This article is about the 11th-century Byzantine historian and philosopher. For the 9th-century Byzantine Emperor with the byname Psellus, see Michael II. "Michael Psellus the Elder" is covered below under Pseudo-Psellos. Michael Psellos or Psellus was a Byzantine Greek monk, writer, philosopher and historian, he was born in 1017 or 1018, is believed to have died in 1078, although it has been maintained that he remained alive until 1096. The main source of information about Psellos' life comes from his own works, which contain extensive autobiographical passages. Michael Psellos was born in Constantinople, his family hailed from Nicomedia and, according to his own testimony, counted members of the consular and patrician elite among its ancestors. His baptismal name was Constantine. Psellos was a personal by-name referring to a speech defect. Michael Psellos was educated in Constantinople. At around the age of ten, he was sent to work outside the capital as a secretary of a provincial judge, in order to help his family raise the dowry for his sister.
When his sister died, he returned to Constantinople to resume his studies. While studying under John Mauropus, he met the Patriarchs Constantine Leichoudes and John Xiphilinos, the emperor Constantine X Doukas. For some time, he worked in the provinces again; some time before 1042 he returned again to Constantinople, where he got a junior position at court as a secretary in the imperial chancellery. From there he began a rapid court career, he became an influential political advisor to emperor Constantine IX Monomachos. During the same time, he became the leading professor at the University of Constantinople, bearing the honorary title of "Chief of the Philosophers". Despite his leading eminence and prowess in learning, his knowledge of Latin was cloudy enough to confuse Cicero with Caesar; this is cited as one prime example of the paradigm of how the Eastern Roman Empire had lost nearly all of its connection to its nominal Roman roots by the High Middle Ages. Towards the end of Monomachos' reign, Psellos found himself under political pressure for some reason and decided to leave the court, entering the Olympus monastery on Mount Olympus in Bithynia in 1054.
After Monomachos' death, however, he was soon recalled to court by Empress Theodora. Throughout the following years, he remained active in politics, serving as a high-ranking political advisor to several successive emperors, he played a decisive political role in the transition of power from Michael VI to Isaac I Komnenos in 1057. As Psellos had served as Michael's personal teacher during the reign of Michael's father Constantine, as he had played an important role in helping Michael gain power against his adversary and stepfather Romanos, Psellos entertained hopes of an more influential position as a teacher and advisor under him. However, Michael seems to have been less inclined towards protecting Psellos and after the mid-1070s there is no more information about any role played by Psellos at court; as his own autobiographic accounts cease at this point, there is little reliable information about his years. Some scholars believe that Psellos had to retreat into a monastery again at some time during the 1070s.
Following a remark by Psellos' fellow historian Joannes Zonaras, it is believed by most scholars that Psellos died soon after the fall of Michael VII in 1078, although some scholars have proposed dates. What is known is that Theophylaktos of Bulgaria wrote a letter to Psellos's brother comforting him on the death of his brother saying that, "Your brother has not died, but has departed to God released of both a painful life and disease". Psellos' best known and most accessible work is the Chronographia, it is a history of the Byzantine emperors during the century leading up to Psellos' own time. It covers the reigns of fourteen emperors and empresses, beginning with the 50-year-long reign of Basil II, the "Bulgar-Slayer", ending some time during the reign of Michael VII Doukas, it is structured as a series of biographies. Unlike most other historiographical works of the period, it places much more emphasis on the description of characters than on details of political and military events, it includes extensive autobiographical elements about Psellos' political and intellectual development, it gives far greater weight to those periods when Psellos held an active position in politics, giving the whole work the character of political memoirs.
