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According to Aristotle, the goal of anyone who is not simply stupid or slavish is to live a worthwhile life.1 There are, no doubt, people who have no goal at all beyond the moment’s pleasure or release from pain. There may be people incapable of reaching any reasoned decision about what to do, and acting on it.2 But anyone who asks how she should live implicitly agrees that her goal is to live well, to live a life that she can think worth living. That goal, eudaimonia, is something that is sought for its own sake, and for nothing else. Anyone who asks herself how she should live can answer that she should live well. The answer, admittedly, needs further comment. Aristotle went on to suggest that ‘living well’ amounted to living in accordance with virtue, or if there is more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete. Eudaimonia, happiness, is virtuous activity over a whole life. To live a worthwhile life we must acquire and practice habits of doing the right thing, for the right reason. Equivalently, we must do what a virtuous person would, and in the way she would, for the sake of to kalon, or beauty.
This paper explores Platonic and Aristotelian thought on multiplicity, forms, and matter, and considers the relationship between Abrahamic and pagan understandings of the order of divine creation.
Philosophical pagans in late antiquity charged Christians with believing ‘without evidence’, but were themselves accused of arbitrariness in their initial choice of philosophical school. Stoics and Platonists in particular adopted a form of cosmic religion that Christians criticized on rationalistic as well as sectarian grounds. The other charge levelled against Christians was that they had abandoned ancestral creeds in arrogant disregard of an earlier consensus, and of the world as pagans themselves conceived it. A clearer understanding of the dispute can be gained from a comparison of Heracles and Christ as divinized ‘sons of God’. The hope on both sides was that we might become, or somehow join with, God. Both sought an escape from the image of a pointless, heartless universe – an image that even moderns find difficult to accept and live by. The notion that pagans and Christians had of God, and of the divine life we might hope to share, was almost identical – up to the point, at least, where both philosophical and common pagans conceived God as Pheidias had depicted him (the crowned Master), and Christians rather as the Crucified, ‘risen against the world’.
The striped pine scale, Toumeyella pini (King), had three generations per year in south Georgia. Females developed on snoots and males developed on needles of loblolly pine, Pinus taeda L. Generations overlapped and crawlers were most abundant in May, mid-July to early August, and late October to early November. The average fecundity was 1865 crawlers per female. Parasitism averaged ca. 15%, but the predation rate reached 50%. Coccophagus lycimnia Walker (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) was the most common parasitoid reared from both males and females. A pyralid larva, Laetitia coccidivora (Comstock), was a frequent predator of females.
Consistent materialists are almost bound to suggest that ‘conscious experience’, if it exists at all, is no more than epiphenomenal. A correct understanding of the real requires that everything we do and say is no more than a product of whatever processes are best described by physics, without any privileged place, person, time or scale of action. Consciousness is a myth, or at least a figment. Plotinus was no materialist: for him, it is Soul and Intellect that are more real than the phenomena we misdescribe as material. Nor does he suppose that consciousness depends on language (as Stoics and modern materialists have sometimes said): wordless experience is actually superior. And much of what counts towards our present consciousness is to be discarded. It is better not to remember most of what now seems more significant to us; better to discard images; better that the intellect be ‘drunk’ than ‘sober’, losing any sense of separation between subject and object. The goal of the Plotinian intellectual is to join ‘the dance of immortal love’, but it is a mark of the good dancer that she is not conscious of what she does. There is therefore a strange confluence between Plotinus and modern materialists: our experience at least is transitory, deceitful, epiphenomenal, and ‘reality’ is to be encountered when we have shed our illusions.