turn away a couple heavy thoughts in, at least they know there’s more to our movement than banging lotsa chicks.

    1. That’s what I have been saying. The ancients understood humans far better than we do, and we are only just rediscovering things now. From a certain angle, the entire manosphere could be seen as a modern philosophical movement.

    2. There’s wisdom today, too. You have to wade through a river of shit to find it, though. Even then, your chances of finding it are dicey at best.

      1. Lawrence Auster is my favorite modern philosopher. He died a few years ago. View From The Right is his blog.

        1. I kinda like RF Laird. He made the “Boomer Bible”, one of the first hypertexts and critique of our consumer zeitgeist. But since his deerhound got sick over a year ago he stopped his blog.

  3. Aurelius, thank you very much for your posts. I enjoy them very much.
    For people that are interested in more about this topic, please check Edward Feser’s books: “The last superstition” or “Aquinas”.

  4. Great post.
    You communicated some difficult concepts very clearly without dumbing anything down.

    1. Thanks. I had the help of Cardinal Mercier, to which I am sure I owe any merit in this series.

  5. Are you a Dominican by any chance? They seem to have a gift for distilling complex ideas into something regular people can understand.

    1. hahaha, is that a sarcasm? because domincans or caribeans in general are known for their low IQ/critical thinking.

        1. yes I did, just wanted to use that opportunity to add the Aristotle side of me.

    2. I would have liked to become a Dominican. There are a couple of Dominican groups resisting the current crisis in the Church, and I suppose it’s possible I may wind up with them. I am about to begin studying with some Dominicans, in any case.
      Regardless of what happens – I also think of founding a small order when I establish the hermitage – I will probably wind up using the Dominican Rite. I already say my daily Office from the (1952) Dominican Breviary.

        1. Yes, it and the Carmelite are the most beautiful (still-used) of the Latin Rites, I think. They are very close to the Sarum, which I used when I was in the Orthodox Church.

  6. as a man who has worked with the public for years,its been my observation that 90% of the population is functionally retarded. Aristotle knew this. he did not believe in democracy. he wrote that a society should be governed by the most intelligent and strong of society because the average person didnt have enough common sense to make major decisions affecting their nations future….oh if we had only listened to Aristotle.

    1. You have to admit that philosophers are notorious for going mad and taking out many innocent ignorant bystanders. Nobody’s perfect. Was it Buckley that said he’s rather be governed by the first 100 people in the phone book than the entire faculty of some college?

    2. I think I would half agree with this (90% of the population is functionally retarded). Why? I think the assumption is this: that if others are not interested in being intelligent and capable of greater clarity of thought and decision making, that those people who don’t share our interests are thus “retarded”.
      I think the truth is more simple. 99% of the population, just wants to eat, have sex, have a family, and work at something that allows them to do that. 99% of the population (and that includes me) has ZERO INTEREST in power and control over others. What the 99% want is power and control over THEIR OWN lives. Which the 1% cannot understand at all because all they want is power and control over everyone else who is not a part of the 1%.
      Hence… the psychopathic 1% who are interested in power and control and continually strive to ensure THEY have it, and WE don’t.
      Which is the underlying problem with Plato’s republic and the rule of philosopher kings – eventually, these “enlightened” kings only see retards underneath them, and begin to treat them as LESS than human beings.
      “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight. It is therefore imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
      Hence… they are always dumbing down education (common core) and controlling all media (art, science, literature, music, film).
      Those at the top currently believe they ARE the philosopher kings… that they are the ones with true “luminous” knowledge… and that the rest of us retards are useless eaters in need of extermination.
      This is the trap of all intellectual and philosophical thinking that believes man can be the ultimate source of knowledge, and thus control over the world and people.
      This will end the same way it has always ended… complete collapse, psychopaths heads on pitch forks, and the rest of us doing our best to survive and get through it.
      My silver lining of hope is exactly what I am doing right here, right now. The internet has democratized all knowledge, and thus all wisdom. It is now available to anyone who goes looking for it and more and more are doing so every day, which is why “they” are panicking. They know they can’t stop what is coming for them, but they are too stupid (psychopathy and retardation go hand in hand) to understand and will try to take us all out with them when “they” are finally exposed for the whole world to see.
      The Chinese it seems will have the last laugh on the west – “May you live in interesting times.”
      Interesting times indeed.

