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zoas23
09-02-2015, 04:32 PM
Hi... !

I was writing something about Martinism and the weird way in which Pasqually uses the Four Causes of Aristotle, reading them from a Platonic point of view (which, by the way, would be unacceptable by Aristotle).

The four causes of Aristotle could be resumed as:

1) FIRST CAUSE: The material cause: “that out of which”, e.g., the bronze of a statue.
2) SECOND CAUSE: The formal cause: “the form”, “the account of what-it-is-to-be”, e.g., the shape of a statue.
3)THIRD CAUSE: The efficient cause: “the primary source of the change or rest”, e.g., the artisan, the art of bronze-casting the statue, the man who gives advice, the father of the child.
4) FOURTH CAUSE: The final cause: “the end, that for the sake of which a thing is done”, e.g., health is the end of walking, losing weight, purging, drugs, and surgical tools.

_________________

A second definition of the Four Causes of Aristotle:

1. Material cause = "that out of which" = marble, wood, etc. Now "matter" (= hyle) is only an analytic concept, that is, a way of talking. You never see simple "matter"; it is only a way of talking about a thing that must go along with its partner, "form." You only ever see real things, that is, things that are, for Aristotle, matter that has
already been formed, by natural or artificial means. For instance, the wood of the table was naturally formed as a tree, then artificially formed by the succession of workers who worked on it, under the direction of the "architect" who made the blueprint of the table.

2. Formal cause = the "look" (= eidos) of the thing as it is meant to be. When realized in matter, this form will be the same as the idea in the mind of the architect.

3. Efficient cause = "that from which" = the mental vision of the architect prior to any actual work.

4. Final cause = "that for the sake of which" (= telos), the final, finished product in its complete and perfect state. Only because it is the completed state is this the "goal" of the process in any sense of subjective aim.

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Well, I was reading Pasqually and his weird use of the four causes... and I thought of other neo-platonic thinker who were anti-aristotelic and used a "modified" version of the four causes (Plotinus and Porphyry, of course)... and much later Giordano Bruno.

And in a dialogue by Bruno I found something interesting (On Cause Principle and Unity):

DICSONO: Anyone who reasons well will clearly see that it is impossible
for the former continually to make everything, without there being something
which can become everything. How can the world soul (I mean, all
form), which is indivisible, act as shaper, without the substratum of dimensions
or quantities, which is matter? And how can matter be shaped?
Perhaps by itself? It seems we can say that matter is shaped by itself, if
we want to consider as matter the universal formed body and call it
‘matter’, just as we would call a living thing with all its faculties ‘matter’,
distinguishing it, not by the form, but only by the efficient cause.

TEOFILO: No one can keep you from using the term ‘matter’ as you
wish, just as the same term covers different meanings in various schools.
But I know that your way of considering it is only apt for a technician or
physician strictly within his practice, for example that physician who
reduced the universal body to mercury, salt and sulfur, a thesis that reveals
the stupidity of his desire to be called philosopher more than some divine
talent for medicine [reference to Paracelsus]. The aim of philosophy is not simply to arrive at the distinction of principles which is realized physically by the separation
which results from the power of fire, but also to arrive at that distinction of
principles to which no material agent can, since the soul, which is inseparable
from sulphur, mercury and salt, is a formal principle; that principle is
not susceptible to material qualities, but totally dominates matter and is not
touched by the experiments of the alchemists, whose divisions are limited
to the three aforesaid elements, and who recognize another kind of soul,
apart from this world soul, which we must define here.

_________________________________

The opinion of Bruno was that alchemy confuses takes the Second Cause as if it was the First Cause and that this is a mistake... or, at least, that Alchemy can only investigate up to the Second Cause, but remains ignorant of the First Cause (God, in Bruno's ways of reforming the theory of Aristotle).

What do you think?

Ghislain
09-02-2015, 09:33 PM
Does the imagination include the first cause?

