Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, March 6, 2017

Quiz March 14

DR 358-390 (Remember, we don't meet on Thursday the 16th. Read the rest of ch 14 and post 250+ words on Augustine or Boethius.)

1. What happened in AD 529, and why is it a convenient milestone for philosophy?

2. What did medieval Christians "know" that Aristotle said wasn't so?

3. What's the one question almost everyone has heard about medieval philosophy? What's the obvious answer?

4. What was "the strangest document in the history of philosophy" and how did it catch the spirit of its time?

5. What was Plotinus's philosophy called, and what was its goal?

6. What did Proclus see as the job of philosophy?


  • How should philosophy and religion relate to one another? Can they peacefully coexist?
  • How do you interpret the Eucharist? Do you agree with Aristotle? (364)
  • Gottlieb says the "real problem with medieval learning" was that professors "allowed themselves to be tyrannized by books." What do you think this means? What's the correct way to treat books?
  • If angels did not have bodies, how could they be in contact with anything? (370) How could Caspar the Friendly ghost move through a wall AND catch a ball? (Dan Dennett: "Dennett was convinced that Descartes’ dualism — the idea that an immaterial mind interacts with a material body — was a “cul-de-sac”. To illustrate the dualist delusion, he makes an improbable reference to the cartoon character, Casper the Friendly Ghost, who could both walk through walls and catch a baseball with his ghostly hand. “There was a latent contradiction built into the very idea of Casper the Friendly Ghost and basically that’s what’s wrong with dualism. Nobody’s ever solved that problem remotely satisfactorily.”)
  • Do you equally value spiritual salvation and tranquility, or do you consider one more important than the other? Can you achieve both?
  • Are you, or anyone you know, in agreement with Plotinus about being "almost ashamed of being in the body"? Why would anyone have such an attitude? How can they get over it?
  • What do you see as the job of philosophy?

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Bertrand Russell's History-CHAPTER XXX Plotinus 

PLOTINUS ( A.D. 204-270), the founder of Neoplatonism, is the last of the great philosophers of antiquity. His life is almost coextensive with one of the most disastrous periods in Roman history. Shortly before his birth, the army had become conscious of its power, and had adopted the practice of choosing emperors in return for monetary rewards, and assassinating them afterwards to give occasion for a renewed sale of the Empire. These preoccupations unfitted the soldiers for the defence of the frontier, and permitted vigorous incursions of Germans from the north and Persians from the East. War and pestilence diminished the population of the Empire by about a third, while increased taxation and diminished resources caused financial ruin in even those provinces to which no hostile forces penetrated. The cities, which had been the bearers of culture, were especially hard hit; substantial citizens, in large numbers, fled to escape the tax-collector. It was not till after the death of Plotinus that order was re-established and the Empire temporarily saved by the vigorous measures of Diocletian and Constantine. Of all this there is no mention in the works of Plotinus. He turned aside from the spectacle of ruin and misery in the actual world, to contemplate an eternal world of goodness and beauty. In this he was in harmony with all the most serious men of his age. To all of them, Christians and pagans alike, the world of practical affairs seemed to offer no hope, and only the Other World seemed worthy of allegiance. To the Christian, the Other World was the Kingdom of Heaven, to be enjoyed after death; to the Platonist, it was the eternal world of ideas, the real world as opposed to that of illusory appearance. Christian theologians combined these points of view, and embodied much of the philosophy of Plotinus. Dean Inge, in his invaluable book on Plotinus, rightly emphasises what Christianity owes to him. "Platon- -284- ism," he says, "is part of the vital structure of Christian theology, with which no other philosophy, I venture to say, can work without friction." There is, he says, an "utter impossibility of excising Platonism from Christianity without tearing Christianity to pieces." He points out that Saint Augustine speaks of Plato's system as "the most pure and bright in all philosophy," and of Plotinus as a man in whom "Plato lived again," and who, if he had lived a little later, would have "changed a few words and phrases and become Christian." Saint Thomas Aquinas, according to Dean Inge, "is nearer to Plotinus than to the real Aristotle." Plotinus, accordingly, is historically important as an influence in moulding the Christianity of the Middle Ages and of Catholic theology. The historian, in speaking of Christianity, has to be careful to recognize the very great changes that it has undergone, and the variety of forms that it may assume even at one epoch. The Christianity of the Synoptic Gospels is almost innocent of metaphysics. The Christianity of modern America, in this respect, is like primitive Christianity; Platonism is alien to popular thought and feeling in the United States, and most American Christians are much more concerned with duties here on earth, and with social progress in the every-day world, than with the transcendental hopes that consoled men when everything terrestrial inspired despair. I am not speaking of any change of dogma, but of a difference of emphasis and interest. A modern Christian, unless he realizes how great this difference is, will fail to understand the Christianity of the past. We, since our study is historical, are concerned with the effective beliefs of past centuries, and as to these it is impossible to disagree with what Dean Inge says on the influence of Plato and Plotinus. Plotinus, however, is not only historically important. He represents, better than any other philosopher, an important type of theory. A philosophical system may be judged important for various different kinds of reasons. The first and most obvious is that we think it may be true. Not many students of philosophy at the present time would feel this about Plotinus; Dean Inge is, in this respect, a rare exception. But truth is not the only merit that a metaphysic can possess. It may have beauty, and this is certainly to be found in Plotinus; there are passages that remind one of the later cantos of Dante's Para- -285- diso, and of almost nothing else in literature. Now and again, his descriptions of the eternal world of glory To our high-wrought fantasy present That undisturbed song of pure concent Aye sung before the sapphire-coloured throne To Him that sits thereon. Again, a philosophy may be important because it expresses well what men are prone to believe in certain moods or in certain cirmumstances. Uncomplicated joy and sorrow is not matter for philosophy, but rather for the simpler kinds of poetry and music. Only joy and sorrow accompanied by reflection on the universe generate metaphysical theories. A man may be a cheerful pessimist or a melancholy optimist. Perhaps Samuel Butler may serve as an example of the first; Plotinus is an admirable example of the second. In an age such as that in which he lived, unhappiness is immediate and pressing, whereas happiness, if attainable at all, must be sought by reflection upon things that are remote from the impressions of sense. Such happiness has in it always an element of strain; it is very unlike the simple happiness of a child. And since it is not derived from the every-day world, but from thought and imagination, it demands a power of ignoring or despising the life of the senses. It is, therefore, not those who enjoy instinctive happiness who invent the kinds of metaphysical optimism that depend upon belief in the reality of a super-sensible world. Among the men who have been unhappy in a mundane sense, but resolutely determined to find a higher happiness in the world of theory, Plotinus holds a very high place. Nor are his purely intellectual merits by any means to be despised. He has, in many respects, clarified Plato's teaching; he has developed, with as much consistency as possible, the type of theory advocated by him in common with many others. His arguments against materialism are good, and his whole conception of the relation of soul and body is clearer than that of Plato or Aristotle. Like Spinoza, he has a certain kind of moral purity and loftiness, which is very impressive. He is always sincere, never shrill or censorious, invariably concerned to tell the reader, as simply as he can, what he believes to be important. Whatever one may think of him as a theoretical philosopher, it is impossible not to love him as a man. -286- The life of Plotinus is known, so far as it is known, through the biography written by his friend and disciple Porphyry, a Semite whose real name was Malchus. There are, however, miraculous elements in this account, which make it difficult to place a complete reliance upon its more credible portions. Plotinus considered his spatio-temporal appearance unimportant, and was loath to talk about the accidents of his historical existence. He stated, however, that he was born in Egypt, and it is known that as a young man he studied in Alexandria, where he lived until the age of thirty-nine, and where his teacher was Ammonius Saccas, often regarded as the founder of neoplatonism. He then joined the expedition of the Emperor Gordian III against the Persians, with the intention, it is said, of studying the religions of the East. The Emperor was still a youth, and was murdered by the army, as was at that time the custom. This occurred during his campaign in Mesopotamia in A.D. 244. Plotinus thereupon abandoned his oriental projects and settled in Rome, where he soon began to teach. Among his hearers were many influential men, and he was favoured by the Emperor Gallienus. * At one time he formed a project of founding Plato's Republic in the Campania, and building for the purpose a new city to be called Platonopolis. The Emperor, at first, was favourable, but ultimately withdrew his permission. It may seem strange that there should be room for a new city so near Rome, but probably by that time the region was malarial, as it is now, but had not been earlier. He wrote nothing until the age of forty-nine; after that, he wrote much. His works were edited and arranged by Porphyry, who was more Pythagorean than Plotinus, and caused the Neoplatonist school to become more supernaturalist than it would have been if it had followed Plotinus more faithfully.