      1. I agree with most of your comments and sentiment after the first two paragraphs.
        I disagree with the following:
        “99% of the population (and that includes me) has ZERO INTEREST in power and control over others. What the 99% want is power and control over THEIR OWN lives. Which the 1% cannot understand at all because all they want is power and control over everyone else who is not a part of the 1%”
        I think that most people believe they can run the school, or the government, or this business or that committee or this forum, better than so and so for whatever reason. They just don’t. They complain about it and then go back to their easy chair. it’s not so much true stupidity as it is apathy. Or maybe just plain laziness in some, or maybe just plain they are worked too hard in others to bother with anything else.
        I do believe that most people, if they were told, “Here you go, you are president of the USA now,” they would take that job thinking, “well I sure as hell can’t do worse than Obama, and maybe I can do a little bit of good and I can also set myself up for the rest of my life in the meantime.”
        Most people want power, most people just hit an eventual ceiling where they don’t really know how to get any more of it. Less and less people want power as they get older. For some, this comes as a realization that it doesn’t mean everything and they just want to live out the rest of their life in peace watching their kids and grandkids. For others it happens because they’ve given up and accepted their station in life and realize they have gotten about as much as they are going to get.
        The lottery is a great example that many many people just want more. Millions of people play the lottery. Millions more gamble. Money is nothing more than a representation of power. If you win $100M, you have the power to do just about anything, at least for a little while until you spend all that money. If you’re smart about it, you can turn that money into lifelong power. Everyone whom plays the lottery wants power. And most not just power over themselves.
        Yes, they would have freedom to not work and to live anywhere they wanted. And many of them might not want outright power over other people, or at least they think they wouldn’t. But what about things they hold dear to their heart. Sharia law for muslims. The ten commandments for serious Jews and Christians. Other good morals as held by christians. “Freedom” as held by all current SJW’s. Are you telling me people won’t spend any of the money, or Power, if they have it, on making sure society isn’t formed in the picture they think it should be.
        And if they’re smart, they’ll see how they can profit more from forming society in this image.
        But I do agree that no matter whom you put power into the hands of, it eventually collapses. Power is best in the hands of a benevolent dictator. This is ideal and is why Jesus Christ is always depicted coming back as the King of Kings. Whom better than the son of god to tell everyone exactly how it’s going to be. The person whom gave his life for everyone.
        In the real world, not benevolent dictator remains that way forever as absolute power has shown time and time again to corrupt absolutely. Even power in the hands of smaller groups of people shows to corrupt those people very much.
        This is why a republic that is very limited in power and is comprised by smaller republics which are also very limited in power and comprised by much smaller counties, districts and cities which have a little more power, but most power is retained in the individual is the best system. IE, how America used to be.
        Also, only letting property owners vote is a great idea to weed out all the free riders from the system. It’s not actually as much about intelligence as it is about laziness in terms of what is collapsing our system. Most of those people whom are voting democratic for a free ride would stop right away if they didn’t get a free ride for it. They are actually smart enough to figure this out. Even dumb people whom are above the level of truly retarded are still smart enough to figure out where their obvious incentives and rewards are, and even very smart people are willing to tank their own country for their own gain in the present. So it’s not actually about being dumb or smart, or 90% functionally retarded or 99% just wanting their own freedom. It’s about most people are smart enough to figure out what incentives exist for themselves.
        Basically, I guess I’m saying that given the opportunity to join the 1% and control others, most of the 99% just might do it.