It is believed to have been written in two parts. The first covers the emperors up to Isaac I Komnenos; the second, which has a much more apologetic tone, is in large parts an encomium on Psellus' current protectors, the emperors of the Doukas dynasty. Psellos left many other writings: "Historia syntomos", a shorter, didactic historical text in the form of a world chronicle. A large number of scientific and religious treatises. One well-known example of these is a classification of demons, he compiled an important work on philosophy, the De omnifaria doctrina. Other works deal with topics such as astronomy, music, jurisprudence and laography. Various didactic poems on topi
Geometry is a branch of mathematics concerned with questions of shape, relative position of figures, the properties of space. A mathematician who works in the field of geometry is called a geometer. Geometry arose independently in a number of early cultures as a practical way for dealing with lengths and volumes. Geometry began to see elements of formal mathematical science emerging in the West as early as the 6th century BC. By the 3rd century BC, geometry was put into an axiomatic form by Euclid, whose treatment, Euclid's Elements, set a standard for many centuries to follow. Geometry arose independently in India, with texts providing rules for geometric constructions appearing as early as the 3rd century BC. Islamic scientists expanded on them during the Middle Ages. By the early 17th century, geometry had been put on a solid analytic footing by mathematicians such as René Descartes and Pierre de Fermat. Since and into modern times, geometry has expanded into non-Euclidean geometry and manifolds, describing spaces that lie beyond the normal range of human experience.
While geometry has evolved throughout the years, there are some general concepts that are more or less fundamental to geometry. These include the concepts of points, planes, surfaces and curves, as well as the more advanced notions of manifolds and topology or metric. Geometry has applications to many fields, including art, physics, as well as to other branches of mathematics. Contemporary geometry has many subfields: Euclidean geometry is geometry in its classical sense; the mandatory educational curriculum of the majority of nations includes the study of points, planes, triangles, similarity, solid figures and analytic geometry. Euclidean geometry has applications in computer science and various branches of modern mathematics. Differential geometry uses techniques of linear algebra to study problems in geometry, it has applications in physics, including in general relativity. Topology is the field concerned with the properties of geometric objects that are unchanged by continuous mappings. In practice, this means dealing with large-scale properties of spaces, such as connectedness and compactness.
Convex geometry investigates convex shapes in the Euclidean space and its more abstract analogues using techniques of real analysis. It has close connections to convex analysis and functional analysis and important applications in number theory. Algebraic geometry studies geometry through the use of multivariate polynomials and other algebraic techniques, it has applications including cryptography and string theory. Discrete geometry is concerned with questions of relative position of simple geometric objects, such as points and circles, it shares many principles with combinatorics. Computational geometry deals with algorithms and their implementations for manipulating geometrical objects. Although being a young area of geometry, it has many applications in computer vision, image processing, computer-aided design, medical imaging, etc; the earliest recorded beginnings of geometry can be traced to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt in the 2nd millennium BC. Early geometry was a collection of empirically discovered principles concerning lengths, angles and volumes, which were developed to meet some practical need in surveying, construction and various crafts.
The earliest known texts on geometry are the Egyptian Rhind Papyrus and Moscow Papyrus, the Babylonian clay tablets such as Plimpton 322. For example, the Moscow Papyrus gives a formula for calculating the volume of a truncated pyramid, or frustum. Clay tablets demonstrate that Babylonian astronomers implemented trapezoid procedures for computing Jupiter's position and motion within time-velocity space; these geometric procedures anticipated the Oxford Calculators, including the mean speed theorem, by 14 centuries. South of Egypt the ancient Nubians established a system of geometry including early versions of sun clocks. In the 7th century BC, the Greek mathematician Thales of Miletus used geometry to solve problems such as calculating the height of pyramids and the distance of ships from the shore, he is credited with the first use of deductive reasoning applied to geometry, by deriving four corollaries to Thales' Theorem. Pythagoras established the Pythagorean School, credited with the first proof of the Pythagorean theorem, though the statement of the theorem has a long history.
Eudoxus developed the method of exhaustion, which allowed the calculation of areas and volumes of curvilinear figures, as well as a theory of ratios that avoided the problem of incommensurable magnitudes, which enabled subsequent geometers to make significant advances. Around 300 BC, geometry was revolutionized by Euclid, whose Elements considered the most successful and influential textbook of all time, introduced mathematical rigor through the axiomatic method and is the earliest example of the format still used in mathematics today, that of definition, axiom and proof. Although most of the contents of the Elements were known, Euclid arranged them into a single, coherent logical framework; the Elements was known to all educated people in the West until the middle of the 20th century and its contents are still taught in geometry classes today. Archimedes of Syracuse used the method of exhaustion to calculate the area under the arc of a parabola with the summation of an infinite series, gave remarkably accurate approximations of Pi.