The respect of Plotinus for Plato is very great; Plato is usually alluded to as "He." In general, the "blessed ancients" are treated with reverence, but this reverence does not extend to the atomists. The ____________________ * Concerning Gallienus, Gibbon remarks: "He was a master of several curious but useless sciences, a ready orator and an elegant poet, a skillful gardener, an excellent cook, and most contemptible prince. When the great emergencies of the State required his presence and attention, he was engaged in conversation with the philosopher Plotinus, wasting his time in trifling or licentious pleasures, preparing his initiation to the Grecian mysteries, or soliciting a place in the Areopagus of Athens" (Ch. X). -287- Stoics and Epicureans, being still active, are controverted, the Stoics only for their materialism, the Epicureans for every part of their philosophy. Artistotle plays a larger part than appears, as borrowings from him are often unacknowledged. One feels the influence of Parmenides at many points. The Plato of Plotinus is not so full-blooded as the real Plato. The theory of ideas, the mystical doctrines of the Phaedo and of Book VI of the Republic, and the discussion of love in the Symposium, make up almost the whole of Plato as he appears in the Enneads (as the books of Plotinus are called). The political interests, the search for definitions of separate virtues, the pleasure in mathematics, the dramatic and affectionate appreciation of individuals, and above all the playfulness of Plato, are wholly absent from Plotinus. Plato, as Carlyle said, is "very much at his ease in Zion"; Plotinus, on the contrary, is always on his best behaviour. The metaphysics of Plotinus begins with a Holy Trinity: The One, Spirit and Soul. These three are not equal, like the Persons of the Christian Trinity; the One is supreme, Spirit comes next, and Soul last. * The One is somewhat shadowy. It is sometimes called God, sometimes the Good; it transcends Being, which is the first sequent upon the One. We must not attribute predicates to it, but only say "It is." (This is reminiscent of Parmenides.) It would be a mistake to speak of God as "the All," because God transcends the All. God is present through all things. The One can be present without any coming: "while it is nowhere, nowhere is it not." Although the One is sometimes spoken of as the Good, we are also told that it precedes both the Good and the Beautiful. †Sometimes, the One appears to resemble Aristotle's God; we are told that God has no need of his derivatives, and ignores the created world. The One is indefinable, and in regard to it there is more truth in silence than in any words whatever. We now come to the Second Person, whom Plotinus calls nous. It is always difficult to find an English word to represent nous. The ____________________ * Origen, who was a contemporary of Plotinus and had the same teacher in philosophy, taught that the First Person was superior to the Second, and the Second to the Third, agreeing in this with Plotinus. But Origen's view was subsequently declared heretical. â € Fifth Enmead, Fifth Tractate, Chap. 12. -288- standard dictionary translation is "mind," but this does not have the correct connotations, particularly when the word is used in a religious philosophy. If we were to say that Plotinus put mind above soul, we should give a completely wrong impression. McKenna, the translator of Plotinus, uses "Intellectual-Principle," but this is awkward, and does not suggest an object suitable for religious veneration. Dean Inge uses "Spirit," which is perhaps the best word available. But it leaves out the intellectual element which was important in all Greek religious philosophy after Pythagoras. Mathematics, the world of ideas, and all thought about what is not sensible, have, for Pythagoras, Plato, and Plotinus, something divine; they constitute the activity of nous, or at least the nearest approach to its activity that we can conceive. It was this intellectual element in Plato's religion that led Christians--notably the author of Saint John's Gospel--to identify Christ with the Logos. Logos should be translated "reason" in this connection; this prevents us from using "reason" as the translation of nous. I shall follow Dean Inge in using "Spirit," but with the proviso that nous has an intellectual connotation which is absent from "Spirit" as usually understood. But often I shall use the word nous untranslated. Nous, we are told, is the image of the One; it is engendered because the One, in its self-quest, has vision; this seeing is nous. This is a difficult conception. A Being without parts, Plotinus says, may know itself; in this case, the seer and the seen are one. In God, who is conceived, as by Plato, on the analogy of the sun, the light-giver and what is lit are the same. Pursuing the analogy, now may be considered as the light by which the One sees itself. It is possible for us to know the Divine Mind, which we forget through self-will. To know the Divine Mind, we must study our own soul when it is most god-like: we must put aside the body, and the part of the soul that moulded the body, and "sense with desires and impulses and every such futility;" what is then left is an image of the Divine Intellect. "Those divinely possessed and inspired have at least the knowledge that they hold some greater thing within them, though they cannot tell what it is; from the movements that stir them and the utterances that come from them they perceive the power, not themselves, that moves them: in the same way, it must be, we stand towards the Supreme when we hold nous pure; we know the Divine Mind within, that which gives Being and all else of that order: but we know, too, -289- that other, know that it is none of these, but a nobler principle than anything we know as Being; fuller and greater; above reason, mind, and feeling; conferring these powers, not to be confounded with them." * Thus when we are "divinely possessed and inspired" we see not only nous, but also the One. When we are thus in contact with the Divine, we cannot reason or express the vision in words; this comes later. "At the moment of touch there is no power whatever to make any affirmation; there is no leisure; reasoning upon the vision is for afterwards. We may know we have had the vision when the Soul has suddenly taken light. This light is from the Supreme and is the Supreme; we may believe in the Presence when, like that other God on the call of a certain man, He comes bringing light; the light is the proof of the advent. Thus, the Soul unlit remains without that vision; lit, it possesses what it sought. And this is the true end set before the Soul, to take that light, to see the Supreme by the Supreme and not by the light of any other principle--to see the Supreme which is also the means to the vision; for that which illumines the Soul is that which it is to see just as it is by the sun's own light that we see the sun. "But how is this to be accomplished? "Cut away everything." †The experience of "ecstasy" (standing outside one's own body) happened frequently to Plotinus: Many times it has happened: Lifted out of the body into myself; becoming external to all other things and self-encentered; beholding a marvellous beauty; then, more than ever, assured of community with the loftiest order; enacting the noblest life, acquiring identity with the divine; stationing within It by having attained that activity; poised above whatsoever in the Intellectual is less than the Supreme: yet, there comes the moment of descent from intellection to reasoning, and after that sojourn in the divine, I ask myself how it happens that I can now be descending, and how did the Soul ever enter into my body, the Soul which even within the body, is the high thing it has shown itself to be. ‡ ____________________ * Enneads, V, 3, 14. McKenna's translation. â € Enneads, V, 3, 17. â € ¡ IV, 8, 1. -290- This brings us to Soul, the third and lowest member of the