luni, 16 aprilie 2012

Aristotle: Self-Love and Property

Every individual loves himself and this is surely natural…practically everyone likes to have their piece of property (Aristotle, Politics, 1263b1-4)

Which are the arguments for the naturalness of self-love?

The Greek term for nature, physis, is unaffected by the modern belief that the natural features can be discovered by a process of analysis. For Greeks, a natural feature reflects the definite character of a thing, a regular pattern of origin and growth, surely not ones to be discovered through analysis, but rather by a synthetic view of the thing. Time to time, we have the opportunity to see the natural thing how it retreats from its confusing and spontaneous interaction with us for following its origin and course of growth. For modern time, if we take the natural beings as objects of analysis, then we are obliged to assume that the dead plants and animals are secondary means of revealing something that can be at best observed in the living exemplars. However, the modern analysis leaves away the conscience of that assumption when it considers itself in right to name the natural features of beings.

The ancient manner of grasping the natural characteristics of a being should function in the case of human self-love, too. Only time to time and in the moments when humans retreat in themselves, there is possible to evaluate the naturalness of self-love. For instance, though Aristotle uses the existence of elaborate language as an argument for human social character, there are moments of life when language retreats in the individual for expressing his singularity, sometimes through monologs, sometimes through linguistic constructions as philosophy and poetry. Awkwardly or wisely, man sinks by language into himself, as if he would confound with his lover.

There is always followed a pattern of retreating that we ever presuppose during the quotidian tendency of dragging others out for being agents of the social life, because our means of social interactions are conceived exactly for such purpose. For example, we would never love, persuade, placing into a social range or learn anyone without knowing which are his patterns of singularity that must be removed or diminished. The singularity of growing process and finally of death exposes what the permanent retreats just signalize.

Since every retreat is measured by the place left, in any social context we can remark the naturalness of self-love anyone possesses.

The piece of property Aristotle refers to is not by itself an argument for the naturalness of self-love, but its result. Any retreat marks an approach of individual singularity against the usual exposure in social contexts and the piece of property is the way of reentering in the society without leaving apart the natural self-love.

The individualism involved by possession of properties should not afraid more than the retreat for self-love without any external outcome, since such retreat means that the individual does not reenter in society. He posits the self-love against it. Therefore, if he retreats in his natural self-love, then all the others have to argue more for the naturalness of the social love and with the risk of expanding merely the artificial character of argumentation.