Our vision of the world

The philosophy that determines our thoughts and our actions

For those ready to brave the subject… here are some philosophical concepts inherited from the philosophers of the VII-VI centuries B.C.1

Our idea in one sentence: We are the Whole and the whole is us.

The philosophy is born grand

Over thousands of years, human beings have been ruled by myths, the overwhelming forces to which men immolated living creatures, renounced life’s pleasures or submitted to constraining practices.
These supreme forces explained the extraordinary events occurring in the world and affecting the lives of human beings, and provided a justification for personal distress, ravaging catastrophes, as well as joy and prosperity.
Because of myths, man could somehow abdicate his responsibility in the pursuit of a meaning in life and in making choices, since superior forces ruled his destiny. Man submitted to these forces and used them as a justification for life’s misfortunes, even those for which he was responsible.
With the advent of philosophy, for the first time in the history of humankind, Greek thinkers refuted a life ruled by myths and confronted the challenges of existence, its choices and contradictions.
Since its beginnings, philosophy finds its raison d’être in the quest for absolute and unquestionable knowledge, Truth (with a capital T).
In their search for Truth, the first philosophers turned to the “Whole”, that is, everything that surrounds us and of which we are a part.
According to ancient Greeks, Truth is not limited to a particular aspect of reality. Truth is the Totality of all things. As a consequence, when we have confrontations with others on a particular subject, it is because we don’t look at the Whole, but only at a part thereof.
Since its inception, however, philosophy had to deal with a paradox: while searching for Truth, philosophers still worshiped the gods, attended religious ceremonies and sacrificed animals. They were therefore consenting or forced actors of myths.
Just like us, they lived with their contradictions, which did not, nevertheless, prevent them from pursuing a grand vision and from being aware of their choices and responsibilities as actors of the world they lived in.

What is the “Whole” in ancient Philosophy?

According to Aristotle, Physis is the part of the “Whole” which corresponds to the daily reality unfolding before our eyes. However, the Indo-European root of the word provides other meanings for “Physis”, such as “being”,”light”. In fact, the first Greek philosophers referred to these original meanings and called the “Whole” “Physis”.
The “Whole” is also the “Cosmos”. In classical Greece (V-IV century B.C.) this term designated order, as opposed to the original chaos of the universe. According to the same Indo-European roots, Cosmos means “to announce with authority that which cannot be refuted”, a sense close to that of the word Physis in its oldest version.
The two meanings of the “Whole” constitute a “Whole” which, in its appearance, is the undeniable and unquestionable truth.”

The pillars of ancient philosophy: the” Whole”, the “Archè” and the “Logos”

One of the pillars of ancient philosophy was the concept that each thing is different from and at the same time identical to, any other, because of its intrinsic identity with the “Whole”. According to Heraclites “all things are one”.
Things compose the “Whole” not only because they are an integral part of the “Whole”, but also because the “Whole” is both the origin and the finality of all things, at the same time beginning and end, the juxtaposition of opposites.

The distinctiveness of things constitutes the process of their differentiation from the “Whole”: this explains why each element is unique, different from others, just as we are different from one another. At the same time we are identical since we belong to the same “Whole”.
We are dealing here with the “Arché”, which constitutes the common identity in different things, the dimension from which things come and to which they return, the beginning which rules the world and the energy fueling it. This notion can be associated with the concept of God, but “Arché” is the energy and the beginning of the world and does not dictate the conduct of men. This remains their sole responsibility; otherwise we would revert to the belief in myths.
Ancient philosophers have demonstrated that the outer aspect of things is a misleading guide. The “Whole” is the only solid Truth, which should guide us. As a consequence, if we want to act in a truly effective manner on the world and on human beings, we must have access to the Truth about the world by letting things speak for themselves, without imposing upon them a man-made meaning, thus allowing the Truth to emerge.
This is what nowadays we refer to as “letting go”. We are enriched by the awareness that our view is nothing but a point of view among many others, and that things exist and have their own intrinsic meaning, quite independent from the meaning that we would like to attribute to them, fallaciously believing that we can control them.
Logos (which is usually translated as “reason”, “word”) is a Greek word which means “letting things speak for themselves” without attributing to them any exogenous significance, which in turn allows them to spontaneously emerge as they are.
According to Heraclitus “when awake, men have a single world, but when asleep, each man has a world of his own.”
He defines sleeping men as those holding strong beliefs and trying to impose their meaning on things, albeit rather uselessly.

1. Inspired by Emanuele Severino, Ancient Philosophy, Rizzoli Editore,1984