The ground of our being.


"Our is a species that can extend its biological inheritance to see vast stretches of space, know 13.7 billion years of history, and explore our deep connections to planets, galaxies and other living things.

There is something almost magical to the notion that our bodies, minds, and ideas have roots in the crust of the Earth, water of the oceans, and atoms in celestial bodies.

The stars in the sky and the fossils in the ground are enduring beacons that signal, though the pace of human change is ever accelerating, we are but a recent link in a network of connections as old as the heavens."

Neil Shubin, 2013, p. 190.

People of iron?

iron oxide in soil
iron holds on to oxygen
the earth has an iron core


Greek, PHYSIS --

Anaximander, Xenophanes, and Heraclitus are among the earliest writers to use this word referring to the composition of material existence.

p. 158.

"It is clear that the inquiry which uses the methodological approach known as logos and is later known by Pythagoras as philosophia, had, as its general subject matter, PHYSIS."

p. 158.

Meaning three different but associated conceptualizations

    1. the growth process, or genesis [Empedocles]
    2. the "physical" or material stuff out of which things were made, or arche [Plato and Aristotle]
    3. the structure of things, meaning the internal organizational principle [Heraclitus and Democtitus]

"this stuff (1 and 2) was alive, hence divine, immortal and indestructible."

F. E. Peters,, 1967, page 158.


From the greek work physis or (epistemolgy) knowledge of nature; physical with all of these meanings we can take away the understanding that enduring qualities of the material world are embodied in the meaning of this word phusis. The original meaning was nature in the sense of being or the basis, the foundation, or ground of our beings. It referred to our shared existence with the umwelt. All of these meanings are implied in the word physis.







nature index


Three world's gestalt

Gustave Courbet's Sea Shore, an image of another world.


F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon, New York: NYU Press, 1967.

Neil Shubin, The Universe Within: The Deep History of the Human Body, New York: Vintage Books, 2013.


mitwelt and eigenwelt

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