on Notable People — 08 March 2015

Aristotle (ca. 384 BCE – 322 BCE), together with Socrates and Plato, laid much of the groundwork for western philosophy.


At age 17, he enrolled in Plato’s Academy ‘School of Athens’ and in 338 BCE he began tutoring Alexander the Great. Three years later he founded his own school, the Lyceum, in Athens, where he spent most of the rest of his life studying, teaching and writing. He made significant and lasting contributions to nearly every aspect of human knowledge, from logic to biology to ethics and aesthetics. Though overshadowed in classical times by the work of his teacher Plato, from late antiquity through the Enlightenment, Aristotle’s surviving writings were incredibly influential. In Arabic philosophy, he was known simply as ‘The First Teacher’; in the West, he was ‘The Philosopher’ (also read Marc’s essay: Aristotle.)

Aristotle’s analysis of procreation describes an active, ensouling masculine element bringing life to an inert, passive female element. On this ground he has been accused of misogyny and sexism. However, he gave equal weight to women’s happiness as he did to men’s, and commented in his Rhetoric that the things that lead to happiness need to be in women as well as men.


The spiritual man is bound to be a free man.

He lives in freedom, he dies in freedom.

You cannot take his freedom away, there is no way. You can kill his body, but you cannot even touch his soul.

Science cannot accept this for the simple reason that science means laws. And if you accept an exception then the whole law loses meaning. According to the scientific attitude, everything in existence is bound by laws. And if you want to do something in the world, all that you have to do is to find out the law. Once you have got the law then you can do everything with matter. Just follow the law; matter cannot go against the law.

For this simple reason science has always denied, for these three hundred years, that there is any soul in man. To accept the soul is to accept that something is there which transcends all laws. That is very destructive to the scientific attitude. The whole palace of science collapses.

A single religious man is enough to destroy the whole scientific edifice. Hence, either the religious person has to be destroyed before his presence becomes dangerous to science itself, or he has to be ignored – so much so that it is as if he does not exist at all. But whatever you do it is an existential reality that consciousness exists, and exists without any laws.

Meditation is only a door to take you from the world of slavery to the world of freedom.

The languages of both the worlds are going to be contradictory to each other, but as far as I am concerned there is no need for any conflict. All that is needed is a little wider mind, just wide enough to accept that there are many dimensions in existence. The dimension in which you are working is not the only one. There are many other dimensions in which things exist in a different way. It does not destroy your dimension, it simply shows the richness of existence.

But science is
too much ruled
by one mind:

Everybody here is trying to make existence poor. The scientists are trying to make it poor by saying that it is only matter and nothing else. The religious people are trying to do the same by saying it is only God, nothing else; only the soul, nothing else. These people who are trying to prove that existence is only one-dimensional are wrong. Why make existence so poor? It is multi-dimensional. One thing may be true in one dimension, and may not be at all applicable in another dimension. One thing may be right in one dimension, may become wrong in another dimension.

But science is too much ruled by one mind: Aristotle. This one man for two thousand years has been dictating everything in the world of science: the laws, the logic that he wrote two thousand years ago continue to be applied. Anything against Aristotle is simply unacceptable. No man in the whole history of humanity has dominated so much. A single man – and he created the whole system of logic, and science goes on following his logic.

He himself is not very logical. Looking into his books you can find so many flaws, even according to his logic; it is not a scientific mind who is writing it. And in his personal life he was absolutely illogical.

He writes in one of his treatises, “Women have fewer teeth than men.” He had two wives, not only one. It is not a scientific mind who is writing it. He could have said to Mrs. Aristotle One, or Mrs. Aristotle Two, “Please just open your mouth.” And it is not such a big thing just to count the teeth. In fact there is no need even to tell women to open their mouth; you always have to say, “Shut up!” You can always count their teeth without saying anything! Just a little alertness is needed.

