Being and BecomingInformation philosophy greatly simplifies the classic dichotomy between Being and Becoming that has bothered metaphysicians from Parmenides, Plato, and Aristotle to Martin Heidegger. Being is part of the essential nature of some abstract entities. They are ideas that exist in the immaterial realm of pure information and do not change. Becoming is the essential nature of concrete material objects, which are always changing. Change in space and time is a characteristic of all concrete material objects. Some abstract immaterial entities also change, like the time of day. Only those abstract entities that do not change in time are those with "Being." Consider the statue made from that lump of clay in our metaphysical problem of colocation. It certainly looks to be unchanging as it sits on its pedestal. But with the earth's rapid rotation, its revolutionary travel around the sun, and our Milky Way flying around the Andromeda galaxy, the statue is dramatically moving in space and time, apart from the barely observable deterioration of its surface and the microscopic motions of its atomic constituents. One could argue that if the statue could be positioned in the inertial frame of the cosmos, that average position of all the galaxies, surely it would sit still in space, but according to special relativity this too is wrong. In the infinitely many inertial frames in relative motion, the statue's space coordinates are changing, and its time coordinate changes inexorably in all frames.
Being and timeless TruthIt was Plato who set up the fundamental dualism of philosophy, the distinction between idealism and materialism, between abstract eternal essences and concrete ephemeral existences, between Parmenidean Being and Heraclitean Becoming In his Cratylus 402a, Plato quotes Heraclitus as saying that
πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει" καὶ "δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίηςThe Loeb translation (H.N.Fowler) is "all things move and nothing remains still, and he likens the universe to the current of a river, saying that you cannot step twice into the same river." In his Timaeus 27d, Plato asked "What is Being (τὸ ὂν) always, but has no Becoming (origin or genesis), and what is Becoming always, and never Being?"
τί τὸ ὂν ἀεί͵ γένεσιν δὲ οὐκ ἔχον͵ καὶ τί τὸ γιγνόμενον μὲν ἀεί͵ ὂν δὲ οὐδέποτε;Parmenides was the source of Plato's claim that Parmenidean Being is more "real" than Heraclitean Becoming, which may only be an "illusion." For Plato, his forms or "ideas" are prior to any instance of an object with a given form. The forms exist in another "realm" that is more "real" than the everyday physical world of material objects. The forms are properly outside of time, like Immanuel Kant's noumenal world. Aristotle challenged Plato's idea and argued that the forms are merely "perfect" and "idealized" abstractions from the many "imperfect" examples found in the world. In mathematics, the ideal circle consists of an infinite number of infinitesimal points that satisfy an equation. Such an infinity is never realized in the empirical world, in which objects are composed of a finite number of material particles, for example, atoms. Arguably, an ideal circle has an unchanging, eternal nature. It will be the same for any thinking entity, now in the real world, and forever in any possible world. Normal | Teacher | Scholar