We can live with no fear if we remove these four pairs of opposites and have Right View.
— Thích Nhất Hạnh
- No Birth
- No Death
- No Sameness
- No Otherness
- No Coming
- No Going
- No Being
- No Non-being
The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism (八正道):
- Right View (also Understanding) (正見)
- Right Intention (also Thought) (正思唯)
- Right Speech (正語)
- Right Action (正業)
- Right Livelyhood (正命)
- Right Effort (正精進)
- Right Mindfulness (正念)
- Right Concentration (正定)
I’ve also translated the diagram into Chinese.
The Noble Eightfold Path
In her book “The Human Condition”, philosopher Hannah Arendt discussed the vita activa, the active life:
In “The Life of the Mind”, she wished to present the vita contemplativa, the contemplative life:
Unfortunately, she died just as started working on Judgment, so that aspect was just outlined with notes.
The differences between the active and the contemplative can also be thought of as the practical versus the theoretical. This pair of triplets is not easy to turn into a troika of duals.Further Reading:
The Life of the Mind: Hannah Arendt on Thinking vs. Knowing and the Crucial Difference Between Truth and Meaning
I have mentioned fourfold classifications of philosophers before, most notably the Philosophical Semantics of philosopher Richard McKeon (which is similar to the Archic Matrix of Walter Watson and David Dilworth). These are actually sixteen-fold classifications, since each of four attributes have four types.
Instead, consider this six-fold classification by Justin E. H. Smith:
- Curiosa – Particularist
- Sage – Systematist
- Gadfly – Social Critic, Commentator
- Ascetic – Disciplinarian
- Mandarin – Academic, Professional
- Courtier – Bureaucrat, Institutionalist
In addition, here is another diagram of this same classification scheme.
Justin E.H. Smith / The Philosopher: A History in Six Types, Princeton University Press, 2016.
The Philosopher: A History in Six Types
STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We often hear that these areas of education and expertise are critical for the development of our modern society. To attract students to these fields, banners and logos are full of bright colors and crisp graphics. In comparison, above is my rather dull diagram. Not very enticing, is it?
Some are now adding Arts to the four, giving STEAM. I think the Arts are important of course, but fives don’t go with my oeuvre.
In addition, I give you a diagram with Chinese substituted for English (科學 技術 工程 數學).
While eating out the other day I noticed a melamine plate with an interesting fourfold arrangement of Chinese characters on it. After asking the waitress what they meant and she didn’t know, I decided to figure them out using “the internet”. I first tried to use a photo of one of the characters with Google translate, but that didn’t seem to work. Next I tried several “draw the character” websites like Mobilefish, but those are tricky and require you to draw the strokes of the character in the correct sequence. Finally, with some success I was able to determine that the characters “Wan Shou Wu Jiang” (wàn shòu wú jiāng or 萬壽無疆) mean “infinite long life”, and are on many Chinese tableware, both antique and everyday.
I have to say I think representing fourfolds with such tidy logograms is quite beautiful and I would enjoy seeing my diagrams translated into them.