Do dreams consist of matter?

Ghislain

Michael Sternbach
09-03-2015, 03:12 AM
It is little known that Bruno took a vivid interest in Alchemy which he was seeking to reform based on his metaphysical system. Most notably, he was in contact with the Swiss Rosicrucians and Paracelsists Raphael Egli and Johann Heinrich Hainzel, for which he held lectures on Aristotelian terminology.

https://ia801501.us.archive.org/26/items/GiordanoBrunoAndTheRosicrucians/GiordanoBrunoAndTheRosicrucians.pdf

zoas23
09-03-2015, 05:22 AM
It is little known that Bruno took a vivid interest in Alchemy which he was seeking to reform based on his metaphysical system. Most notably, he was in contact with the Swiss Rosicrucians and Paracelsists Raphael Egli and Johann Heinrich Hainzel, for which he held lectures on Aristotelian terminology.

https://ia801501.us.archive.org/26/items/GiordanoBrunoAndTheRosicrucians/GiordanoBrunoAndTheRosicrucians.pdf

Thank you very much. This is incredibly valuable to me.
I need more English words to express gratitude.
I will need to read a lot, for which I thank you.

Andro
09-03-2015, 06:44 AM
another kind of soul, apart from this world soul, which we must define here.Another indeed.

Define we must, doubt we can.

Try we shall.
_______________________

Quoting myself from HERE (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?4496-Playing-God&p=39045#post39045):


This Code-Less Essence does NOT originate from the 'Source Code'.

Michael Sternbach
09-03-2015, 10:30 AM
Thank you very much. This is incredibly valuable to me.
I need more English words to express gratitude.
I will need to read a lot, for which I thank you.

No problem, I get the idea, you are very welcome. I felt similarly delighted when, about 20 years ago, I came across this informative article:

G. Schmidlin, Giordano Bruno im Kreis der Zürcher Alchemisten und Paracelsisten, Peter Lang Bern 1994, Nova Acta Paracelsica, Neue Folge 8, S. 57-86.

It would be very interesting, of course, to study Egli's edition of Bruno's Aristotelian lectures to the Swiss Alchemists, the Summa terminorum metaphysicorum. It is available as pdf download here:

http://www.e-rara.ch/doi/10.3931/e-rara-1915

I don’t know of any translation into a modern language, however.

Let me know if you find anything noteworthy, please.

Talking about Aristotelianism vs. Platonism, the alleged dichotomy separating them has always been exaggerated, in my opinion. Elements from both peacefully co-exist throughout all brands of European occultism - even, as we have seen, in Bruno's writings.

Ghislain
09-03-2015, 03:56 PM
Are the causes in no particular order?

For if they are then would Cause 3 not be Cause 1?

Ghislain

Edit: sorry got it...Cause 1 is the matter that is before mind has worked on it.

zoas23
09-03-2015, 05:11 PM
No problem, I get the idea, you are very welcome. I felt similarly delighted when, about 20 years ago, I came across this informative article:

G. Schmidlin, Giordano Bruno im Kreis der Zürcher Alchemisten und Paracelsisten, Peter Lang Bern 1994, Nova Acta Paracelsica, Neue Folge 8, S. 57-86.

It would be very interesting, of course, to study Egli's edition of Bruno's Aristotelian lectures to the Swiss Alchemists, the Summa terminorum metaphysicorum. It is available as pdf download here:

http://www.e-rara.ch/doi/10.3931/e-rara-1915

I don’t know of any translation into a modern language, however.

Let me know if you find anything noteworthy, please.

Talking about Aristotelianism vs. Platonism, the alleged dichotomy separating them has always been exaggerated, in my opinion. Elements from both peacefully co-exist throughout all brands of European occultism - even, as we have seen, in Bruno's writings.

Thank you so much for this book!!!!!

My Latin is rusty (it used to be excellent when I was in high school), but I will be taking Latin lessons again. This book does interest me a lot, after a few classes of "refreshing" a few things I'll read it.