        1. If I understand your reasoning, you believe the ultimate goal of human striving is for power. Is this correct? Your analogy about why people play the lottery seems to flow along these lines.
          Let’s take another look at that lottery analogy.
          I want you to ask 10 people you know, kin or stranger, what they would do if they won 10 million dollars.
          I am betting that 10 out of 10 people will say something along the following.
          – pay off my mortgage/debts
          – buy a new car
          – travel
          – put money away for retirement/kids
          – quit my job completely and retire
          – if inclined to stay busy, keep their job, quit to start a business around one of their passions in life, or invest in the community doing charitable work
          I can guarantee you none of them will say “Plot to take over the world and control all human beings with implanted microchips to do what I tell them.”
          This is why the 1% will always, and forever, be at odds with the 99% majority of human beings.
          I can play the same game with the “give someone power” analogy.
          Ask 10 people to actually consider having the real possibility of taking over their town as mayor or their country in the White House. They can seriously CHOOSE to be in a position of power and authority over other people and the town/nation.
          Complainers or ignorant, I can bet you none of them will.
          “I have my own life to live. I don’t want to give up my life and take on all that responsibility.”
          And by “life,” they mean – family, kids, work, hobbies, weekends, vacations, etc etc etc.
          By “responsibility, they mean – power and authority over other people. This is why there is also such a gulf in understanding between employers and employees. The majority (employees), don’t want power and authority. They want to be told what to do and allowed to do what they are told with some freedom and autonomy. The minority (employers), don’t want power and authority over others, they want control over their own lives and are willing to take on the added responsibility of running a business to achieve that. But even with employers, most will want rule of law, accountable justice system, fair economic system, etc etc.
          Sure, some will grab at the chance to have real power and authority over others, but I can bet you these people will be the most arrogant, the most angry and the most vocal about how much “better” they would be. I.e. The minority narcissistic / psychopathic of society that only care about power over other people.
          This is why power corrupts absolutely. It does so because its effects only work on those that actually want power. For those whose goal in life is NOT power, having power will never affect them the way, they just don’t want it and will be rid of it the second they are able to do so.
          This is why there is no such thing as a benevolent dictatorship in my world view. It is impossible. The very people that would be benevolent don’t want power (the majority). The minority on the other hand, who believe they are superior to the everyone around them, will always be the ones constantly scheming and striving for power and control over everyone and everything.
          Even just thinking about the amount of energy and focus these psychopaths dedicate their entire waking (and sleeping) lives to controlling other people… is beyond the 99%’s comprehension. They… are alien’s to us!
          Hence Trump and the reaction by the elite. The sheeple are waking up and standing up and the elite are shitting their pants. The 99% are alien to the 1%. The 1% just does not “get” why we don’t want power and control over other people. Why the masses want the rule of law, an accountable justice system, a fair economic system, a moral social and culture environment. ALL of those things only support independence and freedom, not submission and control.
          Just think about it for a minute. And I actually suggest you try asking some people the very questions I use in my thought experiments above.
          This is the crossroads we are facing. The future will be as Orwell and Huxley predicted it would be… or it will not. They (the 1%) are betting we will not stand up. They are in for a surprise.

  7. btw,Aurelius Moner,i like your articles…. though i am orthodox and you are catholic,as a catholic monk you give christian morals and insight to a lot of things whereas a lot of this site is a bunch of degenerate men posting articles and comments about “how to fuck and dump bitches”. through our small religious differences,we are brothers through Christ.

    1. Sex is an innate part of human life. Thus, how to approach sex and treat women within the bounds of the society we live in is necessary knowledge for a fulfilling life. Therefore it merits discussion.

      1. While I agree with you, it is also human to be able to control our natural urges . Some men are drawn to whatever they consider their higher calling . At the end of the day most every living thing has sex . It’s programmed into them . But not all humans are like that , some enjoy overiding natural urges . I am not the best at it but I do what I can . There is power in being able to refuse to do something that your programmed to do

        1. “There is power in being able to refuse to do something that your programmed to do”
          Well said.

        2. I found this to be a good comment as well. I have often wondered if the whole point of the “manosphere” or “neo-masculinity” isn’t an outcome of the desires of a great portion of mankind to overcome or perhaps just exercise control over their programming.

        3. As St. Paul said, everything (natural) was lawful to him, but not all things are profitable; he did not wish to be enslaved by any desire. This is as true of lust, as it is of the stomach, of the addiction to autonomy, etc.
          Or, as St. Augustine said. “Many can more easily practice total abstinence, than true moderation; but even then, no man can moderately make use of things, if he does not also have the power to continently abstain from them.”
          I’m paraphrasing from memory, so forgive me if I got it a little bit wrong; that’s pretty close to his words, though.