Or, if he was so afraid and henpecked, in the night he could have managed it; when one of the Mrs.’s was snoring he could have counted. But my feeling is that he never tried. He simply accepted the view prevalent among the masses for thousands of years, that the woman has to have everything less than the man, naturally. It is a logical corollary that if the man has thirty-two teeth then the woman must have no more than thirty-one. She can’t be allowed to have thirty-two.

This is not logic, this is superstition. And this man has been dominating the whole world of science for two thousand years. Only just now, within these fifty years, have a few scientists started feeling a little uneasy with Aristotle because they have come very close to a few things in existence which don’t follow Aristotle’s law.

For the first time when it was found that nature goes on its own way – it has its own laws, it has no obligation to follow Aristotle – it was such a shock that even though people had discovered things which went against Aristotle, they were not courageous enough to publish them. People kept those discoveries for years without telling anybody, because how could anything go against Aristotle? He had put logic so tightly together ….

For example, A can only be A. It cannot be B. Now this is a simple logical formulation: A is A and can never be B. But in the East twenty-five centuries ago we also had discovered many systems of logic, not just one; that is significant. The West knows only one system of logic, that of Aristotle. The East knows many logical systems developed by different people, very contradictory to each other but in themselves very logical. According to their own logic they are absolutely logical. According to somebody else’s logic of course they are not.

The fact that in the East there are many systems of logic symbolizes one thing: whatever man creates is going to be a very small fraction of reality. It may represent a fraction of reality, but it cannot represent the whole reality.

Hence Buddha … if Aristotle and Buddha had met, it would have been really something just fantastic, because Aristotle says A is always A and can never be B. But Buddha has a fourfold logic: he says A is A, A sometimes is B, A and B sometimes are both together – so much so that it is difficult to decide which is A and which is B; and sometimes A and B both are absent – still, their absence is their absence. He calls it fourfold logic. And if you look at existence you will find Buddha a better logician than Aristotle.

In those fifty years science has come closer to fourfold logic than Aristotle’s onefold logic. Now there is non-Aristotelian logic, which is absolutely contradictory to Aristotle; still, it works. Just as Aristotle’s logic works in a certain fragmentary reality, the non-Aristotelian logic also works in the same way in some other part of reality.

Euclid’s geometry works for one fraction of reality, non-Euclidean geometry works for another fraction of reality. But there are still more parts or reality to be discovered. Buddha had a fourfold logic, Mahavira goes a little further; he has a sevenfold logic. And it is almost impossible to think that there can be more dimensions than seven. He has managed every possibility in that sevenfold logic.

If you ask Mahavira about God his answer will be sevenfold. Of course you will not get any answer. You wanted an Aristotelian answer, yes or no. Mahavira says yes, God is. Then, he says, wait; don’t run away with that statement, it is only the beginning. The second statement is: God is not. But don’t be in a hurry. The third statement is: God is both – is and is not; and the fourth statement is: God neither is nor is not. The fifth statement is: God is indescribable. And the sixth is: God is, and is indescribable. And the seventh is: God is not, and is indescribable.

You cannot get anything out of it, you will think this man is crazy. If you had come confused, you will return worse. At least you were only puzzled abut two things: whether God is or God is not. Now there are seven openings. But modern science is coming very close to such openings. Physicists, digging deeper, have reached into matter they have found very strange …. They had never expected that they would find something in the deepest core of matter which would defy all their logic, all their laws. First they tried somehow to manipulate matter according to their logic – but you cannot manipulate reality.

Finally, Albert Einstein had to say that whatever reality is, whether it goes against our laws and logic does not matter. We will have to say good-bye to our laws and logic and listen to reality. We cannot force reality to follow our laws and logic. But reality has logic and laws of its own. It is not freedom.

Aristotle’s logic helped, at least on the surface; as far as the waves on the surface were concerned, he was perfectly right. But as you start diving deeper into reality, more and more new facts start emerging. Aristotle is already abandoned, and Euclid is no longer part of modern science. But that does not mean that science has come to feel that matter is free; it simply means that matter has its own laws.

Osho, From Darkness to Light, Ch 18, Q 1 (excerpt)