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Essence and Form

  1. Apr 14, 2003 #1


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    This is a continuation of the essence and form discussion started in Materialism vs Idealism.

    A summary:

    FZ hypothesis: essence = form, to at least a close degree. The two cannot be separated.

    Iacchus theory: essence is eternal and forms the focus around which form can accrete.

    LW Sleeth: FZ, that doesn't make sense...


    Iacchus: Why do you consider cognitive to be eternal? I think of it as the ultimate example where form and pattern mean the essence we call consciousness.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2003 #2

    Les Sleeth

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    Very funny. I am starting to think you are a trouble maker.

    In any case, let me think of a good argument.
  4. Apr 14, 2003 #3
    Note: Have also attempted to define this on the two previous threads, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=611" ...
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  5. Apr 14, 2003 #4
    Isn't cognizance and consciousness one and the same?
  6. Apr 14, 2003 #5
    Re: Re: Essence and Form

    I think to have cognizance (sp) means to re-cognize thoughts or events... as in... using the congnitive process to identify a previous experience and work from there.

    I would imagine that consciousness is a result of the cognitive process. The cognitive process gives rise to a desire to create more re-cognizable events and thoughts and so... one makes the conscious desicion to persue new and wonderful events and thoughts... in a conscious manner....

    Sub-consciously, in humans... most events, thoughts and matters have been absorbed, quanified, qualified and otherwise "experienced" by-way of cognitive process... yet the conscious is not aware of this myradical set of sub-conscious understandings. The conscious is coaxed to find prompters in the external in an attempt to meld with its counterpart's inate intellegence...(of the sub-conscious).

    Could be... but... next time I'll try to address essence and form
  7. Apr 14, 2003 #6
    Could I take that to mean yes?

    You see I could say I'm "cognizant" of my surroundings, and also say I'm "conscious" of my surroundings, which pretty implies the same thing, Right?
  8. Apr 14, 2003 #7
    Essence is a slippery term which can imply the magical and various forms are often considered magical. Magicians, wizards, and witches will make assorted geometric patterns on the floor, the walls, and by waving their hands in the air. Essence then can represent magic while forms represent the performance of magic.

    These associations can be traced back to more primative Shamanistic cultures and may relate to the final altered state of consciousness exhibited by sensory deprived people. Notably, many of the more shamanistic cultures employ sensory deprevation such as meditating in caves for days on end. The final stage of sensory deprevation is that the subject no longer thinks or dreams of anything. Instead, they just visualize geometric shapes.

    Undoubtedly geometry or form is rudamentary to existence.
    Essence may be the other side of the coin.
  9. Apr 15, 2003 #8

    Les Sleeth

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    I have thought about it for a couple of hours and decided I don't yet understand what you are saying. Can you explain your idea more? Can you give examples of how essence and form are inseparable?

    I can say at this point that I can see how form cannot be separated from essence, but I cannot understand why you say essence can't survive (and even thrive) being disassociated from form.
  10. Apr 15, 2003 #9
    From the thread, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=830&perpage=15&pagenumber=8" ...

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  11. Apr 15, 2003 #10
    i would think it would be quite the opposite, geometry is what would be considered 'essence', physical form, say, a wheel, is a crude imitation of the essential perfection of the idea of 'circle'. behind every wheel form is the essence of a circle basically.
  12. Apr 15, 2003 #11
    Funny that you should use the example of a wheel. Here is an example of magical poetry expressing this relationship:

    Thirty spokes meet at a nave;
    Because of the hole we may use the wheel.
    Clay is moulded into a vessel;
    Because of the hollow we may use the cup.
    Walls are built around a hearth;
    Because of the doors we may use the house.
    Thus tools come from what exists,
    But use from what does not.

    This kind of magical view ranges from the polytheistic to the atheistic. An atheist, for example, can believe existence itself is magical if nothing else. A miracle out of the blue so-to-speak which, in the final analysis, is paradoxical, that is, both form and essence are the same thing.
  13. Apr 15, 2003 #12
    No... what I am saying is that one may not be conscious of their cognizant collection of cognitions.

    I also assert that the cognitive process gives rise to consciousness. Consciousness is not always correct in its interpretation and its use of the cognitions, which are the facts, impressions etc... collected.

    Consciousness could be construed to be the FORM taken from the ESSENCE of the cognizant behavior of neurons.


    Here's an example of Form and Essence.

    I have a thought that consists of a motive. (essence)

    I carry out an action motivated by a thought (form)

    I am considering starting a topic in the Psuedomysticogemoelectromagicalsciences area titled


    This concept contains many of the elements that this topic will hold... yet... it could go into some very strange "loopy" logic and could look at the physics of metaphyics.
  14. Apr 15, 2003 #13

    Les Sleeth

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    Consciousness could be the essence, which is being held in the physical world by neurons, yet abiding "above" its neuronal host as a witness; cognition could be the result of the sensitivity of the essence consciousness to energetic events that register there; interpretation and all other reasoning functions could be the computer brain being used by the metaphysical essence consciousness; and understanding could be when sufficient input has "impressed" essence consciousness so that a global, synergistic transformation occurs.