        4. As Pablo Neruda stated:-
          “The night of the hunter and the night of the husband
          Come together like bed sheets and bury me,
          And the hours after lunch, when the students and priests are masturbating,
          And the animals mount each other openly”
          Priests are Olympian masturbaters. Why do we ignore these facts. The plain facts that some acts are common to all men, they’re natural to sinner and tramp alike.

        5. That’s Kantian. The freedom one gains from not acting on pure impulse. However, is the loss in natural spontaneity less than the freedom we gain? Do you enter the brothel or not? What we never experience is never known, but, what we can know for example on a given particular whorehouse experience, maybe is but a continuation of our slavery and that’s where Kant’s notion of freedom comes into play. However, you must “experience” the brothel in either a real or potential manner for this sense of freedom to become a tangible choice as you wander the night streets either a needy or free man?

        6. Common to you perhaps, and to the commie you’ve just quoted.
          Not to me. Stop bringing all of us down to the lowest level just to feel better about yourself. This post sounds like an effeminate shaming tactic and doesn’t do justice to the rest of your writings.

        7. “This post sounds like an effeminate shaming tactic” Why is there any shame involved? There’s loads of articles on this site about sex? Priests and Saints are human too and the point I’m making is that there’ll always be a split in even the most holy person between their natural thoughts and actions. Saint Augustine is an example of man who was split between these desires and thoughts at different stages in his life.

        8. There’s always a struggle between our animal flesh and our soul, agreed. That’s part of being human.
          I understood your message above as an advocacy of surrender to our weakness, such as “since so many of us cave in to lust, why even bother ?”.

        9. “I understood your message above as an advocacy of surrender to our weakness, such as “since so many of us cave in to lust, why even bother ?” But, if you think about gaming for example, surely this is surrendering to lust in its entirety? Lust like Greed share the same root which is a surrender to the universal force of the Will- they’re just different expressions of the same impersonal forces that run through every living being. The sin, when you understand it, is our shame and guilt as a human beings at reverting back to the lower and largely instinctive and unconscious forms of life when we’re gripped by vices. So, it’s possible to understand I suppose our “sin” in a non-religious manner that’s akin to the transgressions and resultant punishments that all myths speak about.

    2. Men have always been and always will be like that. It’s the Christian that must be all things to all people and see that Christ is taught when the man comes to his bitter end. May he be saved.

    3. Thank you; I spent 10 years in the Orthodox Church, eight of them as a monk. I have a lot of respect for their love of Christian traditions.
      While I don’t like articles that focus on promiscuity and random encounters with women, I do think that learning the truths about the male-female dynamic, and how to properly lead a woman and keep her emotional train tightly controlled, is an important element of masculinity. Even married men should know how to give their wives what they need – but certainly, I agree with you when the focus is on empty promiscuity.

      1. what advice would you give a man on having a lifelong relationship/marriage?
        im currently in a relationship with an older woman. ill be 23 in a few months and she just turned 36…i get a lot of backlash from people because of it as if its somehow bad. but i like her because she has a pretty good upbringing from both parents with pretty traditional values. i try to overlook the way people frown upon our age difference,because these same people think 2 men being involved is normal,not to mention if i were the older one nobody would bat an eye…so i would like advice from a wise christian man on the matter.

        1. One of the things I don’t like about relationship advice at long distance, is that the advisor really doesn’t know anything about the relationship, even if he knows some superficial information about the pair.
          So, I would hate to actually give you advice on what to do. I’ll only say two things: 1) the primary purpose of marriage is family life – i.e., raising kids; at 36, is she really looking to start a family at this point? 2) A man should be the head in any relationship; that is a fairly large age difference, which would mean nothing if you were the older, but could mean a lot for you as the younger. Can you lead her? Is she submissive? Are you able to hold a masculine and commanding frame around her? Does she follow that, or fight it?