Trinity. Soul, though inferior to nous, is the author of all living things; it made the sun and moon and stars, and the whole visible world. It is the offspring of the Divine Intellect. It is double: there is an inner soul, intent on nous, and another, which faces the external. The latter is associated with a downward movement, in which the Soul generates its image, which is Nature and the world of sense. The Stoics had identified Nature with God, but Plotinus regards it as the lowest sphere, something emanating from the Soul when it forgets to look upward towards nous. This might suggest the Gnostic view that the visible world is evil, but Plotinus does not take this view. The visible world is beautiful, and is the abode of blessed spirits; it is only less good than the intellectual world. In a very interesting controversial discussion of the Gnostic view, that the cosmos and its Creator are evil, he admits that some parts of Gnostic doctrine, such as the hatred of matter, may be due to Plato, but holds that the other parts, which do not come from Plato, are untrue. His objections to Gnosticism are of two sorts. On the one hand, he says that Soul, when it creates the material world, does so from memory of the divine, and not because it is fallen; the world of sense, he thinks, is as good as a sensible world can be. He feels strongly the beauty of things perceived by the senses: Who that truly perceives the harmony of the Intellectual Realm could fail, if he has any bent towards music, to answer to the harmony in sensible sounds? What geometrician or arithmetician could fail to take pleasure in the symmetries, correspondences and principles of order observed in visible things? Consider, even, the case of pictures: Those seeing by the bodily sense the productions of the art of painting do not see the one thing in the one only way; they are deeply stirred by recognizing in the objects depicted to the eyes the presentation of what lies in the idea, and so are called to recollection of the truth--the very experience out of which Love rises. Now, if the sight of Beauty excellently reproduced upon a face hurries the mind to that other Sphere, surely no one seeing the loveliness lavish in the world of sense--this vast orderliness, the form which the stars even in their remoteness display--no one could be so dull-witted, so immoveable, as not to be carried by all this to recollection, and gripped by reverent awe in the thought of -291- all this, so great, sprung from that greatness. Not to answer thus could only be to have neither fathomed this world nor had any vision of that other ( II, 9, 16). There is another reason for rejecting the Gnostic view. The Gnostics think that nothing divine is associated with the sun, moon, and stars; they were created by an evil spirit. Only the soul of man, among things perceived, has any goodness. But Plotinus is firmly persuaded that the heavenly bodies are the bodies of god-like beings, immeasurably superior to man. According to the Gnostics, "their own soul, the soul of the least of mankind, they declare deathless, divine; but the entire heavens and the stars within the heavens have had no communion with the Immortal Principle, though these are far purer and lovelier than their own souls" ( II, 9, 5). For the view of Plotinus there is authority in the Timaeus, and it was adopted by some Christian Fathers, for instance, Origen. It is imaginatively attractive; it expresses feelings that the heavenly bodies naturally inspire, and makes man less lonely in the physical universe. There is in the mysticism of Plotinus nothing morose or hostile to beauty. But he is the last religious teacher, for many centuries, of whom this can be said. Beauty, and all the pleasures associated with it, came to be thought to be of the Devil; pagans, as well as Christians, came to glorify ugliness and dirt. Julian the Apostate, like contemporary orthodox saints, boasted of the populousness of his beard. Of all this, there is nothing in Plotinus. Matter is created by Soul, and has no independent reality. Every Soul has its hour; when that strikes, it descends, and enters the body suitable to it. The motive is not reason, but something more analogous to sexual desire. When the soul leaves the body, it must enter another body if it has been sinful, for justice requires that it should be punished. If, in this life, you have murdered your mother, you will, in the next life, be a woman, and be murdered by your son ( III, 2, 13). Sin must be punished; but the punishment happens naturally, through the restless driving of the sinner's errors. Do we remember this life after we are dead? The answer is perfectly logical, but not what most modern theologians would say. Memory is concerned with our life in time, whereas our best and truest life is in eternity. Therefore, as the soul grows towards eternal -292- life, it will remember less and less; friends, children, wife, will be gradually forgotten; ultimately, we shall know nothing of the things of this world, but only contemplate the intellectual realm. There will be no memory of personality, which, in contemplative vision, is unaware of itself. The soul will become one with nous, but not to its own destruction: nous and the individual soul will be simultaneously two and one ( IV, 4, 2). In the Fourth Ennead, which is on the Soul, one section, the Seventh Tractate, is devoted to the discussion of immortality. The body, being compound, is clearly not immortal; if, then, it is part of us, we are not wholly immortal. But what is the relation of the soul to the body? Aristotle (who is not mentioned explicitly) said the soul was the form of the body, but Plotinus rejects this view, on the ground that the intellectual act would be impossible if the soul were any form of body. The Stoics think that the soul is material, but the unity of the soul proves that this is impossible. Moreover, since matter is passive, it cannot have created itself; matter could not exist if soul had not created it, and, if soul did not exist, matter would disappear in a twinkling. The soul is neither matter nor the form of a material body, but Essence, and Essence is eternal. This view is implicit in Plato's argument that the soul is immortal because ideas are eternal; but it is only with Plotinus that it becomes explicit. How does the soul enter the body from the aloofness of the intellectual world? The answer is, through appetite. But appetite, though sometimes ignoble, may be comparatively noble. At best, the soul "has the desire of elaborating order on the model of what it has seen in the IntellectualPrinciple (nous)." That is to say, soul contemplates the inward realm of essence, and wishes to produce something, as like it as possible, that can be seen by looking without instead of looking within--like (we might say) a composer who first imagines his music, and then wishes to hear it performed by an orchestra. But this desire of the soul to create has unfortunate results. So long as the soul lives in the pure world of essence, it is not separated from other souls living in the same world; but as soon as it becomes joined to a body, it has the task of governing what is lower than itself, and by this task it becomes separate from other souls, which have other bodies. Except in a few men at a few moments, the soul becomes -293- chained to the body. "The body obscures the truth, but there* all stands out clear and separate" ( IV, 9, 5). This doctrine, like Plato's, has difficulty in avoiding the view that the creation was a mistake. The soul at its best is content with nous, the world of essence; if it were always at its best, it would not create, but only contemplate. It seems that the act of creation is to be excused on the ground that the created world, in its main lines, is the best that is logically possible; but this is a copy of the eternal world, and as such has the beauty that is possible to a copy. The most definite statement is in the Tractate on the Gnostics ( II, 9, 8): To