Heraclitus preceded Parmenides, living from 535—475 BCE, and like Parmenides, none of his writing has survived in its complete form. Heraclitus’s philosophy on the surface is in direct contrast with Parmenides by positing a natural argument (I say “on the surface” as their ultimate conclusions, Parmenides’ “All Is One” and Heraclitus’ “World-Fire”, seem to be saying the same thing, but the two taking two drastically different approaches to arrive at the same place).
In hindsight, he may have ruined the world in many ways… but that’s only because people exploited what it is that he was trying to say *cough cough canonization of The New Testament*. In truth, we may never know what he was ‘truly’ trying to say—for one, it’s complicated almost beyond belief; second, no fully intact account of his original work On Nature remains. Archeologists and scholars have yet to complete the translation—and they may never. I know I don’t understand All of what he has to say—but I want to.
With that said, if there was ever someone touched by the divine, it was Parmenides. While his work has nothing to do with religion, he saw the world as Neo saw The Matrix—and he moves up, down, in, out, and around every bit of logic and semantics that constitutes existence and non-existence. He is a true genius and often overlooked next to Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle—but what he achieved rivals DaVinci and Einstein.
I’m going to share with you a formula created by Dr. Todd Jones that explains what makes good art and literature. Jones is a celebrated philosophy professor with a significant background in anthropology.
Jones’s BeDE Theory of Art Criticism:
Art or literature’s only function—the only thing it is good at doing—is creating beliefs, desires, and emotions (or BeDE for short). Art fails at doing anything and everything else.
The BeDE theory is designed to tell you which works of art are comparatively better than other works of art in its class, based on how well it performs its function of creating beliefs, desires, and emotions within its audience.
What makes something “art” is a social fact—such as the concept of money or Tuesday. Society agrees that “x” is art, and therefore it becomes art.
The technological singularity marks the point beyond prediction. The theory holds that technology / machines will become so advanced that they will gain an intelligence of their own. This intelligence will duplicate (independent of humans) and compound to the point of super-intelligence, or an intelligence greater than that of a human being. Intelligence is subjective, but my definition involves an entity defining its own goals / objectives and then making decisions in an effort to achieve those goals / objectives. Should technology reach this state of being, the vast possibilities of outcomes are so great and dramatically different from one another that no quantifiable predictions can be made as to how this event will impact the world or human beings themselves.
Yeah, he might be a little self-indulgent—I assume he has orange skin and sweet comb-over—but that’s okay because he speaks for us common folk. He waves a big banner of common sense and God, and as long as I can keep my guns, I’ll vote for him as my favorite modern philosopher.
“It’s gonna be huge,” I envision Georgie B trying to explain himself to a confused reporter. “What I make public here has, after a long and scrupulous inquiry, seemed to me evidently true and not unuseful to be known—particularly to those who are tainted with skepticism or want a demonstration of the existence and immateriality of God or the natural immortality of the soul” (438). Yeehaw—I like the sounds of that campaign promise! Let’s see if he can build that wall.