    But then, maybe not.
  15. Apr 15, 2003 #14


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    Heh. I am try to form a new philosophy interrelating the idea of form and essence. My approach is that essence itself is something that we have only in interpretation. Ie. It is innately a subjective notion, requiring understanding. The fact that essence is something we cannot really locate in reality leads me to consider that essence is form. When we talk about the essence of something, like the essence of life, the essence of water etc, we talk about properties. We talking about the things of the object that are essential for our definition of what that really is. These properties come only from the form, of the action of the whole of an item. In life, it is the pattern of cells in harmony.
    Essence is something we establish it as having the moment the form reaches the neccessary structure for it. Consider the essence as our concept of an object and form as our image of the object. In terms of perspectives, what we consider the essence, and whether it is present is completely interdependent on the image of the form. While essence can be the word "water", and it's connations of "flowing", or "wet", form is the H2O, the thing we connect with. The mind works by setting up these relations, and so we cannot have the dissociated essence or form.

    I am saying that the essence is nothing else than our understanding of the form. Without the neccessary form, we cannot contemplate the essence. Is a random mix of hydrogen and oxygen gas "water"? No, it is the form of hydrogen and oxygen together that we consider important. Can any other form be water? No.
    Now let as suppose essence does exist, and thrive without form. Then, unless we go into the idea that essence is something that is recycled, we would have a form for everything that has existed, and if we believe in the idea of a free universe, for everything that can exist. So, we end up with an infinity of essences at the same time, which is an absurdity. In terms of occarum's razor, it is far more probable that essences are simply destroyed, than exist in invisible form.

    Maybe you need to be drunk to appreciate the intricacies... Hey, it's just a hypothesis.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2003
  16. Apr 15, 2003 #15

    Les Sleeth

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    FZ, that doesn't make sense . . .

    First, let me state what I believe about essence, and that is that ultimately there is only one essence of which every thing or "form" existing is composed of. A monistic view to be sure.

    Maybe we can't locate it because every sort of detecting device and power source we have is a form of this necessarily more-subtle essence.

    It seems like you are talking about something's constituents, but I don't think you've taken it to the level of "essence" yet. Yes, everything we know seems to be made up of more basic forms. Even atoms have constituent parts. However, an atom and its parts can be converted to energy. What are the parts that compose energy?

    That reminds me of Plato's "Forms" and a little of Leibniz's monadology, except it seems you are saying essence is purely a concept with no corresponding existence in reality. If I understand you, you mean essence is simply a way to recognize what makes a "form" have the characteristics it does. I can see essence used like that, and even having usefulness in terms of understanding forms. But it doesn't really allow essence to have a reality of its own.

    But I think you are not giving enough importance to potentiality, which is diminished when essence assumes form. For example, you can have many forms of of wood furnature, of which wood is the common denominator. If I were a dictator and said I am going to force you to choose for the world that it can have either all the wood furnature it wants or it can have all the wood it wants, which choice allows for the most potential?
  17. Apr 15, 2003 #16
    How about quantity (mass) versus "innate quality?" ... Or code?
  18. Apr 15, 2003 #17


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    Evidently not....:smile: I think I am going to change my hypothesis a bit..

    Like this. It wasn't what I initially considered, but it seems immeasurably better. I am NOW saying that essence does not have a reality of it's own. Essence represents the virtual component of existence. So while form can exist undiscovered and unobserved, hence without assigned essence, we cannot have essence without the form to generate it. Essence is something we create on observation.

    Hmm... Like the stuff of the universe? I guess that can be a way of interpreting things... but is it useful as a concept? Because then, in perception what is important is not essence, which is uniform, but form. Essence is ironically not essential to our understanding - to the real world, it is meaningless.

    I think there is a more fundamental reason than that. By your reasoning, all properties come not of essence, but of form. So, essence itself has no properties. And so, essence itself is by definition indetectable.
  19. Apr 15, 2003 #18
    Yeah, FZ+, except we are talking about essence... so something spurred this on. Perhaps just other people's words have spawned the idea of essence... or perhaps it is detectable...

    The essence of Beethoven (form):

    What is it? It is the collection of his works... his nuances... his deafness... his persistence to carry on... his ingenuity... his funny hairdoo... his pensive look... etc etc...

    All these forms do seem to work collectively/synergistically to give us an essence of Beethoven.

    How about...

    The essence of Cammomile:

    In this case the essence of Cammomile is the pressed oils and liquids extracted from the flower of the Cammomile.

    The Cammomile flower(form) is the culmination(form) of its mineral and meterological environments (or forms). These are large, big, huge components of the Cammomile flower(form)... these go into the essence of Cammomile... like having a condensed 600 acre field of wild flowers, rain storms, lightning and thunder(form) dripping from the bottle of extracted Cammomile essence.

    Do these examples bring anyone any closer to an understanding of essence and form?

  20. Apr 15, 2003 #19
    And yet it's the essence which "dictates" reality. Or, "is" the reality (i.e., behind form). Much in the way reality for us, can only be "experienced" through our being "conscious." Therefore is it possible that consciousness is in fact "the essence," and hence this whole notion behind M. Gaspar's "a conscious universe?"

    Another question. Does essence give rise to form within form? For example, what gives rise to our thoughts? (and gives them form). Although I suppose in that sense emotions give rise to thoughts ...
    You can't have something come from nothing can you? So there has to be a property or blueprint which lays out the code that tells the form how to take shape, like DNA perhaps?

    Or perhaps essence and form are more like a chain of cause and effect? Where the one cause creates an effect, which becomes the cause which creates another effect, etc., etc. Where the "real mystery" lies in discovering what lies beneath each layer, like peeling an onion perhaps? ...
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2003
  21. Apr 15, 2003 #20
    Yeah, this leads back to what I said before about essence and form being possibly two sides of the same coin. Where do you draw the line and say this is Beetoven and this is not either in form or in essence? Modern physics deals with relationships and I think when discussing a lot of metaphysical things like this that is essentially what it comes down to.
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