ask why the Soul has created the Kosmos, is to ask why there is a Soul and why a Creator creates. The question, also, implies a beginning in the eternal and, further, represents creation as the act of a changeful Being who turns from this to that. Those that think so must be instructed--if they would but bear with correction--in the nature of the Supernals, and brought to desist from that blasphemy of majestic powers which comes so easily to them, where all should be reverent scruple. Even in the administration of the Universe there is no ground for such attack, for it affords manifest proof of the greatness of the Intellectual Kind. This All that has emerged into life is no amorphous structure-like those lesser forms within it which are born night and day out of the lavishness of its vitality--the Universe is a life organised, effective, complex, all-comprehensive, displaying an unfathomable wisdom. How, then, can anyone deny that it is a clear image, beautifully formed, of the Intellectual Divinities? No doubt it is a copy, not original; but that is its very nature; it cannot be at once symbol and reality. But to say that it is an inadequate copy is false; nothing has been left out which a beautiful representation within the physical order could include. Such a reproduction there must necessarily be--though not by deliberation and contrivance--for the Intellectual could not be the last of things, but must have a double Act, one within itself, and one outgoing; there must, then, be something later than the Divine; ____________________ * Plotinus habitually uses "There" as a Christian might--as it is used, for instance, in The life that knows no ending, The tearless life is There. -294- for only the thing with which all power ends fails to pass downwards something of itself. This is perhaps the best answer to the Gnostics that the principles of Plotinus make possible. The problem, in slightly different language, was inherited by Christian theologians; they, also, have found it difficult to account for the creation without allowing the blasphemous conclusion that, before it, something was lacking to the Creator. Indeed, their difficulty is greater than that of Plotinus, for he may say that the nature of Mind made creation inevitable, whereas, for the Christian, the world resulted from the untrammelled exercise of God's free will. Plotinus has a very vivid sense of a certain kind of abstract beauty. In describing the position of Intellect as intermediate between the One and Soul, he suddenly bursts out into a passage of rare eloquence: The Supreme in its progress could never be borne forward upon some soulless vehicle nor even directly upon the Soul: it will be heralded by some ineffable beauty: before the Great King in his progress there comes first the minor train, then rank by rank the greater and more exalted, closer to the King the kinglier; next his own honoured company until, last among all these grandeurs, suddenly appears the Supreme Monarch himself, and all--unless indeed for those who have contented themselves with the spectacle before his coming and gone away--prostrate themselves and hail him ( V, 5, 3). There is a Tractate on Intellectual Beauty, which shows the same kind of feeling ( V, 8): Assuredly all the gods are august and beautiful in a beauty beyond our speech. And what makes them so? Intellect; and especially Intellect operating within them (the divine sun and stars) to visibility. . . . To 'live at ease' is There; and to these divine beings verity is mother and nurse, existence and sustenance; all that is not of process but of authentic being they see, and themselves in all; for all is transparent, nothing dark, nothing resistant; every being is lucid to every other, in breadth and depth; light runs through light. And each of them contains all within itself, and at the same time sees all in every other, so that everywhere there is all, and all is all and -295- each all, and infinite the glory. Each of them is great; the small is great; the sun, There, is all the stars; and every star, again, is all the stars and sun. While some manner of being is dominant in each, all are mirrored in every other. In addition to the imperfection which the world inevitably possesses because it is a copy, there is, for Plotinus as for the Christians, the more positive evil that results from sin. Sin is a consequence of free will, which Plotinus upholds as against the determinists, and, more particularly, the astrologers. He does not venture to deny the validity of astrology altogether, but he attempts to set bounds to it, so as to make what remains compatible with free will. He does the same as regards magic; the sage, he says, is exempt from the power of the magician. Porphyry relates that a rival philosopher tried to put evil spells on Plotinus, but that, because of his holiness and wisdom, the spells recoiled on the rival. Porphyry, and all the followers of Plotinus, are much more superstitious than he is. Superstition, in him, is as slight as was possible in that age. Let us now endeavor to sum up the merits and defects of the doctrine taught by Plotinus, and in the main accepted by Christian theology so long as it remained systematic and intellectual. There is, first and foremost, the construction of what Plotinus believed to be a secure refuge for ideals and hopes, and one, moreover, which involved both moral and intellectual effort. In the third century, and in the centuries after the barbarian invasion, western civilization came near to total destruction. It was fortunate that, while theology was almost the sole surviving mental activity, the system that was accepted was not purely superstitious, but preserved, though sometimes deeply buried, doctrines which embodied much of the work of Greek intellect and much of the moral devotion that is common to the Stoics and the Neoplatonists. This made possible the rise of the scholastic philosophy, and later, with the Renaissance, the stimulus derived from the renewed study of Plato, and thence of the other ancients. On the other hand, the philosophy of Plotinus has the defect of encouraging men to look within rather than to look without: when we look within we see nous, which is divine, while when we look without we see the imperfections of the sensible world. This kind of subjectivity was a gradual growth; it is to be found in the doctrines -296- of Protagoras, Socrates, and Plato, as well as in the Stoics and Epicureans. But at first it was only doctrinal, not temperamental; for a long time it failed to kill scientific curiosity. We saw how Posidonius, about 100 B.C., travelled to Spain and the Atlantic coast of Africa to study the tides. Gradually, however, subjectivism invaded men's feelings as well as their doctrines. Science was no longer cultivated, and only virtue was thought important. Virtue, as conceived by Plato, involved all that was then possible in the way of mental achievement; but in later centuries it came to be thought of, increasingly, as involving only the virtuous will, and not a desire to understand the physical world or improve the world of human institutions. Christianity, in its ethical doctrines, was not free from this defect, although in practice belief in the importance of spreading the Christian faith gave a practicable object for moral activity, which was no longer confined to the perfecting of self. Plotinus is both an end and a beginning--an end as regards the Greeks, a beginning as regards Christendom. To the ancient world, weary with centuries of disappointment, exhausted by despair, his doctrine might be acceptable, but could not be stimulating. To the cruder barbarian world, where superabundant energy needed to be restrained and regulated rather than stimulated, what could penetrate in his teaching was beneficial, since the evil to be combated was not languor but brutality. The work of transmitting what could survive of his philosophy was performed by the Christian philosophers of the last age of Rome.


