“ma” is mentioned in the “About this site” tab above. Here I want to give a little more detail about ma.
Betrand Russell 1872-1970.
Gottlob Frege 1848-1925.
Johannes Kepler 1571-1630; through total obsession with God and perfection, he discovered that the planets move in ellipses and not circles, and at first he was horrified by this imperfection of non-circles and that God would create such imperfection; a little later he came up with planetary laws that were perfect and that made him feel a little bit better.
Galileo Galilei, 1564-1642; in spite of his troubles with the church, I’m not so sure his thinking involved deeper ideas about the universe from the perspective of ma, that is, his universe is purely “impersonal”.
Baruch Spinoza, 1632-1677.
Plato, -429 to -347; digression. I explore using the minus sign to indicate B.C.E.; the B.C.E. is interesting style in itself because it is a euphemism for B.C. – well, not exactly a euphemism, but certainly connected with the idea of euphemism; yet the problem is, how does one have a numbering system without an origin anchor point in the material world, and it is not so good to have several primary anchor points, and it is not truthful to not have this issue on the table.
Plato is at the height of the intellectual flowering of ancient Greece.
Pythagoras, -570 to -490, was at the very beginning of this flowering; before this timne was a number of centuries of “nothingness”; the ancient Greeks had not even memory of this “nothingness”, except somewhat through Homer, who was not ma;
Pythagoras and Thales were at the very start, the beginning inklings,
Thales, -636 to -546; and maybe in a deeper way, Thales was involved with ma.This may have occurred to me when I wrote about Thales in The Soul and the Fabric of the Universe. The standardly recited rant about Thales is that he removed the gods from – from what – this is hard to say. Well maybe it could be said he removed the gods from things. Or at least they were a lot more present in “things” before Thales (this is all in the ancient Greek world). If you look around the internet, you will find many ways of trying to say this.
Sometimes you come to have a specific picture that pops into your mind. For me, it was this, regarding Thales removing the gods.
There are these two rocks or two blades of grass right in front of you. That’s the picture. And Thales removed the gods from these. Up till this, and for some time afterwards, Greeks thought of gods being in these things, in fact, gods being tangled up with everything, inherently, everything, rocks, grass, everything.
In “The Soul and the Fabric of the Universe,” I went with this rant, but it turns out it doesn’t work. Thales is involved with ma.
As for Frege and Russell. Frege spent a large portion of his life on some ideas, but was greatly frustrated by the prevailing system of thought called “psychologism” – if I remember all this correctly. Psychologism pushed the deep concerns of Frege to virtually irrelevance. At one point, Frege even put his work away for a number of years, but decided then to write it anyway, which would be called Grundgesetze der Artithmetik, (The Basic Laws of Arithmetic), though if ever there was an understatement in a title, this is it.
Russell found a paradox in Frege’s work, and then, a little later, Russell, along with Whitehead, wrote a dense work ( Principia Mathematica) showing a way around the paradox – using a very intricate hierarchy idea.
Frege took the paradox to be a blow to the foundation of his life-long work and over which he already suffered so much from Psychologism. In the introduction to his book, Frege sadly mentions the letter from Russell and then struggles a little with trying to find an answer to the paradox, but gets nowhere.
Frege did not realize that the paradox did not distract from his work. Oh well.
Incidentally, Russell’s paradox involves the idea of trying to take the totality of everything, taking it as a single thing. I mention this because only recently (April, 2016) I became aware of a similar issue in a post I am currently completing regarding religion, atheism, God, the material and immaterial world. It is interesting that something which seems totally abstract and irrelevant – taking the totality as a single thing – should become involved.
What is ma? Certainly hard to say. Maybe look at the opening stanza of the Tao. Although some ways of looking at the stanza move away from the Tao. Oh well.
(Informational note: Nothing on this page is needed to use ursm/is, in its regular non-computer form nor in its computer form, nor to develop the software for the computer form.)