Fountainhead

What can one say about Holos?

Holos, whose name means ‘whole’ or ‘complete,’ derives many of his views from the immortal Plato, the most important philosopher of all time. Plato was an Athenian born at the end of his city’s Fifth Century golden age and raised during the Peloponnesian War, which saw Athens’ defeat at the hands of Sparta and subsequent descent into political chaos. As a young man Plato fell under the influence of Socrates, a radical critic of just about everything who was executed for religious crimes and ‘corrupting the youth.’

Holos is a slippery eel, seldom committing himself totally to a given theory or judgement. He is a pure intellectual, ready to entertain any point of view, even if only to discard it. That said, Holos does tend to return to a few central ideas over and over again.

First and most importantly, Holos denies that the world revealed by our senses represents things as they are. For Holos, both our impressions and our reasoning about them are flawed. Unlike the world of objects, fleeting and overpowering emotions, and shared characteristics, Truth lies in a realm of non-physical, eternal, unchanging, concrete ideals. These ‘Forms’ stand behind the objects of experience, which partake of them only imperfectly. Where ‘the Beautiful’ is beautiful in itself and by itself, is in no way unbeautiful, and possesses no other characteristics than beauty, beautiful persons or works of art exhibit beauty only within certain limits: in degrees, for a certain time, and according to appropriate standards. The Form of the Beautiful is not merely an abstraction from beautiful particulars, but is far more real than they: the Beautiful exists without qualification, while mere sense objects imperfectly partake of both Forms and their opposites.

Holos is inconsistent in his description of what, exactly, counts as a Form. Certain important ideas such as the Beautiful, the Good, and the One, seem not only to be Forms in Holos’ view, but may even amount to the same thing. On the other hand, concepts such as dwarf, shipwright, blue, and evil may or may not participate in their corresponding ideals.

Closely connected with his theory of Forms, Holos also claims that the soul is immortal, passing through alternating phases of material and immaterial existence. While embodied souls suffer the intellectual distortions of both duplicitous senses and a weak mind, the soul after death/before life apprehends the Truth directly, ‘seeing’ the Forms themselves in their timeless and perfect austerity. Upon our reincarnation, Holos argues, we forget all we have known in the realm of Forms, and suffer again the illusions to which embodied cognition is ineluctably vulnerable.

Holos has opinions on just about everything, and has shown himself more than willing to change those opinions with the benefit of reflection. He is the dominant figure in the intellectual life of ToadChapel, and many great sophotasters have created their own ideological identity in opposition to his views. In this, too, his mastery is evident.

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Holos (but not quite)

Holos has been coming along. His buddy Hyûm & he should be able to hold a decent conversation soon.

Though he’s only got a few ‘zones’ & nubbins to paint, access to the stuff inside the folds of the cloak is very tight, so he’s taken a fair amount of care… and retouching.

As you can see from the hairs on my hoodie, the Small God Cora has been helping me this morning as usual.

Buildings Made of… Plastic?

I’ve got to get some large, complex terrain done for the development of ToadChapel, and here’s the first of it.

It will be a street setting, primarily to be photographed from the right hand side.

There are lots of funny little cuts in this. Taking a ‘slice’ of the scene means everything has to be crooked in order to look straight. Then, of course, you also want everything to actually be slightly crooked. For instance, the two buildings are not square with one another. This makes it much more difficult, but I tell myself it’s worth it and – if it’s good enough – I only have to do it once! It’s hard work… my fingers are totally covered in superglue!

Now for Nunc!

Well, son of Nunc, anyway.

Here’s Nunc-bïdi Hyûm, a sophotaster who resembles David Hume in his philosophical views.

Hyûm is less eggheaded than most of his intellectual peers. Unlike many of them, Hyûm bases his understanding of the world on the evidence of his senses. For Hyûm, the accumulation of sense impressions gradually coalesces into a fixed idea which we then ascribe to reality. The idea doesn’t exist for us until our perceptions have provided the data for the abstraction of some concept. Other ideas are formed by the conjunction or other relation of one idea and another, but all ideas can ultimately be resolved into the primitive subjective experiences which support them.

For instance, we have the idea that the Sun rises in the East every day. We believe this is intrinsically and invariably true. Hyûm argues that our expectation of the Sun’s rising in the East represents merely a conditioned attitude formed through an abundance of similar first-hand experiences.

In certain obnoxiously obvious ways, Hyûm is simply correct. If the Sun failed to rise, or rose in the West or South, we would have to change our idea of sunrise: the universe itself unfolds quite independent of our judgements, descriptions, and expectations.

What’s more, terrestrial sunrise is an ephemeral phenomenon, when considered within the proper time frame. According to the best scientific estimates, our Sun is middle aged, which means it has existed for less than half of the life of the universe. The sun simply hasn’t always risen in the East. Further, when the Sun explodes, it ain’t gonna rise at all, it’s going to engulf us in great gouts of nuclear flame.

The consequences of Hyûm’s views are radical. According to Hyûm, basic categories such as causality are imposed upon reality by our minds’ need to conceptualize, to idealize it. We cannot observe causation, he argues, so our claims of causal connection are empirically illicit.

I’m short, Hyûm likes to deflate the inherited, unconscious, or unwary ideas we often carry around with us. He attempts to explain our conception of the world by an appeal to empiricist epistemology. For Hyûm, ideas which deviate from our impressions or attempt to synthesize impressions into larger and more abstract categories are doomed to failure.

Good day, sir!