Aristotle (384–322 BCE) , whose name means “the best purpose”, was born in Stagirus, Greece. At age 18 he began attending Plato’s Academy in Athens and continued to study there until age 37. His writings cover many different subjects and disciplines in the arts and sciences. He is considered by many to be the first scientist, as the term is presently understood, and also to have categorically outlined the parameters for the field of academia today. He was the tutor of Alexander the Great, dubbed by Muslim intellectuals as “The First Teacher”, and his literary style has been described by Cicero as “a river of gold.”

Aristotle on As Above So Below

“Knowing all things must belong to him who has in the highest degree universal knowledge; for he knows in a sense all the instances that fall under the universal.”

Similar and perhaps connected to The Fourth Way teaching, Aristotle distinguished between sensory and supra-sensory experience and knowledge, that is, particular and universal or holistic knowledge. Of the two, he placed preference upon universal knowledge, but that only a combination of the two enabled the supreme wisdom that made it possible to instruct others.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

Following Plato’s death, Aristotle shifted his philosophy from Platonism to empiricism. Corresponding with and stimulated by this philosophical shift was an increasing scalar focus on examining the microcosmic self rather than exclusive contemplation of the higher world of forms and ideals. He believed all particular things to be instantiated in universals and that the part and whole, which he titled form and matter, were in fact one and the same.

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”

Aristotle believed the title of philosopher belonged to one who had mastered the optimum activity of reason, and from this excellence consequently followed the state of eudaimonia, meaning well-being and equilibrium.