He studied the sp
The soul, in many religious and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, feeling, memory, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal. Other religions hold that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves and have their physical representative in the world; the actual self is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if we see a tiger there is a self-conscious identity residing in it, a physical representative in the world; some teach that non-biological entities possess souls. This belief is called animism. Greek philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, understood that the soul must have a logical faculty, the exercise of, the most divine of human actions.
At his defense trial, Socrates summarized his teaching as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence. The current consensus of modern science is that there is no evidence to support the existence of the soul when traditionally defined as the spiritual breath of the body. In metaphysics, the concept of "Soul" may be equated with that of "Mind" in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual; the Modern English word "soul", derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, was first attested in the 8th century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50. It is cognate with other German and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothic saiwala, Old High German sêula, sêla, Old Saxon sêola, Old Low Franconian sêla, sîla, Old Norse sála and Lithuanian siela. Deeper etymology of the Germanic word is unclear; the original concept behind the Germanic root is thought to mean “coming from or belonging to the sea ”, because of the Germanic and pre-Celtic belief in souls emerging from and returning to sacred lakes, Old Saxon sêola compared to Old Saxon sêo.
The Koine Greek Septuagint uses ψυχή to translate Hebrew נפש, meaning "life, vital breath", refers to a mortal, physical life, but in English it is variously translated as "soul, life, person, mind, living being, emotion, passion". Vulgate – Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem. Authorized King James Version – "And God created great whales, every living creature that moveth."The Koine Greek word ψυχή, "life, consciousness", is derived from a verb meaning "to cool, to blow", hence refers to the breath, as opposed to σῶμα, meaning "body". Psychē occurs juxtaposed to σῶμα, as seen in Matthew 10:28: Greek – καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. Vulgate – et nolite timere eos qui occidunt corpus animam autem non possunt occidere sed potius eum timete qui potest et animam et corpus perdere in gehennam. Authorized King James Version – "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him, able to destroy both soul and body in hell."Paul the Apostle used ψυχή and πνεῦμα to distinguish between the Jewish notions of נפש and רוח ruah.
In the ancient Egyptian religion, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. Similar ideas are found in ancient Babylonian religion. Kuttamuwa, an 8th-century BCE royal official from Sam'al, ordered an inscribed stele erected upon his death; the inscription requested that his mourners commemorate his life and his afterlife with feasts "for my soul, in this stele". It is one of the earliest references to a soul as a separate entity from the body; the 800-pound basalt stele is 2 ft wide. It was uncovered in the third season of excavations by the Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois; the Bahá'í Faith affirms that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, whose mystery no mind, however acute, can hope to unravel". Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal. Heaven can be seen as the soul's state of nearness to God.
Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence prior to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world. Buddhism teaches that all things are in a constant
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, values, reason and language. Such questions are posed as problems to be studied or resolved; the term was coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will? "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy became classified as a book of physics. In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize.
In the modern era, some investigations that were traditionally part of philosophy became separate academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology and economics. Other investigations related to art, politics, or other pursuits remained part of philosophy. For example, is beauty objective or subjective? Are there many scientific methods or just one? Is political utopia a hopeful dream or hopeless fantasy? Major sub-fields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science. Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is related to religion, natural science and politics. Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is classified in the 2000s as a book of physics. In the first part of the first book of his Academics, Cicero introduced the division of philosophy into logic and ethics. Metaphysical philosophy was the study of existence, God, logic and other abstract objects; this division has changed.
Natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences astronomy, chemistry and cosmology. Moral philosophy still includes value theory. Metaphysical philosophy has birthed formal sciences such as logic and philosophy of science, but still includes epistemology and others. Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. Colin McGinn and others claim. Chalmers and others, by contrast, see progress in philosophy similar to that in science, while Talbot Brewer argued that "progress" is the wrong standard by which to judge philosophical activity. In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture and a search for knowledge. In that sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality". A broad and impartial conception of philosophy finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality and life in all world civilizations. Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western world and dates to Pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in Ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE such as Thales and Pythagoras who practiced a "love of wisdom" and were termed physiologoi.