  1. Alexus Uqdah- Section 8


    I am not sure if philosophy and religion can relate well with each other because of their different attitudes towards faith and believes. Philosophy is more of a believe what you can prove and keep questioning it to make sure you really understand it whereas religion has a lot to do with trusting what your told and believing what you don't know and can't prove. I think that they can peacefully coexist as long as no one goes into a deep conversation about it and they agree to disagree at times.

    I am not sure that angels don't have bodies, their forms just are extremely different from what we define or understand a body to be.

    I think I value spiritual salvation more than tranquility honestly, but being in pursuit of spiritual salvation brings me tranquility.
    However, i am not sure if it is possible to achieve both.

    The job of philosophy has always been to challenge norms to me. This idea that we don't know everything we think we know and philosophy proves that.

  2. Alexus Uqdah- Section 8

    Alternate Quiz Questions

    1.) What does Plotinus admit? (382)

    2.) In Philosophy from Oracles, what does Porphyry find a place for? (384)

    1. 8
      1) That he is trying to lead us beyond the reach of reason and logic.

      2) All Olympian deities, plus the souls of divine and semi-divine heroes like Orpheus and Pythagoras.

  3. Section 8 3-14 AQQ
    1.How did Proclus treat the basic premise of his theology?
    2.Was Proclus's philosophy held to be self evident?
    3.What did Euclid's axiom say?
    4.Did Proclus write prayer like hymns?
    5.The teachings of Proclus turned out to play an important part in what religions thought?
    6.It did this largely because of what?
    7.What did an anonymous Christian writer write?
    8.Did Proclus's theology recognize many gods?
    9.Was this a problem for Christianity?
    10.Did St. Augustine need a pseudonym to smuggle his thoughts into the Christian canon?
    11.His devotion to the Christian cause is evident in what?
    12.When was he converted?
    13.What did he not aim to do?
    14.He did not see Platonism as what?
    15.What did he see Platonism as?
    16.Who wrote the Platonic Books?

  4. 250 word essay on Boethius

    Boethius was born in the year 475 A.D. and died in the year 524 A.D. He had a massive effect on Western philosophy. He was a philosopher and a Christian. He was really depressed by the fact that there was a quick degeneration of intellectual life. He was also really depressed by the fact that most people in the west could not read the Greek classics that he loved.
    Boethius was determined to have people be able to read the works of Plato and Aristotle so he had a plan to translate all of their work into Latin so that all the people could read and learn from Plato and Aristotle’s lessons. He did not want their work to be lost to the future generations of people.
    Boethius did not get very far in his goal however, he was executed for treason before he could translate most of Aristotle and Plato’s work into Latin. The only part that survived of Boethius’s hard work is the Latin versions of Aristotle’s logical writings. This helps to explain why a lot of the early medieval philosophers were so obsessed with the old logic that was presented in Aristotle’s work.
    While Boethius was stuck in prison for his charge of treason, he wrote his book entitled The Consolation of Philosophy. This book was well written because he was so concentrated on writing it because he knew he was about to die. This book became one of the most widely read books of medieval times.

  5. Devin Willis10:29 PM CDT

    Devin Willis-8
    1.There is not a way you can relate philosophy and religion because religion in society is unquestionable.
    2. I interpret the Eucharist as being sacred and I don't agree with Aristotle.
    3. I think he means that you shouldn't base all of your feelings and/or theories on things in books without going out and experiencing or analyzing the subject on your own behalf.
    4. We don't truly understand yet because its a different life form.
    6. The job of philosophy is to challenge ideas and norms in society.

  6. Section 8- Comments on DQs

    DQ 1- I believe that philosophy and religion relate to one another as rain relates to an umbrella. Philosophy, like rain, seems to cover so many more ways of thinking than does religion, and philosophy is not as space limiting as religion, like an umbrella, is. With that being said, I believe that they can coexist peacefully, if one does not extremely impose on the other one. I believe that they can learn from each other, but they may not necessarily mix too well.

    DQ 2- I interpret the Eucharist as a way to be symbolically closer to the Judeo-Christian God, if one believes in such a god. If a god is to exist, I would believe that he/she is uninterested in humans such as Aristotle does, so I believe that the Eucharist is illogical.