        2. both of us are ok with not having children biologically due to the spiritual and economical wasteland the world is in. weve both discussed adopting a child thats already been born though…
          as far as leading and submission? shes intelligent,and opinionated,which is good because we can talk about stuff too each other. but so far she has shown me a great deal of respect and listens to me and treats me like a man. again,partially due to her more traditional values instilled by her parents. ive talked to her about this actually… she says im a man and therefore bear a sense of authority. thats not to say her age wont give her more knowledge than myself on some things,but thats up to me to hear her side and make the decision in the end. she seems to pretty much “get it” i guess you could say…so the age isnt as big of a factor to me as long as were both share pretty much the same values and intentions.
          our parents on the other hand? my parents are happy for me…hers? they dont despise me,but they are worried that im using her and they are a bit skeptical. but were both guessing they will warm up over a little time. were adults and both try to keep our parents from getting too involved in our business.

  8. Comprise =/= compose.
    The whole comprises the parts, the parts compose the whole.

  9. The following was going to be a reply to someone else, but I decided to post it here instead because it is relevant and important. I have been working on figuring out what is wrong with society and what can be done about it, and welcome any feedback on the following idea.
    Any creature is healthiest when living according to its biological nature, and humans are no exception.
    We lived in tribes for millions of years. Through evolution that lifestyle and environment has become part of our nature. That’s why some people spend time, money and effort to fish and hunt, even though there is no practical need for it. It is simply a biological need they have to fulfill.
    This applies in a more general sense to humans as a whole. The way we have structured society goes against our nature, and that results in physical, psychological and behavioral problems. The fact that a quarter of all american women are taking mind altering drugs every single day just to be able to appear functional is a mere symptom of this, one of many.
    So the solution? We can’t restructure society, but we can make changes to our own life. There are two basic questions to ask in this regard.
    One, what drives you? What kind of activity are you compelled to do for no clear reason? What is your Element, as described by the book of the same name? (

    Two, what role would you have taken up in ancient tribal society? Hunting? Fighting? Fishing? Mediating between other tribal members? Building stuff? This is the origin of our Element.
    In my case, finding my element was hugely problematic. I knew what I liked to do. I like to fight, but we live in a society where any sort of violence is illegal. What to turn to? Martial art? No, while I enjoy the arts I had no interest in turning it into a lifestyle. Become a cop or join the military? No, I hate taking orders. Becoming a soldier appears as the lifestyle of a slave to me and I don’t like cops so why would I want to be one.
    Another thing I like to do is travel. I started when I was around 20 and spent the next decade doing it whenever I had enough money saved up.
    I am also a heavy introvert. Being around people exhausts me.
    Eventually I figured it out. My element is survival. I only feel good when the only thing keeping me alive is my own ability. That’s also why I never fit into general society. It’s too safe and peaceful and I can’t stand it.
    In tribal society I would likely have been a warrior, or possibly a hunter, focusing on dangerous animals like bears and cats.
    Now mesh those things with modern life and what’s the result? For me, the answer was a boat. By living on a boat I can be alone or among people as I choose. I can travel freely and I am in constant danger of falling overboard and drowning. Just the way I like it.
    Another example would be my old man. His element is to build stuff. Model planes, a table, a bed, a boat, the house he lives in. He has always done it and always will to his dying day. He also restores antiques and occasionally paints.
    In tribal society he would still have been a builder. They crafted stuff either within the safety of the tribe or possibly a short distance off, but still close enough for protection. He is extroverted and has as much trouble being alone as I do being among people, and he is deathly afraid of any kind of danger and physical violence. We have opposite personalities. His lifestyle fits his biological nature perfectly and so he has never had any major complaints about life. The fact that I do is the entire reason I am here to write about it today.
    So to sum up, important components of a good life includes finding your element and structuring your lifestyle in a way that most closely resembles how you would have lived in ancient tribal times. Some fall into it by luck and don’t give it much thought. Others never figure it out, and I believe this is one cause for what we commonly think of as irrational behaviors such as heavy drinking, doing drugs and more general behavioral problems.