Socrates was a influential philosopher, who insisted that he possessed no wisdom but was a pursuer of wisdom. Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: Ancient, Medieval philosophy, Modern philosophy; the Ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools which arose out of the various pupils of Socrates, such as Plato, who founded the Platonic Academy and his student Aristotle, founding the Peripatetic school, who were both influential in Western tradition. Other traditions include Cynicism, Greek Skepticism and Epicureanism. Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics, the nature of the well-lived life, the possibility of knowledge and the nature of reason. With the rise of the Roman empire, Greek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca. Medieval philosophy is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the ris
Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process; the formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people. A general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions, in which a legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, common law systems, where judge-made precedent is accepted as binding law.
Religious laws played a significant role in settling of secular matters, is still used in some religious communities. Islamic Sharia law is the world's most used religious law, is used as the primary legal system in some countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia; the adjudication of the law is divided into two main areas. Criminal law deals with conduct, considered harmful to social order and in which the guilty party may be imprisoned or fined. Civil law deals with the resolution of lawsuits between individuals and/or organizations. Law provides a source of scholarly inquiry into legal history, economic analysis and sociology. Law raises important and complex issues concerning equality and justice. Numerous definitions of law have been put forward over the centuries; the Third New International Dictionary from Merriam-Webster defines law as: "Law is a binding custom or practice of a community. The Dictionary of the History of Ideas published by Scribner's in 1973 defined the concept of law accordingly as: "A legal system is the most explicit, institutionalized, complex mode of regulating human conduct.
At the same time, it plays only one part in the congeries of rules which influence behavior, for social and moral rules of a less institutionalized kind are of great importance." There have been several attempts to produce "a universally acceptable definition of law". In 1972, one source indicated. McCoubrey and White said that the question "what is law?" has no simple answer. Glanville Williams said that the meaning of the word "law" depends on the context in which that word is used, he said that, for example, "early customary law" and "municipal law" were contexts where the word "law" had two different and irreconcilable meanings. Thurman Arnold said that it is obvious that it is impossible to define the word "law" and that it is equally obvious that the struggle to define that word should not be abandoned, it is possible to take the view that there is no need to define the word "law". The history of law links to the development of civilization. Ancient Egyptian law, dating as far back as 3000 BC, contained a civil code, broken into twelve books.
It was based on the concept of Ma'at, characterised by tradition, rhetorical speech, social equality and impartiality. By the 22nd century BC, the ancient Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu had formulated the first law code, which consisted of casuistic statements. Around 1760 BC, King Hammurabi further developed Babylonian law, by codifying and inscribing it in stone. Hammurabi placed several copies of his law code throughout the kingdom of Babylon as stelae, for the entire public to see; the most intact copy of these stelae was discovered in the 19th century by British Assyriologists, has since been transliterated and translated into various languages, including English, Italian and French. The Old Testament dates back to 1280 BC and takes the form of moral imperatives as recommendations for a good society; the small Greek city-state, ancient Athens, from about the 8th century BC was the first society to be based on broad inclusion of its citizenry, excluding women and the slave class. However, Athens had no legal science or single word for "law", relying instead on the three-way distinction between divine law, human decree and custom.
Yet Ancient Greek law contained major constitutional innovations in the development of democracy. Roman law was influenced by Greek philosophy, but its detailed rules were developed by professional jurists and were sophisticated. Over the centuries between the rise and decline of the Roman Empire, law was adapted to cope with the changing social situations and underwent major codification under Theodosius II and Justinian I. Although codes were replaced by custom and case law during the Dark Ages, Roman law was rediscovered around the 11th century when medieval legal scholars began to research Roman codes and adapt their concepts. Latin legal maxims were compiled for guidance. In medieval England, royal
Medieval Greek known as Byzantine Greek, is the stage of the Greek language between the end of Classical antiquity in the 5th–6th centuries and the end of the Middle Ages, conventionally dated to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. From the 7th century onwards, Greek was the only language of administration and government in the Byzantine Empire; this stage of language is thus described as Byzantine Greek. The study of the Medieval Greek language and literature is a branch of Byzantine studies, the study of the history and culture of the Byzantine Empire; the beginning of Medieval Greek is dated back to as early as the 4th century, either to 330 AD, when the political centre of the Roman Empire was moved to Constantinople, or to 395 AD, the division of the Empire. However, this approach is rather arbitrary as it is more an assumption of political, as opposed to cultural and linguistic, developments. Indeed, by this time the spoken language pronunciation, had shifted towards modern forms.
