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The Philosopher: Anaxagoras
Around the year 500 BC the philosopher Anaxagoras, born in Anatolia, established himself in Athens and opened a school.
At his time, he was a terrific scientist and cosmologist, as he stated that: "It is the Sun that endows the Moon with its brightness." And also: "The Moon is eclipsed when the Earth goes in front of it . . . and the Sun is eclipsed when the Moon goes in front of it." Besides, he asserted that the Sun is an incandescent rock and the Moon is made of earth.
Inevitably, he was tried for charges of impiety, as at that time both the Sun and the Moon were considered to be gods. Fortunately, the tribunal did not go so far as to condemn him to death, but he had a hard time.
As he was so clever and accurate in his cosmology could we say that he was correct also in other aspects of his philosophy? He postulated that a universal Mind was forming the universe and he called this mind "nous." This Greek word can also be translated as "Consciousness." He also said that this universal Intelligent Consciousness, or Creative Mind, would participate in "mixing together" or "separating things."
Now, this is interesting and I quote what Anaxagoras assumed: "The Greeks have an incorrect belief on 'coming into being' and 'passing away.' No human comes into being or passes away, but it is mixed together or separated from existing things. Thus they would be correct if they called the coming into being 'mixing', and passing away 'separation-from'."
In my interpretation, I understand that he meant: to be born is a 'mixing', and to die is a 'separation-from'. What is it that gets 'mixed' or 'separated'? We could say more precisely that: No human is born or dies, but the Creative Mind get mixed with matter, or gets separated from matter.
This concept makes us think that we really are "nous," Intelligent Consciousness, both when we are 'mixed up with matter' and when we are free or 'separated.'
What is your opinion? Here we deal with a very ancient idea expressed by a philosopher who was right in his cosmological assumptions. Was he correct also in his concept of Life and Death? Are we Eternal Nous? Think about it! Please email me.
Next week I will present some of the responses that I have received from readers about this series of articles, 'The Philosopher.'