Aristotelianism vs Platonism is one of my biggest passions. Specially in the early and late neo-platonic philosophy. To be honest the "occult" has a lot of "platonized-aristotelianism".... or a type of Aristotelianism that would be unacceptable to Aristotle (I would even call it a "willed" misreading of his ideas). A lot of philosophers used his "tools", but only after a re-definition of them and also rejected his philosophy (There is a proverb that translated to English would be more or less like: "I hate the chicken, but I need the eggs"). i.e, the "platonized aristotelianism" was specially used in some theories of language (Llull, Kircher, Leibniz).

I wrote a somehow surreal text about it whilst commenting a work of art by a friend:
http://salonarcano.com.ar/contenidos/literatura/english/ensayo/richker/index.htm

(It's not an "academic" essay at all... and it contains a lot of "tongue in cheek" humor, but it is still on the subject).


Are the causes in no particular order?

For if they are then would Cause 3 not be Cause 1?

Ghislain

Edit: sorry got it...Cause 1 is the matter that is before mind has worked on it.

The ones I posted are the definitions of Aristotle himself.

The definitions that Bruno used are not the definitions that Aristotle was using, he "adapted them". I.e, for Bruno the First Cause is God, whilst the Second Cause is the Demiurge (though his view of the Demiurge was quite "positive" or "optimistic" and follows the ideas of Plotinus when he wrote his Ennead "against the Gnostics", in which he criticized the "evil" perception of the Demiurge).

____________________________

Other examples of the 4 Causes being used in a Platonic context -

Porphyry:

14: None of the hypostases [SECOND CAUSES] which rank as wholes, and are perfect, is converted to its own progeny [FIRST CAUSE]; but all perfect hypostases are elevated to their generators as far as to the mundane body (or the body of the world). For this body, being perfect, is elevated to its soul, which is intellectual: and on this account it is moved in a circle. But the soul of this body is elevated to intellect; and intellect to the first principle [FIRST CAUSE] of all things. All beings, therefore, proceed to this principle as much as possible, beginning from the last of things. The elevation, however, to that which is first, is either proximate or remote. Hence, these natures may not only be said to aspire after the highest God [FIRST CAUSE], but also to enjoy him to the utmost of their power. But in partial hypostases [SECOND CAUSES], and which are able to verge to many things, there is also a desire of being converted to their progeny. Hence, likewise, in these there is error, in these there is reprehensible incredulity. These, therefore, matter injures, because they are capable of being converted to it, being at the same time able to be converted to divinity. Hence, perfection gives subsistence to secondary from primary natures, preserving them converted to the first of things; but imperfection converts primary to posterior natures, and causes them to love the beings which have departed from Divinity prior to themselves."
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/porphyry_sententiae_02_trans.htm

_______________________

Pasqually follows the theory of Porphyry mostly:
http://www.martinismeoperatifquebec.org/treatiseofreintegration.pdf

http://s8.postimg.org/9z1oalpk5/Captura_de_pantalla_2015_09_03_a_las_14_13_59.png (Page 2)

I.e, the "fall" is the consequence of the action of the Second Causes (emanated beings) that wanted to be the First Cause (God) and create Third and Fourth causes (the Universe)

Something interesting is that Pasqually, just like Bruno, links Sulphur, MErcury and Salt to the Second Cause:

http://s8.postimg.org/k7u5gfdlx/Captura_de_pantalla_2015_09_03_a_las_14_18_24.png

http://s8.postimg.org/4xpovhspx/Captura_de_pantalla_2015_09_03_a_las_14_18_42.png (Page 31 and 32)

Please note that Pasqually is quite "weird" in the context of the Hermetic Tradition and he mostly created a whole terminology of his own.

But he perceived Salt, Mercury and Sulphur as being related to a Second Cause that whilst it has an origin in the First Cause (God) can't reach it in a direct way.

