Saturday, October 30, 2010

Farabi

"In his earlier days, Plato used to refrain from putting any of the sciences in writing and depositing them in the interior of books instead of unsullied breasts and congenial intellects. When he became fearful of becoming negligent and forgetful as well as of losing what he had inferred, discovered by thinking, and achieved in areas where his knowledge and wisdom had been established and developed, he resorted to allegories and riddles. He intended thereby to put in writing his knowledge and wisdom according to an approach that would let them be known only to the deserving, to those worthy of comprehending them because of research, investigation, examination, struggle, study, and genuine inclination. In contrast, Aristotle's procedure is to clarify, elucidate, put in writing, order, communicate, uncover, and explain, making full use of any of these he finds an approach to. These two approaches are apparently divergent. But the modes of abstruseness, obscurity, and complexity in Aristotle's procedure, despite his apparent intention to explain and elucidate, will not be concealed from anyone who carefully investigates his sciences, studies his books, and perseveres with them."

"Thus the demonstrative are entrusted to those having clear minds and upright intellects, the political to those having solid opinions, and the legal to those possessing spiritual inspirations. The most general of all these are the legal, and their utterances go beyond the extent of all the intellects of those to whom they are addressed. Therefore, they are not to be blamed for what they are unable to conceptualize. Thus someone who forms a concept of the First Innovator as corporeal and as acting with motion and in time is then not capable of forming a concept in his own mind of something more subtle than that and more suitable for Him."

(Farabi, The Harmonization of the Two Opinions of the Two Sages: Plato the divine and Aristotle)

"Therefore, all virtuous laws are subordinate to the universals of practical philosophy. The theoretical opinions that are in religion have their demonstrative proofs in theoretical philosophy and are taken in religion without demonstrative proofs. Therefore, the two parts of which religion consists are subordinate to philosophy."

(Farabi, Book of Religion)

"The regime without qualification is not a genus for the rest of the sorts of regimes, but is rather a kind of ambiguous name for many things that are consistent with it while differing in their essences and natures. There is no partnership between the virtuous regime and the rest of the sorts of ignorant regimes."

"When at some time someone exists who is completely disposed by nature for all of the virtues and they are then established in him by custom, this human being surpasses in virtue the virtues found among most people to the point that he almost goes beyond the human virtues to a higher class of humanity. The Ancients used to call this human being divine. The one contrary to him and disposed to all of the evil actions, in whom the traits of those evils are established by custom, they almost place beyond thehuman evils to what is even more evil. They have no name for the excess of his evil and sometimes call him a beast and similar names. It is rare for these two extremes to be found in people. When the first exists, he is of a higher rank according to them than being a statesman who serves one of the cities. Rather he governns all cities and is the king in truth. When the second happens to exist, he does not rule any city at all, nor does he serve it; rather, he goes away from all cities."

(Farabi, Aphorisms)