    1. “I have been working on figuring out what is wrong with society and what can be done about it”
      If you think too hard you will go mad. You will see that life is absurd. I went there. I concluded that life is a dream, dreamt by God, and I am part of it. It makes just as much sense as anything I’ve seen in quantum physics.

    2. The idea of a unique personal element is a very intriguing concept. It’s similar to Jung and Campbell’s archetypes, especially the later writer’s thought which are less analytical. Nowadays we seem to be obsessed with “changing the world” without realizing that this is often a ploy that’s used to ignore the harder work and task of bringing ourselves into a mature and meaningful relationship with the world.
      How fewer punitive laws would need to be made every year, how fewer drug rehabilitation centers and prisons would need to be built if we actually had the nerve and spine to say to many such people that you are the architects of your destiny and your own demise? Society and Government should not be always perennially there to play nanny to the usual suspects that affects of course everyone through more punitive and regressive laws. Our Governments need to emphasis not just peoples’ rights but indeed their corresponding responsibilities which left wing policies don’t do because everyone is a “victim” equally. This leads to a situation in society where the worse, not the best, people acquire a sense of natural entitlement in which they’ll never accept their responsibilities because they’re either too cunning, dishonest or lazy to address the real issues that reside deep within themselves.
      I admire the choices you made. Your’re a singular example of someone who attuned his element to the world and didn’t like so many other other “victims” demand that the Government set up more programs, payment schemes and equality laws that camouflage these peoples’ total lack of responsibility, both to themselves as mature human beings and to the rest of society who always have to bear the burden for their immaturity.

  10. Philosophers invented science as a means to conduct their research into the nature of our world. Philosophers still guide the ethical principles of science, e.g. don’t kidnap humans and experiment on them, etc. Philosophy interprets the raw data that science provides and gives us meaning, proscriptions, and value.
    Philosophy is the higher discipline.

  11. Thanks for another great article Sir
    Was lucky enough to grow up around the Parthenon, go to Delphi, Olympia, Mt Olympus.
    As a teenager, every piece of marble spoke to me, my friends had no interest
    Spent so much time imagining these immortal minds walking around. I could see them all and also understood how different the moderns are to the ancients.
    Still, by the time Aristotle was hanging around it had been almost 250 years since Pythagoras was martyred and his school destroyed.
    Have been studying the ancients for a long time now,
    am terrified what I will find if I ever visit my ancient homeland again.
    500 years of ottoman subjugation blasted a crater in our genetic memory that we have never recovered from.
    Without philosophy we are easily led animals, Athens or Babylon, reason, logic, light, or black magic/human sacrifice, these are our choices.

    1. Turkey will pay for what they did in Constantinople. You can bet on it. The only issue here is that God’s revenge works in the matter of centuries.

      1. The loss of Constantinople was a great trauma, but all the scholars fleeing to the west etc contributed to the renaissance and to the rise of western civilization – no mean thing. Swings and roundabouts etc
        I’d add much of the orient and islamic world had similarly been laid waste by the Mongols with even great destruction a couple of centuries previously

    2. Very true. I can sympathize with you. When people know nothing of history, the Parthenon or Reims Cathedral are just “some neat old building.” But when you know about the place and its history, and you realize that your feet are treading where Aristotle’s once did, or where Ss. King Louis and Joan of Arc once walked, where Dominique Venner so recently shot himself. History and the mystery of man’s journey through time call out from such places.

  12. Br. Aurelius Moner, I am immensely glad that you took this route in discussing the subject of philosophy and modern Western thought. I feel that you are establishing a common starting point for those of us interested in this subject matter to use. By having this starting point, I hope that future discussions we have regarding your writings, ROK articles in general, and in our daily lives as a whole will be of greater worth and more satisfying. This article contains a great deal of discussion worthy material in itself and I will gladly look be looking forward to the continuation of this series.

    1. Thanks for the kind words; I certainly do hope I can build on this foundation.

  13. Aristotle wrote a lot of great essays. Is there a book that he wrote that overviews his basic principles?

      1. I’ve read his “Politics” and bought his treatise “On the soul”. I’m finishing Joinville’s “Vie de Saint-Louis” and after that I’ll get into it… although I also wanted to read on the Russian Civil War … I have too much to read.