The conquests of Alexander the Great, the ensuing Hellenistic period, had caused Greek to spread to peoples throughout Anatolia and the Eastern Mediterranean, altering the spoken language's pronunciation and structure. Medieval Greek is the link between this vernacular, known as Koine Greek, Modern Greek. Though Byzantine Greek literature was still influenced by Attic Greek, it was influenced by vernacular Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament and the liturgical language of the Greek Orthodox Church. Constantine moved to Byzantium in 330; the city, though a major imperial residence like other cities such as Trier and Sirmium, was not a capital until 359. Nonetheless the imperial court resided there and the city was the political centre of the eastern parts of the Roman Empire where Greek was the dominant language. At first, Latin remained the language of the army, it was used for official documents. From the beginning of the 6th century, amendments to the law were written in Greek. Furthermore, parts of the Roman Corpus Iuris Civilis were translated into Greek.
Under the rule of Emperor Heraclius, who assumed the Greek title Basileus in 629, Greek became the official language of the Eastern Roman Empire. This was in spite of the fact that the inhabitants of the empire still considered themselves Rhomaioi until its end in 1453, as they saw their State as the perpetuation of Roman rule. Despite the absence of reliable demographic figures, it has been estimated that less than one third of the inhabitants of the Eastern Roman Empire, around eight million people, were native speakers of Greek; the number of those who were able to communicate in Greek may have been far higher. The native Greek speakers consisted of many of the inhabitants of the southern Balkan Peninsula, south of the Jireček Line, all of the inhabitants of Asia Minor, where the native tongues, except Armenian in the east, had become extinct, replaced by Greek, by the 5th century. In any case, all cities of the Eastern Roman Empire were influenced by the Greek language. In the period between 603 and 619, the southern and eastern parts of the empire were occupied by Persian Sassanids and, after being recaptured by Heraclius in the years 622 to 628, they were conquered by the Arabs in the course of the Muslim conquests a few years later.
Alexandria, a center of Greek culture and language, fell to the Arabs in 642. During the seventh and eighth centuries, Greek was replaced by Arabic as an official language in conquered territories such as Egypt; as more people gained a knowledge of Arabic. Thus, the use of Greek declined early on in Egypt; the invasion of the Slavs into the Balkan peninsula reduced the area where Greek was spoken and Latin. Sicily and parts of Magna Graecia, Asia Minor and more Anatolia, parts of the Crimean Peninsula remained Greek-speaking; the southern Balkans which would henceforth be contested between Byzantium and various Slavic kingdoms or empires. The Greek language spoken by one-third of the population of Sicily at the time of the Norman conquest 1060-90 remained vibrant for more than a century, but died out to a deliberate policy of Latinization in language and religion from the mid-1160s. From the late 11th century onwards, the interior of Anatolia was invaded by Seljuq Turks, who advanced westwards.
With the Ottoman conquests of Constantinople in 1453, the Peloponnese in 1459/1460, the Empire of Trebizond in 1461, Athens in 1465, two centuries the Duchy of Candia in 1669, the Greek language lost its status as a national language until the emergence of modern Greece in the year 1821. Language varieties after 1453 are referred to as Modern Greek; as early as in the Hellenistic period, there was a tendency towards a state of diglossia between the Attic literary language and the developing vernacular Koiné. By late antiquity, the gap had become impossible to ignore. In the Byzantine era, written Greek manifested itself in a whole spectrum of divergent registers, all of which were consciously archaic in comparison with the contemporary spoken vernacular, but in different degrees, they ranged from a moderately archaic style employed for most every-day writing and based on the written Koiné of the Bible and early Christian literature, to a artificial learned style, employed by authors with higher literary ambitions and imitating the model of classical Attic, in continuation of the movement of Atticism
Christian contemplation, from contemplatio, refers to several Christian practices which aim at "looking at", "gazing at", "being aware of" God or the Divine. It includes several practices and theological concepts, until the sixth century the practice of what is now called mysticism was referred to by the term contemplatio, c.q. theoria. Christianity took up the use of both the Greek and Latin terminology to describe various forms of prayer and the process of coming to know God. Eastern and Western traditions of Christianity grew apart as they incorporated the general notion of theoria into their respective teachings; the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, "the Christian tradition comprises three major expressions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer and contemplative prayer. They have in common the recollection of the heart." Three stages are discerned in contemplative practice, namely purgative contemplation, contemplation proper, the vision of God. The Greek theoria, from which the English word "theory" is derived, meant "contemplation, speculation, a looking at, things looked at", from theorein "to consider, look at", from theoros "spectator", from thea "a view" + horan "to see".