    DQ 3- I believe that to be tyrannized by books meant that those professors never had any ideas of their own. Those professors took the information given in those books seriously without questioning those books' true values. Books should be used as a template to open your mind to newer understandings; they shouldn't be the ending point to a topic.

    DQ 4- Just as anything we want to believe we deem true, I think we make the actions of both angels and Casper as selective as our own beliefs. Angels and Casper may be the results of wishful thinking. If you survive a disaster, angels may have aided you. If you don't survive, then, demons are blamed. Casper catches a ball then moves through a wall. I think it's all relative to what we believe that they can do at the time that makes the argument true or not. Logic goes out the window anyway when you are trying to give logical rules to imagined objects anyway.

    DQ 5- I think spiritual salvation and tranquility are both relative anyway. I believe that spiritual salvation is more relative than tranquility. One needs to be at peace with themselves and their own beliefs, hence tranquility. One can't go about constantly thinking that they need saved or obtain some form of salvation. I think that may dogmatically push one into a corner and may lessen what little free will one may have. Not everything in this world is a punishment or something that one needs salvation from. Though, depending on how you view spiritual tranquility and salvation, I think you can achieve both peace of mind as well as a place of redeeming thought inside yourself.

    DQ 6- I think my parents may have that outlook on being "almost ashamed of being in the body" because of their thoughts on Judeo-Christian sin. My parents' have thoughts that the body should be covered along with various beliefs on not what to do with it. I think they could get over this outlook by accepting the body for what it is. Humans have certain urges and bodily functions. We will never be completely pure or perfect. Instead of viewing it as shameful, just let things happen.

    DQ 7- I see the job of philosophy to be very similar to science. I see it as another mechanism to help us question the world around us and to better understand who we are as humans from a cognitive standpoint.

  7. Maddy Russell Section 10
    1 I think that philosophy and religion can coexist and are related to one another. They are related that they both are ways of thinking, but there are times when they can not exist together.
    2 I interrupt the Eucharist as being scared and I do not agree with Aristotle
    3 This means that the professors did not have any ideas of their own. Books should not be like this they should be used to create ideas, not the only source of ideas.
    4 I do not agree with Plotinus
    5 The job of philosophy is similar to the job of science. It is to find answers to big or small questions.

  8. Maddy Russell Section 10
    1 What did Bruno argue?
    2 What was the one reason Copernicanism escaped earlier censure?
    3 What did Copernicus publish in 1543?
    4 Other than religion what held Oresme and many like him back?
    5 What did Ockham's trouble with the Pope mainly concern?
    6 According to medieval consensus, how did science work?
    7 What was Aquinas' great synthesis?
    8 What did the Christian reconquest of Arab-occupied Spain allow?

  9. Section 8:
    1. What does the encyclopedia by Aulus Gellius illustrate?
    2. What did the texts by Greek intellectuals from the third century onward tend to be?
    3. Who was the most influential philosopher of the third century?
    4. Plotinus studied in Alexandria yet taught where?
    5. PLotinus' philosophy was unmoved by what?
    6. Aristotle said that everyone naturally desires to do what?
    7. In order to achieve blissful union with the One what must we abandon, according to Plotinus?
    8. How did the philosophy of Plotinus break down after his death?
    9. Who set up a school in Syria and later died around 330 AD?
    10. Iamblichus was interested in what collection of mystical writings?
    11. Who were they written by?
    12. What was theurgy?
    13. Iamblichus produced commentary on the dialogues of whom?
    14. What were the visions of the One replaced by?
    15. Who's axiom believed that 'the whole is greater then the part'?
    16. Teachings of Proclus played an important part in the development of what?
    17. Who was born in 354 AD in North Africa?
    18. What was described in 'Confessions'?
    19. Who was a Persian sage regarding himself as an apostle of God?
    20. How can Manicheanism be described; at least, what did it aim for?

  10. How should philosophy and religion relate to one another? Can they peacefully coexist?

    *How do you interpret the Eucharist? Do you agree with Aristotle? (364)
    It's just a symbolic ceremony, but I don't believe that it's the actual blood and bones of christ.(Guess we would be cannibals if it were true??) But I don't believe in any god so I don't agree with Aristotle either.

    *Gottlieb says the "real problem with medieval learning" was that professors "allowed themselves to be tyrannized by books." What do you think this means? What's the correct way to treat books?
    I guess he means that being bound by the book in a mental sense and taking everything in it as truth. In a way we should love books as they persever our thoughts, but never adhere to them like they are gods.

    *If angels did not have bodies, how could they be in contact with anything? (370) How could Caspar the Friendly ghost move through a wall AND catch a ball? (Dan Dennett: "Dennett was convinced that Descartes’ dualism — the idea that an immaterial mind interacts with a material body — was a “cul-de-sac”. To illustrate the dualist delusion, he makes an improbable reference to the cartoon character, Casper the Friendly Ghost, who could both walk through walls and catch a baseball with his ghostly hand. “There was a latent contradiction built into the very idea of Casper the Friendly Ghost and basically that’s what’s wrong with dualism. Nobody’s ever solved that problem remotely satisfactorily.”)
    Well if we go by the canon of the cartoon and the comic strip that started the series then any fan of the series would know that ghost are not tangible at all times, in fact they have a choice in the matter on what they can touch and when they are intangible.

    *Do you equally value spiritual salvation and tranquility, or do you consider one more important than the other? Can you achieve both?
    *I don't believe in spiritual salvation or tranquility. So No you can't achieve both.

    *Are you, or anyone you know, in agreement with Plotinus about being "almost ashamed of being in the body"? Why would anyone have such an attitude? How can they get over it?
    I don't I know that nowadays we contribute these feelings with mental disorders, like gender dysphasia.

    *What do you see as the job of philosophy?
    I believe that it is the job of philosophy to question everything that we deem common knowledge. It should be in our nature as philosophers to question everything deemed as fact, and try to learn from our questions.

    1. How should philosophy and religion relate to one another? Can they peacefully coexist?
      The ideas of both should always coincide because they balance each other. and they can totally peacefully coexist.

  11. Clayton Thomas (10)10:43 AM CDT

    DQ 3/14
    1. Philosophy and religion should relate to another in that they both pursue answers, answers to questions which aren't simply answered. Some turn to their religion and others turn to philosophizing about their troubling questions. I think the choice between the two comes down to which has been more reliable for that specific person, but I believe that they can peacefully coexist within some of us.

