Friday, April 11, 2008

Carthage (1)

Chapter Twelve. LIFE IN CARTHAGE

Eventually I returned to the Stoa, and sat-in on lectures given
at the other schools, trying to understand better the various
concepts of both Providence and the Pneuma. As best as I
could determine, Providence was just another term or aspect
for the Logos (Cosmic Reason). As for the Pneuma, it was
the Spirit of the Logos that flows through all things and helps
evolve the world and all of life. Again a synopsis of these
teachings come my way.

• The Logos Teaching in the Pythogorean and Platonic
Schools was as follows: the Logos is not the First Cause...rather
the Logos represents the first level of real manifestation or Being,
for it encompasses within itself all the laws and relations which
are later articulated in the phenomenal universe.

• For the Stoics God as the Logos--as Cosmic Reason--was
Providence. This Providence ordained all things. God was Fate,
too. The Stoics believed Fate imposed upon humanity a certain
determinism that allowed for freedom only within the context of
a person's inner acceptance of cosmic necessity.

• Philo Judaeus--a Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria
during the last century--distinguished between the Logos and
God. His idea of the Logos as the "word of God" was specifically
derived from Jewish Hellenistic wisdom literature which used the
word "wisdom" essentially as the "word of God." Philo was
talking about the Sophia.

• Philo likened this wisdom, this Word, as to a spring of water--
in that out of reason flowed speech. Especially important in this
analogy is that Reason is the Source and the Speech is the Flow.
Philo presents us with a two-fold Logos--a Ground of Being out
of which flows manifested intelligence.

• Philo believed God acted in this world through certain Powers:
God's Goodness (Creative or Beneficient or Gracious Power);
and God's Sovereignty (Regent, Punitive, or Legislative Power).
Pneuma, in turn, is the sustaining cause of all existing bodies
and guides the growth and development of animate bodies.

Again, any scholastic could see that all these Greek or
Hellenistic philosophies, even that of the Stoa, were following
the same current of thought. As for myself, if I were eventually
to work this material into my "Seeding" hypothesis, later to
integrate these philosophies with any naturalist studies, or
with astronomy, I would have to begin with a certain perspective.

Frankly, I felt that all these philosophers to be initially speculative.
Still, they seemed to follow the same current of thinking. Was this
representative of a *deep intuition* on their part? Maybe so, in
that perhaps Providence and its Pneuma were guiding these
philosophers along a certain path--having them follow the same
mental current.

Being a pragmatic fellow myself, I narrowed all these philosophies
into a simple three-fold structure: The CREATOR of the world,
who as the LOGOS is the "Pantokrator," the sustainer of the
world, the Ground, the Godhead, who also moves the world as
the PNEUMA, the Spirit spreading forth in all directions, unto

From my own perspective, it would seem that we are dealing
with an Intelligent Universal Mind or Force who acts upon us
and the world, evolving and moving us towards an unknown goal
or a completion--both individually and collectively! Within this
structure, I felt that finally I might slowly be able to weave in my
"Seeding" hypothesis.

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