        1. Story of my life! Let me know how Joinville is.
          Hey, I may be moving to France in a few months. What is the political climate like there? Should I go through the paper work to bring a gun along? I’ve seen the Youtube videos of the horror shows here and there, but I have no idea what things are like, generally, for the average folk.

        2. Hopefully we will meet, then !
          Apart from some areas (like around Calais), France is still quite peaceful. It doesn’t look like a pre-civil war weather to me, although I can’t see the future. My advice would be to go to the countryside near some of our nice medieval towns. Avoid big cities if you can, and avoid their suburbs as it is where vermin tends to grow.
          I don’t know exactly how the legislation for importing your gun works, but I don’t think it is worth it, since you won’t be allowed to carry it with you, and even at home, if you use it on a burglar, you’d probably do more prison time than the burglar himself, for government here hates self defense with a passion.
          Maybe if you’re a registered competitive shooter, they might let you bring it in.
          I’ve just finished Joinville. It’s great, as he shows many very
          inspiring examples of how different the medieval man was, both in his
          everyday’s life, and when confronted to extraordinary events (such as
          the Crusades, in this case).

        3. Well, that’s good to hear. I wasn’t sure what to expect when travelling (especially on trains), etc. Yes, permits are issued to people who are into sports shooting and who want to keep their skills up; they will also issue a conceal carry permit, but from what I hear that’s only for citizens and generally they are only issued to import people who have the political clout to get approval. If France is in a pleasant state outside of a few areas, I guess I won’t worry about it. Generally a cleric should rely on prayer and God’s providence, though canon law does stipulate that they may bear arms if they are going into a legitimately dangerous area. It doesn’t sound like France is quite there, yet.
          Generally speaking, though, I can’t stand the mentality that emasculates men and forbids them from defending themselves with deadly force when necessary. It proves that the state thinks of the people as children to be supervised. Disgusting.
          I think it would be great to meet up; I’ll keep you posted on when I’m coming/where I’ll be. Thanks also for the recommendation of Joinville.

  14. My kind of articles. I wish I had some real life people to discuss these matters with. Oh well, back to day-game, sluts and repentance.

    1. You know, if you skip the “sluts” part, you could just cut right to the repentance, and have less of which to repent!
      Who needs sluts, anyway? Men are the noble sex; they are beneath you.

  15. Aristotle and indeed all the ancient Greek thinkers never used the notion of sin to denote any type of moral transgression. In fact, they didn’t even use the word evil in our modern post Christian sense. Instead they used the words irrational, bad, immoral to denote states of bad character, but, never sin in our sense.

    1. Interesting. I think sin was a way of crystallizing those irrational, bad and immoral states of character as something MORE THAN just actions that were detrimental to human functioning and happiness (of society, the good).
      As you say, in the past, those sinful actions were seen as just that, a human malfunctioning. When Christianity made those bad human actions reflect a potential negative soul state, the ultimate negative, in an afterlife, sin came fully into its own in the mind of man.
      If I remember correctly, most pagan beliefs had no concept of the afterlife or any sort of judgement for our actions here on earth, not in an ultimate sense, one that would affect one’s soul and actual being. Divine judgement that could affect one’s health or wealth? Yes, lots of that and the sacrificial rituals around both outcomes, positive and negative. But judgement of BEING? Of YOU, as a soul, a human being, in an ultimate sense?
      When you truly look at why Christianity took off in pagan times, it is precisely that promise, the promise of something BETTER after this life for actually doing GOOD actions that the ancient Greeks taught was for man’s FUNCTIONAL happiness, now expressed as a real afterlife in the Christian religious sense.
      This world, and our actions in it, will have real, personal consequences for us after we die. Even if some want to believe the argument that God and ultimate judgement are all a trick of the mind and not real, you can’t argue with the impact on one’s life should you actually believe what the Bible (and most patriarchal spiritual traditions) reveal of man’s true purpose and reason for existence.
      Hence… the more humanity rejects this concept of sin in the ultimate sense (consequences after death)… the more pagan like society becomes. (there is no truth, no morality, “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”)