    2. I personally agree with Aristotle when it comes to the interpretation of the Eucharist in that it is a logical impossibility, simply because I have a hard time wrapping my head in believing that there is some all powerful being which is unseen yet controls all. Questioning and philosophizing about things comes much more naturally to me.

    3. It seems like what Gottlieb is trying to imply is that these professors were overly concerned with reading books and learning what the book has to say rather than just enjoying the book and spreading not only the knowledge of the book, but the insight into other things which the book may give. The books controlled their teachings rather than supplementing their teachings. Books should be used as a supplemental tool to further the idea of the professors teachings rather than be a repeat of what the professor is saying.

    4. In this contest, it seems like contact should be interpreted as more of an idea of linkage between two beings rather than physical contact between two things. When it comes to Descartes' dualism, I agree with Dennett that it is a cul-de-sac. You go down the round only to reach a point where all you can do is go in circles or leave the idea. Casper is a great example to illustrate this, you will go around in circles trying to argue how he can move through walls and catch a ball or you can accept that it can't be possible and exit the cruel circle of dualism.

    5. I value tranquility much more than I value spiritual salvation because I focus on my life now and living it for what makes me happy now. Trying to reach spiritual tranquility feels like a waste of time to me because it will only apply if you believe in some all powerful being and once your dead. Which no one can tell us for certain what happens after death so I choose to not focus on it. One could achieve both if they find the pursuit of spiritual salvation to be tranquil.

    6. I'm not sure how anyone I personally knows feels anout Plotinus's idea, but I can say that when it comes to myself I could get behind parts of his idea but not all of it. Sometimes living a human life does feel kind of degrading like we are prisoners in a larger scheme that none of us could possibly comprehend, but the idea that their is some higher power is just an idea is hard for me to get behind. People would have such an attitude in order to pursue a life seeking some sort of spiritual salvation. I think they could get over it by just living life and not be so worried about what that overall plan for this life is and just create a path for yourself to follow. Don't rely on some spiritual power to magically create some life path for you, just get out there and create it for yourself. When you follow someone else's path, it's much harder to find your way back.

    7. For me, the job of philosophy is to help me ponder the difficult questions that occur in life and how to go about finding solutions to them. Sometimes the answers come easier than others, but sometimes it requires digging deep inside yourself and who you really are as a person in order to discover these answers and apply them in my life.

  12. Clayton Thomas (10)10:44 AM CDT

    Alternate Quiz Questions 3/14:
    1. What questions of natural philosophy did many of the teachers of theology deal with?

    2. In 1210, teachers at the university if Paris were banned from lecturing on who's scientific works? Why?

    3. Some influential early Christians maintained that the only important thing to know about the world was what?

    4. The crowning achievement of St. Thomas Aquinas was what?

    5. Summa Theologiae was a synthesis of what two things?

    6.In the universities, the practice of reconciling authorities evolved into what?

  13. 10-D.Q. Responses

    1.) philosophy and religion relate to one another on the bases of creation, "how we came to be" as well as the meaning of lie and how to properly live. Philosophy and religion can peacefully coexist by one not undermining the other, rather than checking for accreditation.

    3.) I understand this as professors and their teachings being strictly confined by books.That their teachings would be strictly molded by books themselves rather than their teachings being molded by what they obtained from them. In a since the were fixed solely on information of books alone and used them as a guide line, which becomes problematic in forming new ideas. Books should be used as a source of knowledge that you can attempt to defeat their purpose, obtain info. , and form new ideals. They should be used as a tool for learning and teaching rather than a rubric for the two

    4.) Angels are not truly in contact with anything. they are a presence that isn't confined to physical world as we are. In the cartoon, Casper the Friendly Ghost, going through walls shows not actually coming into contact with a wall, and the fact that Casper can walk through a wall but catch a physical ball is nothing more than a cartoon illustration.

    5.) I believe spiritual salvation is higher than tranquility, based on fact that one is spiritual and the other is physical attribute. I also believe they go hand and hand, and can be achieved together and often are.

    7.) I see the job of philosophy to challenge everyday conventional thinking. To sprout new ideas and ideals along with them.

  14. #10
    1. I do not believe philosophy and religion can peacefully coexist because religion is all about tradition and philosophy is constantly finding new ways to question tradition itself.

    3. Medieval professors did not allow themselves to question the very texts they read. In other words, they took everything they read as the truth. What one should really do is fact check even the most reputable source. Just because its in a book doesn't mean its always correct.

    5. Spiritual salvation and tranquility, in my opinion, can be simultaneously achieved only at certain times. For Christians, spiritual salvation comes through faith in God, which in the physical form, it can be hard to see the fruits of your labor at times. However, by trusting in God and sticking through it, one can achieve tranquility while keeping spiritual salvation.

    6. I am not ashamed of my body nor have I met anyone who felt the same way. We were created in God's image and we should learn to praise him through our bodies.

    7. The job of Philosophy is to question everything we know and everything we don't know.


    1. alternate Quiz questions:

      1) The philosophy of Plotinus is suffused with an intoxicated desire to express what?

      2) Who was Mani and what did he regard himself as?

      3) What wasn't Manicheanism, and did it aim for?

  15. DQ
    section 10

    1. You can philosophize about what religion is and how it affects people. It would be wrong though to try to use philosophy to support certain beliefs though when there is no proof for them.

    3. Books are good way to get a information from other people. But it is important to know when you're reading a book if its nonfiction or fictional, in which the author is just story telling.

    4. I don't believe in ghosts so to answer that question, if something does not exist it can't catch anything.

    6. The people that I have met that are ashamed of being in their bodies have problems with insecurity, not necessarily for spiritual reasons.

    7. I think the job of philosophy should be to get at the important questions, and to find ways to explain things that can be difficult to explain.

  16. Section 10
    1. I believe that philosophy and religion relate to each other in the fact that they are both belief systems and ways of thinking, so that is how they can coexist.

    3. I think this means that sometimes we focus entirely too much on only reading learning what is in books and not venturing out to learn anything else. I think books are great, I love them, but at the same time we should be able to come up with our own opinions and learn things in different ways.

    4. I think angels and ghosts are all about a spiritual connection. If you don't have body you obviously can't catch a ball and Caspar the friendly ghost is just a children's cartoon, but again for some people it's all about a spiritual connection.

    5. To me spiritual evaluation is more important than tranquility. I definitely think that they can go together and are related, but I value spiritual salvation more.

    6. No, neither I or anyone I know is in agreement with him. It's different for everyone and I'm not saying it's wrong for someone to feel that way, but it's not something that I agree with.