In this sense Pasqually and Bruno are almost identical (in other senses they are very different... Bruno was more or less "optimistic" about the material world, Pasqually perceived it in quite a negative way).

I think it is interesting to see how different philosophers thought about the three principles and the four causes.

I also agree with Androgynus when he said that we need to define "God", the First Cause, the Second Cause, etc... it is hard, because the definition of Aristotle is different from the definition of Porphyry, which is different from the definition of Bruno.... which is different from the definition of Pasqually.

These issues are fascinating to me... I do not know if they lead anywhere, except to thinking.... but thinking is still a good activity. Thanks a lot to those who tolerate or even enjoy these kind of questions and ideas.

Michael Sternbach
09-04-2015, 03:32 AM
Thank you so much for this book!!!!!

My Latin is rusty (it used to be excellent when I was in high school), but I will be taking Latin lessons again. This book does interest me a lot, after a few classes of "refreshing" a few things I'll read it.

Again, I'm glad to be of assistance. The Nolan has been a keen interest of mine for a long time, and so has Alchemy. My Latin sucks in this lifetime, but I look forward to hear about your findings.


Aristotelianism vs Platonism is one of my biggest passions. Specially in the early and late neo-platonic philosophy. To be honest the "occult" has a lot of "platonized-aristotelianism".... or a type of Aristotelianism that would be unacceptable to Aristotle (I would even call it a "willed" misreading of his ideas). A lot of philosophers used his "tools", but only after a re-definition of them and also rejected his philosophy (There is a proverb that translated to English would be more or less like: "I hate the chicken, but I need the eggs"). i.e, the "platonized aristotelianism" was specially used in some theories of language (Llull, Kircher, Leibniz).

What you consider a misreading of Aristotelianism, I think of as a fruitful synthesis of it with Platonism - two faces of the one reality. And after all, Aristotle was Plato's student.

zoas23
09-04-2015, 07:22 PM
Again, I'm glad to be of assistance. The Nolan has been a keen interest of mine for a long time, and so has Alchemy. My Latin sucks in this lifetime, but I look forward to hear about your findings.

My friend, Latin is VERY different from the "modern languages". If you take Latin lessons once a week or 90 minutes, in 2 years you can be perfectly able to read ANY text in Latin (lack of practice for many years will make you forget a lot of things though). Latin is probably the easiest language to learn (as opposed to the "sons" of Latin -Italian, French, Spanish... all of them are kinda tricky to learn and in two years you will be just a person who can only have a very basic conversation).
Latin is extremely regular and "mathematical"... no other language is as easy as Latin (no surprise that for a lot of centuries it was the "lingua franca" of the erudites... it is because it's easy).



What you consider a misreading of Aristotelianism, I think of as a fruitful synthesis of it with Platonism - two faces of the one reality. And after all, Aristotle was Plato's student.

A short reply:
There wasn't a "misreading" of Aristotle, that's for sure... it was a metaphor I used.
Aristotle has been used by a lot of neo-platonic philosophers who were openly REJECTING his ideas, but still using his tools. None of them was "naive" and they knew that they were taking Aristotle to lands that he rejected (i.e, each time Bruno mentions Aristotle, he uses the worst words to describe him and uses adjectives which are similar to "asshole", "motherfucker", etc.... Well, Bruno was specially bad-mouthed. However it is obvious that he was ALSO using his "tools" in a modified version. The proverb of "I hate the chicken, but I need her eggs" is perfect to describe the situation).

Some others were a bit more kind with Aristotle (Pico della Mirandola would be an example, even if his use of Aristotle was VERY Platonic and Aristotle would have spit on his face if he had seen what he was doing with his ideas).

My plan is to re-learn Latin in the very near-future... and get my hands on this book after "refreshing" my Latin. Some comments about it are promised, but it's going to take a while (My Latin was perfect when I was 18... I am 39 and I forgot a lot).