      1. Yes, Christianity took the pagan notion of transgression which was the bedrock of Greek thought, especially in their epics and drama, and subtly changed and equated the “pagan transgressions” into the “Christian sins” that can dam and condemn a person’s soul in its posthumous existence through their acts when alive. Additionally, in pagan thought, especially the Greek/Roman variety, the afterlife (Hades) was a shadowy, gloomy place, but not a terrifying realm of endless tortures revealed by Christianity, and only the “heroes” like Achilles ended up there. The rest of us ordinary plebs didn’t even inhabit this gloomy sphere after death. However, Christianity universalized the afterlife and made it either a paradise or a hell that was the going to be the inheritance of every Christian soul.
        The Christian depiction of hell also provided us with the modern notion of evil which didn’t exist in the ancient world whose thinkers merely had the idea of the irrational and the chaotic to describe unfathomable phenomena. We nowadays for example will describe cruel things often as pure evil, however, cruel things no doubt happened in the ancient world, yet they wouldn’t describe such acts as evil, merely irrational or done under anger, or perhaps they didn’t even register them as such and were just chalked up as the “ways of war and conflicts”.
        Ultimately, the point is that neither sin or evil as we understand them today are primal attributes of humanity, as, both only crystallized in what we understand them to mean today through the monotheistic faiths and later again through the prism of Christianity’s thinking on the matter, especially the soul’s posthumous existence.

  16. Very good article. Clarified some things I have not thought about in a few years.
    Would it be safe to postulate that atheists reject all knowledge (and thus existence) of both formal and final causes?
    The picture illustration is what sparked this question. Atheists (scientists, materialists, empiricists)… by nature only believe in the efficient (the subject) and the material (the object). Formal (essence, or what) and final (reason, or why) causes are irrelevant to them.
    To ask an atheist what water IS and why it EXISTS… is a moot point.
    They believe the only “true” knowledge is that water is a liquid (object) that man (subject) can measure and manipulate.
    Hmmm… I just realized that in the scientific/atheist world view… there is only man and material, making man The Maker and material the dust. Without ever asking what man is or why he exists.
    What and why… are banned in 21st century western intellectual debate. It is seen as old knowledge (as you alluded to) and thus out of date and at worst, completely irrelevant to man’s functioning in the 21st century of “luminous” enlightenment.
    I think there is a chance to bring true knowledge to people that want it, but once things go stupid, can it really be fixed? Can you actually fix stupid?

    1. I think that is an accurate explanation of modernism and atheism. The loss of a final cause means that all things are what they are at the moment. There is no inherent meaning; only the meaning that we artificially place upon a thing. The formal cause is gone too. Man doesn’t have a soul (the formal cause of a man). He is just an evolutionary result of a long process, and ultimately consists of a bunch of atoms that are well organized to perform certain tasks. All that is left is the material and the efficient cause, which are matter and your parents respectively.
      Whether a true philosophy and actual thinking can return is hard to say. People don’t think because it is easier not to think. There will never be a time when most people understand basic philosophy. The question is whether it will return to a point where those who are influential will understand how to think. The average person follows the crowd when it comes to what they think.

      1. I was once this pessimistic. But just look at how many people are responding to the problems in the world BY thinking. They all KNOW something is wrong, which means better thinking is going to make a come back. I think it is this inevitability of truth, and the seeking of it, that is going to stand out in history a hundred years from now. People in the 22nd, 23rd century are going to look back on this time and be amazed that so much falsehood and corruption was allowed to go on for so long. But then if it had not, we would not be on the cusp of a tidal wave of truth and justice rolling over the entire world.

  17. This is the best article Ive read on this website ever. More Aristotle, better men.

  18. Another good article, Aurelius Moner. People have forgotten how to think. They think that if they know what a few scientists say about biology or physics or religion then they know everything they need to know and that they know how to think. But all they know is what other people think about a few subjects. They haven’t learned how to actually take that knowledge and integrate it into a larger system of thought. With the advent of modern philosophy, there has been a loss of any sense of real philosophy. It has become just a personal opinion that can’t explain anything but what a particular individual thinks about a particular subject.

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