An English In Kentucky


















Wednesday December 26th 2012    Tim Candler

    I'll argue this.  Pythagoras of Samos saw mathematics as a meaning in consciousness.  But if I say this, I have to have an idea of how Pythagoras might have used words to define consciousness.   "Go all Heidegger on his ass," as the existentialists might put it.  Which is not an easy thing to do, because most of everything known about Pythagoras' thinking is written and said by others.  So the result of my own definitions of his meanings, will more likely be suspect, and it will remain suspect in my mind.  However this prospect doesn't usually stop me from leaping off the cliff, where I fall, and while I fall I am aware that sooner or later I will crash on the rocks that traditionally lie at the bottom of a cliff.  Which, when it happens to me is a sound no one might hear.  Nor is this preoccupation unique to me.  Pythagoras would have felt it too, which is why there are reports about him which suggest that the sect he fathered was primarily a secret one, that required initiation, which is the equivalent to agreeing to hold hands and leap off the cliff together. A sound that at least someone else will hear.  Pythagoreans ultimately  lost ground to  the political class, the sect's  meeting places burned, their reputation sullied, and Pythagoras forced to flee.

     Aristotle claims this of Pythagoreans, "they fancied the principles of mathematics were the principles of all things."  And as I see it Pythagoras'  idea of "all things" was a relationship between the infinite, or "the boundless" and the finite, or "the limited."  It was "limit" that permitted "the boundless" to take form.  The process was a "breathing in" by "the limited" of "the boundless."  And how this happened could be understood through mathematics, or "the thing that fills void."  The Higgs Boson of 500BC. There'll be debate of course, but here I'd argue that the work Pythagoreans gave to musical harmony, where mathematics can be applied to a sound that is "pleasing," as against a sound that is less "pleasing," suggests they saw in our ability as people to know "pleasing" a combining of "the boundless" and the "the limited."  A something which if it were unallied to "pleasing" is a something I'd like to call "life."   As well,  it's claimed Pythagoras could  "...wander through the ether like a bird" in the way that Shamans and those close to death have claimed, and still claim to be able to.   There is also a suggestion from several sources that Pythagoras had a golden thigh bone.  And I guess there are times when a great idea as it approaches the rocks inclines toward chicanery in the interest of its furtherance.   Which is why in my defining of Pythagorean consciousness I will include the word "levitation," which is so much nicer than variations of the word "witch."

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