Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Transcendentalia of being: "Ens ist unum, verum, bonum et bellum".

In my first semester of Philosophy, back in  the late 1960's, my professor of Metaphisica at the Universita Gregoriana of Rome, was a brilliant Irish Jesuit, Father O Farrell, S.J. Following the didactic system laid down by the first Philosophers, Father O Farrell used the platonic dialog as a core part of his lecturing method. However, in the case of Father O Farrell, the dialog was between our teacher and his imaginary dog, Fido. This was before the student strike of 1970, and so all the lecturing as well as the texts were conducted still in Latin, so all the dialogs between Fido and Professor O Farrell were in Latin.

In front of my alma mater, Universita Gregoriana,
Rome, with my son.
When we started Metaphisica, Fidos first question was quid est ens? What are the transcendental properties of being? Actually it was the Greek, Parmenides, and not Fido, the first philosopher to pose this question of the fundamental or transcendental qualities of being. Plato discussed the form of good. Aristotle introduced the concept of transcendentalia. Thomas of Aquinas established the basic defining elements of being as Unum, Verum et Bonum. One, True and Good. Later on, the concept of Bellum was

School of Athens, Raphaello,
 Vatican Museum, Rome
In the picture above, the School of Athens, by Raphaello, we see Plato with Aristotle, in Le Stanze di Raphaello, in the Vatican Museums. Raphaello supposedly used Leonardo di Vinci as his model. In the foreground, we see a partial figure of the moody Michelangelo. Renaissance artists were quite conscious of the discussion of ancients Greek Philosophers concerning Unum, Verum, Bonum, et Bellum, or the relationship in beauty between unity, truth and goodness.

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