It expressed the state of being a spectator. Both Greek θεωρία and Latin contemplatio meant looking at things, whether with the eyes or with the mind. Commenting on Aristotle's view of the lack of practical usefulness of the contemplation of theoria, Orthodox theologian Fr. Andrew Louth said: The word theoria is derived from a verb meaning to look, or to see: for the Greeks, knowing was a kind of seeing, a sort of intellectual seeing. Contemplation is knowledge, knowledge of reality itself, as opposed to knowing how: the kind of know-how involved in getting things done. To this contrast between the active life and contemplation there corresponds a distinction in our understanding of what it is to be human between reason conceived as puzzling things out, solving problems and making decisions - referred to by the Greek words phronesis and dianoia, or in Latin by ratio - and reason conceived as receptive of truth, looking - referred to by the Greek words theoria or sophia or nous, or in Latin intellectus.
Augustine expressed this distinction by using scientia for the kind of knowledge attained by ratio, sapientia, for the kind of knowledge received by intellectus. Human intelligence operates at two levels: a basic level concerned with doing things, another level concerned with beholding, knowing reality. According to William Johnston, until the sixth century the practice of what is now called mysticism was referred to by the term contemplatio, c.q. theoria. According to Johnston, "oth contemplation and mysticism speak of the eye of love, looking at, gazing at, aware of divine realities."Several scholars have demonstrated similarities between the Greek idea of theoria and the Indian idea of darśana, including Ian Rutherford and Gregory Grieve. The term theoria was used by the ancient Greeks to refer to the act of experiencing or observing, comprehending through nous. For Plato, what the contemplative contemplates are the Forms, the realities underlying the individual appearances, one who contemplates these atemporal and aspatial realities is enriched with a perspective on ordinary things superior to that of ordinary people.
Philip of Opus viewed theoria as contemplation of the stars, with practical effects in everyday life similar to those that Plato saw as following from contemplation of the Forms. Aristotle, on the other hand, separated the spectating of theoria from practical purposes, saw it as an end in itself, the highest activity of man. To indicate that it is the philosopher who devotes himself to pursuits most worthy of a free man, Heraclides of Pontus compared him to a spectator at the Olympic spectacle: unlike the other participants, he does not seek either glory, as does the competitor, or money, as does the businessman. Aristotle used the same image: As we go to the Olympian festival for the sake of the spectacle if nothing more should come of it – for the theoria itself is more precious than money. For we would not go to such trouble to see men imitating women and slaves, or athletes fighting and running, not consider it right to theorize without payment the nature and truth of reality. Indeed, Andrea Wilson Nightingale says that Aristotle considers that those who, instead of pursuing theoria for its own sake, would put it to useful ends would be engaging in theoria in the wrong way, Richard Kraut says that, for Aristotle, theoretical activity alone has limitless value.
Thomas Louis Schubeck says that, in Aristotle's view, the knowledge that guides ethical political activity does not belong to theoria. "Leading a contemplative life can be considered Aristotle's answer to the question what life humans ought to live. … The more humans engage in contemplation, the closer they are to their gods and the more perfect will be their happiness."Aristotle's view that the best life would be a purely contemplative one was disputed by the Stoics and others, such as the Epicureans, who saw speculation as inferior to practical ethics. Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism considered contemplation superior and saw as its goal the knowledge of God or union with hi