The prime fat was not cleansed.
The Fou is boiled;
The result: vomiting black poison;
The sickness is attained.
Does the imbalance of a male dominated culture threaten the health of our children and the generations to follow? Galileo said that science can only improve. Is this necessarily true?
The Recessive force, empty, stays in the active force,
Entangled; it is outside the element,
But together with it, like a pan and its lid.
There does not seem to be the type of linearity among the philosophers whose works we read that would have the latest supersede all the preceding. We are in the habit of thinking that, in science, the more modern the scientist is, the more information that is available to him and, therefore, the more correct his explanation of the world will be. I have been very impressed by the experiences I have had of changing perspectives in order to see just how correct an ancient philosopher, such as Aristotle, could seem. It seems correct in the sense that it is entirely reasonable from the focal perspective of an individual with some logical deductions about the rest of the universe. Some of those deductions have been disproved by experiments and observations. What seems to separate Galileo from his predecessors is that he had a telescope. His style of writing was similar to Plato and his reasoning not unlike Aristotle. Ptolemy alludes to some observations that were aided by instruments which improved their accuracy. However, the telescope seems to be an invention of a higher order. Galileo had a reverence for instruments which none of the other philosophers seemed to have. Even human skill is given an almost equal status with pure philosophy for a change. The printing press is also praised as the importance of freely sharing ideas is stressed.
The abyss, the lake, the sea:
Wrapped round without direction.
I am tempted to say that science does not necessarily improve, but that technology does. But that could also be conditional according to the culture that invents it. Many ingenious designs have been lost and it is obvious that our modern technology does not benefit everyone. The idea that technology and technique represent the highest achievement of man seems to have been gradually introduced into Western philosophy with Galileo. Galileo holds mathematical reasoning higher but today, as I sit here at my micro-processor, mathematical reasoning is the most valued skill for working with technology.
Great is the scheme;
The body's Self being burnished.
I think that it could be beneficial for us to consider Plato's view of the world as a conscious being and the anthropomorphizing of complexity in order to better understand it. Was it worth losing our relationships with the Gods in order to have this mechanistic view of the world? To explore this question one has to weigh the benefits of each. How do we benefit from a mechanistic view of the world? If we understand it as a machine we may be able to manipulate it like a machine. All good things then would come from ours skills in controlling our environment. In order to best understand the workings of this machine we have to define the essential components as simply as possible and in a way that can continue to develop after we are gone so that others can build on what we know and make the necessary "improvements" in the system. This is how we are to insure the survival of the human race and at the same time improve our quality of life so that there can be more leisure time for thinking about the practical problems of the world or for stimulating recreation such as music or pure philosophy. (Maybe this case is a little exaggerated.)
Great is not Great;
By means of advantage, greatness is achieved.
On the other hand, we see our world as a conscious being whose intelligence far surpasses what we are capable of understanding. The stars are celestial beings who are eternally acting in ways that are a constant influence on us. They love us and, by their grace, we may benefit from them by trying to be more like them. Their movements are perfectly ordered according to number and we, as eternal souls, will each go to our own star when we leave our mortal frames. The entire system seems to be created for us and our ultimate perfection. For us to understand nature in her various forms as each having a soul and intelligence is to allow each part of nature the same complexity that we possess. If the world is so complex as to contain us, then why should it not have much more intelligence than each of us have. Nature is the Great Nurse that provides us all our needs and only needs our love in return. This second perspective could be seen as a more feminine view.
Great is the door into the wilderness
Not being plowed. The cries of birds in the emptiness.
I have presented these two perspectives in a rather biased way mainly because I believe, as a culture, we have completely bought in to the mechanistic view without considering the consequences. Can we have both perspectives? I think so if we can keep from seeing them as mutually exclusive. That takes discipline and an open mind but it may not be useful for solving our material problems but could help our quality of life in a non-material sense. Why be so preoccupied with survival if life is not worth living?