    7. The job is philosophy is to ask questions, think outside of the box, and dig deeper.

  17. #10

    1) Philosophy and Religion relate to one another in a way that they both try to explain how the world come to be and how life started. Both also try to explain the things that are not tangible like the soul or happiness or love. I believe both can co-exist if people in that doctrine can be open to listen and respect the ideas of the other.

    3) The medieval philosophers stopped questioning what they read in book. They just accepted what was written. They should have treated the books as a guide but, they should have still questioned and tried to proved what they read is true before completely accepting them.

    7) I job of philosophy is to make us question what we believe so that we can find a way to evolve and find a way to make life better. Philosophy should be like the parent who never feel satisfied with their children's achievements so always pushes them to do more.

  18. 250+ essay Carlos Landeros - section 9

    I mostly agree with Augustine's approach to free will. I do believe we all have free will to make our own decisions based on our reasoning. As a consequence, all of our actions have reactions. Everything we do has a consequence. Nothing that happens to us is predestined. Our lives are what we make of them and not a design of god. This is the reason behind all of the man made atrocities in history. Humans have always had the power to inflict suffering on our own. All that suffering is a repercussion of allowing free will.
    Where I disagree with Augustine's approach is that I do not believe evil actions are a result of Adam and Eve's Choices. Like I said before, there are no supernatural powers controlling what we do or what happens to us. All evil decisions and actions originate from individuals and not misguided figures from the bible.
    Human free will cannot be reconciled with divine omniscience. If there is a god, he gave us free will to fabricate our own lives. There is no way god can know everything if we have free will. If free will is real, then god trusted us to make our own decisions. Predestined fates would just mean god damned people to hell without allowing them a chance for salvation. If that is what god really is, then I am not looking forward to meeting him. But given the possibility of predestined fates, I still believe god gave us a chance to find salvation. It is impossible for a divinity that is supposed to love all his children to damn them to hell without offering an opportunity for repentance.

  19. 10- post on Augustine's free will approach

    I do not fully agree to Augustine’s approach to free will. Mainly on page 395 Augustine talks of man being nothing, knowing nothing, and could do nothing without the help of God. I see this to be a half truth and actual agree to late Christian thinkers’ “watered down” approach to Augustine’s extreme view of man’s ability and will. That early Christian thinkers said that man had the ability to come to know a few things on his own, in contrast to Augustine’s view of man only knowing what God wants them to know. That God illuminates His truth inside the minds of his creatures, and that we should look into our minds to see the truths that God has left for us. I do believe the main message of Christianity that, according to Augustine, was that man does need a great deal of help from God, but in the sense of knowing Him, seeking Him, and learning His word, not in the sense Augustine puts it that man needs God’s help for every general aspect in life. I also side with St. Thomas Aquinas’s approach, during the thirteenth century, of contrasting the truths that can be obtained by man’s common approach to reason with those that can be known only through divine relation. In a sense, man can obtain religious truths of Christianity through teachings of God and seeking Him. This approach greatly contrasts with Augustine’s view of every important piece of knowledge obtained by man was a result of a divine illumination in which God shown into the Christian minds.

  20. I do not believe that we can even understand the idea of perfection. Almost everybody can agree that it is impossible to achieve perfection. No one is perfect. If we were able to picture or imagine perfection in our head, it must mean that there is the ability for us to achieve it. Perfection is entirely subjective. One person's view of a perfect world can differ greatly from another's. We can only imagine what perfection would be like in our perspective, but there is no way to even visualize what absolute perfection would be like. Ideal would be a better term for what we can conceive in our minds. It is like imagining a 4D object. Our brains understand what 4D means conceptually, but we will never be able to experience it in the world or even in our mind. Human's are not capable of imagining perfection as much as are we incapable of achieving it. Life is trial and error most of the time, therefore the likely hood of ever achieving close to perfection is diminished greatly.

    The universe is based off imperfection and mistakes, just look at natural selection. The world operates on chaos and imperfection, perfection is just merely a human's concept. We as people become fixated on the idea of achieving perfection and figuring out how to be better than others. These ideologies motivate people a significant amount and without the mentality of reaching perfection, perhaps people would be less motivated and willing to work hard. Thus, it can be inferred that perfection is a social construct created to give people a purpose or motivate them to achieve a goal.

  21. 10
    Perfection is something that you hear about a lot, something that many people strive for. You might hear someone say that they are a “perfectionist” or you may have heard the saying “practice makes perfect,” but what exactly does it mean to be perfect? The official definition of perfection is that it is the “condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.” I think that perfection is different for every single person. Everyone is different and everyone has different views and morals. Their views are based on their upbringing and it’s natural for everyone to have different opinions of life and how it should work. So, what is perfect to one person might not be perfect to another. A flaw to one person may be a wonderful attribute to another person. Because of all this, I think that I could have an idea of perfection, but that it won’t be total complete perfection because perfection is different to every person. I think it’s kind of wonderful that there can be so many different versions of perfection. It just shows how diverse our world is and how people and their opinions of perfection are actually quite different all over the world. The idea that everyone has a different idea of perfection shows that there isn’t just one version of it, so you really can’t say that one thing is universally perfect. Factors that make something perfect are different all over the world.

  22. Matthew Vanlandingham12:10 AM CDT

    I don’t believe that is possible for anybody to truly conceive an idea of perfection. It is necessary to be able to see that a person is 100% perfect before there can be a complete idea behind it. We can define perfection as having zero error, however, it is (as of right now) impossible to be truly perfect. Humans will always have some kind of error associated with them. We see it all the time in sports. Even the professionals make errors that can cost them the game/ match. There will always be some form of human error. Since we can’t necessarily see a person be 100% perfect, we have no idea what a perfect person would be like, therefore the idea of perfection can’t exist. Even with the most practice in the world, a single slip of concentration can prove mankind to not be able to achieve perfection. If we are unable to achieve it, then how are we supposed to be able to imagine it? There are certain things that human minds aren’t capable of comprehending, and I know that I’m not capable of comprehending complete perfection. Somebody that has zero mental flaws, zero physical flaws, and never make a mistake. Something like that is truly mind boggling. It doesn’t necessarily prove anything about the universe. I just believe that it is just the way humans were created. We started out from a time that life was simple. As time progressed, technology and mental capabilities rose up. The room for human error grows more and more as technology progresses. That’s why we are building self-learning AI software so the room for human error doesn’t exist except for making the software.