A reflection on Aristotle’s On the Soul
There is a significant issue that lies at the root of the monistic worldview – the question of choice. What is the impact on choice if reality consists of a single substratum? I have backed myself into even a tighter corner through accepting the position of universal mind as an aspect of the universal substance – for what is choice if we, as in our cognitive function, is nothing more than a portion of the whole? To answer this I will first attempt to describe individual mind, and then how individual minds participation in universal mind allows for – indeed requires – choice.
Much as apparent plurality is formed from folds in the fabric of physical reality, the presence of value is shaped and formed from this similar bending and folding of the universal mind. If we accept my previous definition of individual mind – as a reflection of universal mind – we must accept that individual mind includes all of its aspects. This means in all minds dwell – in some unequal measure – the good, the evil, the creative and the destructive. The interaction between this nucleus of cognition and those aspects of our physical mind, instinct and conditioning, produces the individual personality and character of the individual – and bends the person towards a predisposition of good or evil.
If seen in this light then the individual mind’s participation in the universal mind not only allows for choice – but is necessary for choice to occur. Physical determinism holds no real room within which meaningful choice can be made. Thus it is by interacting with universal mind and choosing to embody those aspects of goodness that our choices bear the weight of our intentionality – and in turn, by doing good, we become good ourselves.
Annibale Carracci, The Choice of Hercules, 1596