My cosmology with help from Aristotle; or, against chaos

by Andrea Elizabeth

I believe and don’t believe in a hierarchy of being. Of course man is supreme above animals, plants, and inanimate objects, but man isn’t human if he doesn’t respect those under him. The artist or craftsman knows how to bring life and health to rocks (building blocks), minerals (paint), plants (wood, or gardens or proper land management), and animals (free or tame. See this documentary on the last wild horses in America and the controversy over the Bureau of Land Management’s roundups).

The question against chaos is what about when things go wrong. If one doesn’t believe in determinism, what does one do with disasters, collisions, and lost things? I believe there is trauma when these things occur. A planet’s moon does not like being shattered by an asteroid. Things inherently want to be healthy. This does not mean that inanimate objects have a rational mind or soul, but somehow they enjoy health. Erosion and chisels hurt rocks, but a rock in the artist’s hand hopes for glory in spite of the pain. Not pain that involves nerve cells and receptors, and not God’s pain so much by extension to His creation, but some sort of existential pain. Rocks, plants, and animals know what it means to exist well. They shine when it happens.

When disasters happen, there are healing forces at work that can cause new life to spring forth from the rubble. I tend now to think that the forces are predetermined, but not the results. The results are contingent on the circumstances, not a prearranged plan. Climate, for instance, is designed to work a certain way at certain altitudes, etc. There is a healthy way of being in all circumstances whether they exist in the far reaches of space, or Death Valley. I’ve been to Death Valley in August, which I would not recommend. A couple of beautiful oases provide some relief, but what about the scorching rubble one finds where nothing at all will grow but the number of splitting rocks? One person’s hell is another person’s health spa. I bet the rocks around Scotty’s Castle are proud, or at least amused.