Discussing Aristotle‘s definition of God as “noesis of itself“, “a thinking that thinks itself“, Castoriadis remarks that this view is in accord with Aristotle’s horizon, where being is pure energy, form (eidos) without matter (cf. Castoriadis, Crossroads in the Labyrinth, Prologue).

There are more than this involved here. Aristotle explains his definition further, saying that God thinks Himself because He is the most powerful (kratistos). For Aristotle, then, thinking must be blind to the less powerful; we leave behind us whatever has less value, and the most valuable casts a shadow over everything.

Aristotle’s God is absorbed in Himself for Himself by Himself through Himself. This notion is adopted in Christianity, where God sees us only to the degree that we are one with Him, and thus we say that salvation is not to become “good”, perform good works, etc, but salvation is deification and only that.

According to Aristotle, if I understand well, it is the object of knowledge that exercises power over the thinker. We don’t have power over what we know, or, by thinking we don’t acquire a power and value over the objects of our thinking.

On the contrary, we come under the authority of what we know, the objects of our thinking are our masters and value. Since they are objects, they don’t force us, they are elected masters, or, we choose to become enslaved to them – but, still, it is our objects that have the value and power, not us, according to Aristotle.

This is natural, because whatever the object of our thinking might be, as long as it remains an object, it dominates all other possible objects, ‘forbidding’ us to think of anything else instead. Now, what happens if we are not the most powerful and valuable, the kratistos?

To be absorbed into ourselves would mean that we would be enslaved to something inferior. Such an absorption can not last, if Aristotle is right, because thinking is not satisfied until it reaches the greatest.

We are destined to the same enslavement and discontent whatever our thinking object might be – unless we think of the greatest. Since in this thinking, and only in this, the same is most-valuable object and most-valuable subject, there is no enslavement, inferiority and dissatisfaction.

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